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SIG Statement on Stabilizing Brace Bulletin from BATFE

Friday, February 20th, 2015

SIG has issued this statement…

BATFE REAFFIRMS PISTOL BRACE LEGAL TO OWN, INSTALL AND USE

Newington, N. H. (February 20, 2015) – SIG SAUER, Inc. has issued the following statement relative to the January 2015 open opinion letter issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regarding the SB15 and SBX Pistol Stabilizing Braces.

BATFE Technical Branch issued an open opinion letter dated January 16, 2015 regarding the Pistol Stabilizing Brace (SB15 and SBX) which is marketed by SIG SAUER®. Contrary to several statements subsequently made in social media, this opinion letter did not make or otherwise declare that the SB15 product is illegal. The BATFE letter stated that the SB15 is a product “which is legal to own, legal to purchase and legal to install on a pistol.” SIG SAUER believes that the PSB enhances the shooter’s experience and offers the products as an accessory and pre-installed on a number of pistols. In all of its opinions, BATFE has consistently stated that a pistol with a stabilizing brace attached remains a pistol under the Gun Control Act when used as designed.

ATF Wants to Restrict Sale of M855 Ammo to Civilians

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Way back in 1986 a great deal of your gun rights were legislated away. That year’s modifications to the Gun Control Act of 1968 along with the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act affected not only firearms but ammunition as well.

Last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives published a notice entitled, “Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are ‘Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes’ Within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(c)”. Specifically, they propose to eliminate M855 (SS109) ammunition’s exemption to the armor piercing cartridge prohibition.

That LEO Protection Act prohibited the manufacture and importation of a “projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely . . . from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium.” Now, M855 does not meet this definition, but that’s not stopping them.

By now you’re asking yourself, “Wait a sec, where does the handgun come in if it’s 5.56? ” There has been a recent rash of AR pistols hitting the market. That’s enough for them to reclassify M855 as a restricted armor piercing round.

I look at this as payback from the ATF to the black rifle community for the attempt by many to circumvent SBR regulations by purchasing pistols and outfitting them with stabilizing braces. In case you have a short memory (and technocrats love it when you have one of those), the ATF just last month redefined the concept of manufacturing when it issued an “Open Letter to the Redesign of Stabilizing Braces“. They reversed a previous decision regarding use of the brace on a pistol.

Granted, the underlying legislation was passed back in the 80s based on the threat of evil “cop killer” bullets. That’s why it focuses on handguns even though patrol officers now carry rifles to prevent overmatch. Additionally, not only are almost all LEOs wearing armor almost 30 years on, the armor business itself has come a long way since then, developing new materials to protect.

But, the real danger here is that they may attempt to deny an entire range of .223 projectiles from civilians. If it’s being done in the name of LE, it’s a self-defeating move. To be honest, this will most likely also deny their availability from LE agencies if the market shifts away from their manufacture primarily for civilians. The vast majority of ammunition is consumed by civilians and the LE community does not collectively purchase ammo except at the federal level meaning they don’t hold much purchasing power. If it becomes a restricted, specialty product, it will be too costly for the vast majority of agencies. Once again, such actions not only impact the industrial base but the government customer as well.

But, this isn’t a done deal. At this point it is still only a proposed rule change. You can comment to the ATF regarding this proposal. If you choose to do so we suggest that you stay on topic, use proper English, refrain from cursing or communicating threats and be succinct and as factual as possible.

How to comment – from the BATFE

ATF will carefully consider all comments, as appropriate, received on or before March 16, 2015, and will give comments received after that date the same consideration if it is practical to do so, but assurance of consideration cannot be given except as to comments received on or before March 16, 2015. ATF will not acknowledge receipt of comments. Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method):

ATF email: APAComments@atf.gov

Fax: (202) 648-9741.

Mail: Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denise Brown, Enforcement Programs and Services, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648-7070.

