Analysis: “Definition of “Frame or Receiver” and Identification of Firearms”

107 pages of garbage; but I’m done. I’ll go over the high points that concern me. About half of the NPRM is new regulatory language to implement the changes in the first half.

These are my interim comments; but unless the NPRM actually published differs significantly from the draft, I’m going to formally submit the following.


I oppose this proposed rule. In elaborating on specific issues, I will quote from the NPRM with the quotes set apart from my comments with “=====”.

=====

A. Definition of “Firearm”

“[t]he term shall include a weapon parts kit that is designed to or may readily be assembled, completed, converted, or restored to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.”

=====

This definition is useless without establishing a threshold for “readily completed.” For years, the ATF has held that an 80% frame/receiver required sufficient work to not be “readily completed. By stating that now they are, without an OBJECTIVE THRESHOLD, anything becomes a firearm: a pistol-shaped solid block; a solid ingot that can be milled into a pistol shape; a pile of soda cans that can be melted down into a block to be milled; a few cases of soda that can be emptied, melted down into a block, and milled; raw ore that can be processed into said block for milling.

There is no objective threshold.

=====

B. Definition of “Frame or Receiver”

“First, there would be a general definition of “frame or receiver” with non-exclusive examples that illustrate the definition.”

=====

That invalidates the rule. A rule that does not set an all-encompassing objective definition is not a definition.

=====

“Frame or receiver. A part of a firearm that provides housing or a structure designed to hold or integrate one or more fire control components, even if pins or other attachments are required to connect those components to the housing or structure. Any such part identified with a serial number shall be presumed, absent an official determination by the Director or other reliable evidence to the contrary, to be a frame or receiver. For purposes of this definition, the term “fire control component” means a component necessary for the firearm to initiate or complete the firing sequence, including any of the following: hammer, bolt or breechblock, cylinder, trigger mechanism, firing pin, striker, or slide rails.”

=====

By that nonsensical definition, an AR-pattern lower and AR-pattern upper are EACH firearms in their own right. Likewise, a semiautomatic frame and its slide are TWO separate firearms. In fact, it would appear to make the BOLT holding the firing pin/striker a THIRD firearm.

It would be far more rational to class the ASSEMBLY — frame AND slide, upper AND lower — as a single firearm.

=====

2. Firearm muffler or silencer frame or receiver

Because under the NFA each individual part of a firearm muffler or silencer is a “firearm” 41 that must be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (“NFRTR”), the
regulations currently assume that every part defined as a silencer must be marked in order to be registered, and expressly require that they be marked whenever sold, shipped, or otherwise disposed even though they may be installed by a qualified licensee within a complete muffler or silencer device.

=====

This is exactly the problem the proposed rule would inflict upon frames and receivers.

=====

Under the proposed rule, the term “frame or receiver” means, “in the case of a firearm muffler or firearm silencer, a part of the firearm that provides housing or a structure, such as an outer tube or modular piece, designed to hold or integrate one or more essential internal components of the device, including any of the following: baffles,
baffling material, or expansion chamber.”

=====

Sensible for once.

=====

3. Split or modular frame or receiver
This second supplement would define “frame or receiver” to include “in the case of a firearm with more than one part that provides housing or a structure designed to hold or integrate one or more fire control or essential components . . . each such part, unless one or more specific part(s) of the weapon is or has previously been determined by the
Director to be the frame or receiver.”

=====

This would create a regulatory nightmare. Is the lower a firearm? I guess it will depend on when it was made. Ditto the upper, and the bolt. What happens when a slide cracks on a pistol that previously determined that the frame was a firearm, and is replaced with a new frame that IS a firearm. How does an FFL log that (those?) into his records. How does this impact buyers in jurisdictional with a “one gun a month” limit? Do they buy the frame one mon thnd the slide the next. Unless it’s a used gun where just the frame is the firearm? But what if it had a replacement slide.

Is there anyone in the ATF with two functional brain cells?

=====

4. Partially complete, disassembled, or inoperable frame or receiver

For clarification, “partially complete” for purposes of this
definition “means a forging, casting, printing, extrusion, machined body, or similar article that has reached a stage in manufacture where it is clearly identifiable as an unfinished component part of a weapon.”

=====

Congratulations. You propose defining paperweights as firearms. I suspect the use of recreational pharmaceuticals.

=====

C. Definition of “Readily”
Thus, defining the term “readily” is necessary to provide further clarity
in determining when incomplete weapons or configurations of parts become a “firearm” regulated under the GCA and NFA.

=====

This “definition” is pointless checklist of arbitrary guesstimates. Provide an objective threshold for each.

=====

D. Definitions of “complete weapon” and “complete muffler or silencer device”

=====

This would be unnecessary if you stopped mucking with the definition of “firearm.”

=====

4. Marking of privately made firearms

=====

This proposed rule was in response to the alleged proliferation of personally made firearms outside of the regulatory system and used in crimes. Does the ATF believe that creating a system to allow the voluntary marking of PMFs will induce criminals to suddenly decide to mark and register the firearm they intend to use in crime or sell illicitly.

The question of recreational pharmaceuticals comes to mind again. Or perhaps medication is NEEDED.

To summarize, I oppose this irrational, and sometimes self-conflicting rule. It fails to address the criminal activity it alleges as its prompting. It imposes complex and expensive games of “guess if it’s a firearm, or which parts are” on FFLs. The record-keeping and retooling costs are grossly underestimated.

Rather than engage in this drug-induced rights infringement, I proposed that, in the spirit of “shall not be INFRINGED,” The National Firearms Act of 1934, Gun Control Act of 1968, and all firearm regulations be repealed,, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives be permanently disbanded. All former ATF employees should be investigated for civil rights violations under 18 U.S. Code § 242 – Deprivation of rights under color of law.

“Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”


If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in my tip jar. I could really use the money, what with ISP bills, rabbit feed, and general life expenses.Click here to donate via PayPal.

Published by

Bear

2A advocate, writer, firearms policy & law analyst, general observer of pre-apocalyptic American life.

3 thoughts on “Analysis: “Definition of “Frame or Receiver” and Identification of Firearms””

  1. Yep. It appears, by the def you posted, even a lower parts kit to put in a serial numbered lower would be defined as a firearm. Just the parts to finish. That may be what they are aiming for anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *