The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > Law and Civil Rights

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 8, 2010, 10:34 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 408
BATFE Reform.

Posted before but I figure I would add some commentary

Common Sense BATFE Reform Gathers Steam

by Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director

As part of his business, Virginia firearm dealer Allan Broughman often customized rifles for customers. But in 2006, an inspector from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) observed Broughman "assembling a barrel, a receiver and a stock for a customer." Since federal law specifically allows dealers to engage in "making or fitting special barrels, stocks or trigger mechanisms to firearms," Broughman was surprised when the BATFE accused him of "manufacturing" a firearm without a manufacturer`s license. Now, Broughman is fighting the agency in court with the help of NRA-ILA.

Broughman`s difficulties stem from just one of the BATFE`s many odd legal interpretations. In another example that affects many gunsmiths, the agency says that bluing, parkerizing or Teflon-coating a firearm amounts to "manufacturing," while camouflaging a firearm by painting or dipping does not. To say the least, navigating rulings like this can quickly become confusing.

Fortunately, a large number of members of Congress have been inspired to act on this issue. Reps. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Zack Space, D-Ohio, and Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have introduced H.R. 2296 and S. 941, the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act," co-sponsored by 217 members of the House and 24 members of the Senate. The bills are based upon several previous reform bills discussed in the April 2008 ILA "Political Report."

Making clear that dealers can do routine gunsmithing work without being "manufacturers" is just one of the problems H.R. 2296 and S. 941 would correct. Another is the BATFE`s misinterpretation of what constitutes a "willful" violation of federal gun laws. The Firearms Owners` Protection Act of 1986--passed in response to a previous wave of troublesome actions by the agency--allows the BATFE to revoke a dealer`s license only if the dealer`s violations are "willful." But over the years, the BATFE has interpreted "willful" violations to include minor clerical errors. H.R. 2296 and S. 941 would require that a dealer "knew of a legal duty, and engaged in the conduct knowingly and in intentional disregard of the duty" before his license could be revoked.

In addition to protecting gun dealers from overreach, H.R. 2296 and S. 941 would protect gun owners from unknowingly ending up in a gun registration system. The bills would permanently codify longstanding appropriations amendments that prohibit the BATFE from creating an electronic database of gun owners based on records turned in by dealers who have gone out of business or who have had their licenses revoked.

The bills would also clean up a host of lesser problems. For example, it would correct a drafting error in the federal law that currently requires a person under the age of 18 to have written permission from a parent or guardian to use a handgun for a variety of lawful purposes--;even when the parent or guardian is directly supervising the use of the handgun. (Fortunately, that provision of the law has rarely, if ever, been enforced.) And the bills would give a person taking over a firearm business (such as a family gun store) a grace period to fix problems in the business`s records, rather than punishing him for the previous owner`s mistakes.

Another provision heavily attacked by anti-gun groups, such as the Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center, would create a 60-day grace period for ex-dealers to liquidate their inventories. Anti-gun groups denounce this as a "fire sale loophole," even though all sales would still be subject to the usual background check and record keeping requirements. And, of course, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg`s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has sent a letter to Congress opposing the new bills.

This just proves that the gun control crowd wants the number of dealers reduced in order to reduce the number of guns sold in America. Longtime NRA members will remember that burdensome regulations imposed during the Clinton administration cut the number of licensed gun dealers (mostly small businesses) by more than half.

With wide bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, H.R. 2296 and S. 941 could be historic victories for gun owners in the tradition of the Firearms Owners` Protection Act of 1986. But in the coming days we`ll need the support of NRA members to achieve this goal. If your U.S. senators or representative haven`t already co-sponsored this bill, call or write them urging their support; if they`re already on board, be sure to thank them.

For more information on this issue, go to

If you are a Federal Firearms Licensee and are having issues with the BATFE, please contact NRA-ILA`s Office of Legislative Counsel at the above website, or call (703) 267-1160.
For once it seems that these new articles of firearms legislation are going to be turned in our favor. The part I am most exited about is that they are denying the ATF the ability to create an easy access registry of Ex-dealers Fire-arms. It may not seem big but once they achieved an ex-dealer registry it would only be a short time before they created a current dealer registry.

The bit about changing the barrels being manufacturing is a bit disturbing in the tense that the ATF could call you a manufacture for assembling an AR onto a receiver and selling it ten years down the line.
M4Sherman is offline  
Old June 8, 2010, 01:09 PM   #2
Bartholomew Roberts
Senior Member
Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 6,889
Sounds like good legislation; but given the current Congressional leadership, I'd be concerned about what amendments get attached. I'm worried we don't have the votes to prevent some negative amendments from being attached.
Bartholomew Roberts is offline  
Old June 8, 2010, 01:25 PM   #3
Standing Wolf
Member in memoriam
Join Date: April 26, 2002
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,649
"Reforming" the BATFE sounds like a good idea until you stop to think about eliminating it. That being impossible, "reform" sounds like a sensible first step in that direction, though I doubt it would actually accomplish much.
No tyrant should ever be allowed to die of natural causes.
Standing Wolf is offline  
Old June 8, 2010, 04:45 PM   #4
Al Norris
Join Date: June 29, 2000
Location: Rupert, Idaho
Posts: 9,549
Thanks M4Sherman, for adding the necessary commentary to lead the discussion.
Al Norris is offline  
Old June 8, 2010, 05:53 PM   #5
Tom Servo
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 12,158
I'm worried we don't have the votes to prevent some negative amendments from being attached.
True, but what about attaching this bill as an amendment to one of theirs?

It's already worked once.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
Tom Servo is offline  
Old June 8, 2010, 07:44 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 408
We will have to see what gets attached but keep in mind that only a stupid politician is going to throw up to much anti- legislation during the election cycle when lots of Americans are leaning against more firearms legislation
M4Sherman is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:08 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.06408 seconds with 9 queries