It’s our job to be heard. This story is a good place for readers to suggest comments. In addition to the misidentification of the round based on the legislation, there is this whole “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” nonsense that we’ve got to acknowledge as well.

Read the entire notice here.

A Man Walks Into An ATF Office And Asks To Be Arrested

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Dimitri Karras is a man driven. The first time I spoke with him, I couldn’t help but feel his passion for the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Over time, this focused on the private finishing of so-called 80% lower AR-style receivers into firearms. In that first conversation he told me the story of the Battle of Athens and that’s some pretty heavy stuff. Karras is a very intelligent and creative man. He’s also a man who isn’t satisfied with the status quo. This makes him very vocal about his beliefs so this latest news wasn’t so much a surprise, as an update.

Over the past few years this former Marine and businessman has had a couple of scrapes with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Forearms and Explosives. The other day he sent me this letter about his most recent efforts that he feels will force the ATF to acknowledge that their position on 80% receivers is incorrect.

Yes, he was wearing a cape when he did this. I’d say that Karras sees himself as a crusader for 2A rights and he’s not afraid to use protest or the courts as a means to attain his goals.

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TO: Whom It May Concern
FROM: Dimitrios Karras
SUBJ: Proof that 99% Lowers Are Legal. Part 1
DATE: February 9, 2015

Far too long have we permitted our government overlords to run amuck. They have systematically created a monster that tramples the humanity of the American People. The ATF believes that they have the power to create law. They are wrong. Their self-authorized law-making is unconstitutional, morally reprehensible and in direct conflict with the ideology of a free people.

When making decisions, a good man does not ponder what personal harm may come upon himself. He ponders only what action is just and right. I have acted upon my beliefs.

I have challenged the ATF to unjustly arrest me based on their unenforceable “opinion” of the law. I have not broken the law. I have put their “opinion” to the test.

I am no longer employed by Ares Armor, I have left the business in good hands. What I did, I did as an individual and not as an entity.

To slay a dragon, you must track him. Study his behavior. Learn his weaknesses. The battle takes place on your terms, but in his lair. I have prepared my armor, sharpened my spear; I traveled into the belly of his mountain to catch him asleep.

I have acted upon my conscience as a free man. They have no power over me. They can lock me up for a hundred years and I will still have won. To challenge the unjustness of tyranny is a victory unto itself. “A lifetime serving one machine is ten times worse than prison.” -The Clash

Remember John Brown, a true American Hero. He gave his life in an attempt to free others. He was executed under the laws of the United States.
Remember the Battle of Athens.
Remember Waco, Remember Ruby Ridge. Remember it all.

It is our responsibility as free men to undergo the rigors associated with the defense of liberty. It is our responsibility to pass on to our children free choice, free will. It is our responsibility.

Do more than just mourn your dead, America. Honor them. Protect their legacy. Too many have bled their last drop for us to allow their sacrifice to be for nothing. Too many have paid for the freedoms that we now give away in exchange for comfort.
Too many…

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Today, I walked into an ATF office in Indiana with a 99% Lower Receiver™, an Air-gun Upper Receiver and a gigantic neon sign offering said items for sale. After a rather lengthy amount of harassment, which included a full pat down, a short “ball massage” and an inspection of the 99% lower™, the Agents refused to charge me with any Federal Crimes.

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The Agent stated that I was not breaking any Federal Laws by offering these items for sale. The local police were called and gave me a warning that I may not solicit any items for sale in Indiana without a local business license.
For those of you who are interested… Here is the a quote from the case I cited when discussing with the Agents the legality of the items I had offered for sale.

“PIETRO BERETTA U.S. 9mm M9 Chrome Pistol Lighter, Top Popular Men’s Gift was once a real Beretta (it wasn’t), but all its innards have been removed and if you pull the trigger all that happens is that the muzzle emits a tiny flame. Would a felon who possessed such a lighter be a felon in possession of a firearm? Maybe he would be if what the statute asked is whether the alleged weapon “was designed ? to expel,” but it doesn’t; it says “is designed.” That implies the possibility of redesign. In our example the gun lighter was originally designed to be a gun but later it was redesigned to be a cigarette lighter. We doubt that the statutory definition would fit that case, see United States v. Rivera, supra, 415 F.3d at 287; United States v. Reed, 114 F.3d 1053, 1058–59 (10th Cir.1997) (dissenting opinion); United States v. Wada, 323 F.Supp.2d 1079 (D.Or.2004), although a complication is that the statutory definition of “firearm” includes—remember—“the frame or receiver of any such weapon.” The frame or receiver (these are synonyms) is the housing of the gun, which contains the magazine and the trigger assembly—the operating parts. The gun lighter might be the frame of a real gun, although we’re inclined to think that it would not be the frame of a “weapon” that was “designed” to shoot and so would fall outside the statutory definition of a frame as a firearm.” (Emphasis added)

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1627269.html

The first step to prove that 99% Receivers™ are not “firearms” under the Law has been completed with flying colors!
More to come…

Sincerely,

Dimitrios Karras, A free man.

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”-Aldous Huxley

#pewpew – The Latest Tshirt from Airborne Ranger Designs

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

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www.americanmarauder.com/products/eat-sleep-pewpew-shirt

#sayyes2moreammo

Monday, February 9th, 2015

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Last week, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) unveiled their latest attempt to harm the rights of legal gun owners. The Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act would ban the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Yes, this foolishness again. They were joined at a press conference by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (both D-CT), House Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and advocates from the Newtown Action Alliance.

They proposed use of the hashtag sayno2moreammo.

Be heard! Use #sayyes2moreammo instead.

Ares Armor Files Lawsuit Against ATF For Return Of Seized Property

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Click to view .pdf
Return of Property

Ares Armor has filed a suit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for a return of property seized during the March 15th raid on Ares Armor’s Oceanside location. Approximately 5800 unfinished AR-15 polymer lowers were confiscated during the raid. Reportedly, the BAFTE missed their initial deadlines under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, leading to the lawsuit. The entire suit can be read by clicking the image above.

aresarmor.com

Breaking – SilencerCo Announces Salvo 12 Shotgun Suppressor

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Long the stuff of movie legend, the shotgun suppressor has been a mythical beast. Sure, they’ve been demonstrated over the years to varying success but they’ve a lot of weight and length to the barrel of the shotgun making them less than ideal.

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Just minutes ago, at SilencerCo’s 1st Annual F#!*ING Catalina Wine Mixer, CEO Josh Waldron formally announced the latest addition to their product line; the Salvo 12, a shotgun suppressor.

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To be sure, this is great news for the tactical market, but this will mean a lot for the hunters out there as well. This is a great crossover product that I think will help to bring suppressors mainstream in the hunting market. It’s important to get the hunters on board when trying to pass suppressor legislation.

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Knox Williams, President if the American Suppressor Association was present at the launch and said, “SilencerCo’s introduction of a commercially viable shotgun suppressor will introduce a new segment of the shooting public to the advantages of firearms suppressors. Forward thinking like this will help ASA and the industry transition suppressors from NFA items to the mainstream.”

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Yes, it’s a 12 ga design. Considering the popularity of the 12 ga it was the right move. SilencerCo is open to developing suppressors for additional shotguns but wanted to get this out.

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The Salvo 12 is scalable and can be configured by adding sections to customize the level of suppression you’re looking for. It integrates a Removable choke system to attach to your shotgun and uses a system of Rods, baffles and caps to lower the 12 ga report to that of a .22. In a video, we could actually hear the clay pigeon breaking upon impact.

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Here are the performance specs provided by SilencerCo.

Performance Specs

Coming Fall 2014.


www.SilencerCo.com

Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste – How The Conflict In Ukraine Resulted In A Ban on The Importation Of Kalashnikovs Into The US

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Back in March, President Obama signed Executive Order 13661, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine”.

Yesterday, the Secretary of the Treasury expanded exactly what that means by adding additional interests to the list. It was bound to happen, and now Concern Kalashnikov is on that Office of Foreign Assets Control list.

KALASHNIKOV CONCERN (a.k.a. CONCERN KALASHNIKOV; a.k.a. IZHEVSKIY MASHINOSTROITEL’NYI ZAVOD OAO; f.k.a. IZHMASH R&D CENTER; f.k.a. JSC NPO IZHMASH; f.k.a. NPO IZHMASH OAO; a.k.a. OJSC CONCERN KALASHNIKOV; f.k.a. OJSC IZHMASH; f.k.a. SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTION ASSOCIATION IZHMASH JOINT STOCK COMPANY), 3, Derjabin Pr., Izhevsk, Udmurt Republic 426006, Russia; Registration ID 1111832003018 [UKRAINE2].

There’s a whole slew of companies and individuals on the list so the Obama Administration didn’t single them out, but this will those involved in the AK enthusiast market.

This has been anticipated by that community. The guns in the country are the guns in the country. I’m sure panic buying will ensue. If you already own one, you can sell it, free and clear. But if Kalashnikov or another individual or company listed on the OFAC list has a stake in it, then you need to contact OFAC. This should only be a concern to importers who might be selling on consignment.

To be sure, a friend in the region, Ukraine, is struggling with a Russian-backed insurgency. In response, the President of the United States decided to use the economic element of national power as leverage against Russia to encourage them to lay off.

Consider the importation of guns from Russia into the US as collateral damage. A ban on the importation of Kalashnikovs from Russia would not have been possible without new laws, stemming from legislation in Congress. But a crisis such as the one in the Ukraine is a convenient opportunity that can’t be passed up by an Administration that likes to take unilateral, executive action to further its aims.

Things Are Getting Real For The BATFE’s Firearms Technology Branch

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Sometimes, you can get to know a bit about someone by taking a peek at their shopping list.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was served a lawsuit last week by SIG Sauer. This suit immediately followed ATF’s public chastising from a judge in a similar case brought by Innovative Arms (both cases where muzzle brakes were submitted for testing and classification and deemed “silencers” by the ATF, but no decibel reduction testing was provided to back up their determinations). It might be of interest to other muzzle device manufacturers (and possibly the legal team at SIG Sauer) that ATF themselves this month has admitted that their own sound testing equipment “…has reached end of life and requires an upgrade.” and has issued a sole-source solicitation to purchase a new “computer controlled firearm silencer testing system” from a Virginia-based Bruel & Kjaer representative that custom built ATF’s last system in 2005.

Click to view .pdf

FedBizOpps SIMS Solicitation

Recently, ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch claimed that Innovator Enterprises, Inc.’s Stabilizer Brake was a highly-restricted silencer, even though the manufacturer’s intent was to make a freely-sold, unregulated recoil device. The ATF’s determination, however, was shot down with no small amount of candor by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia when Innovator Enterprises sued the ATF over the mischaracterization. District Judge John Bates’ commentary read that the ATF’s “decision to classify the Stabilizer Brake as a ‘firearm silencer’ is ‘arbitrary and capricious’ for at least two reasons: the agency failed to ‘articulate a satisfactory explanation’ for its decision and the agency failed to ‘examine the relevant data’ before coming to a final conclusion.”

The Court noted that the ATF did not provide any proof or determination of the Stabilizer brake’s ability to reduce noise, but gave FTB the benefit of the doubt by assuming “Although the FTB (Firearms Technology Branch) utilizes state-of-the-art sound metering equipment, these tests do not affect the classification of any item.” But ATF themselves, in what may wind up being an unfortunately-timed admission from them in any upcoming court cases, gives justification of their purchase by admitting that their sound metering equipment is actually not “state-of-the-art” but rather “has reached end of life.”

The Court goes even further to question the history of “what exactly Congress was concerned about in deciding to regulate silencers at the federal level”, and points out a study showing that “The 1934 congressional debates [over what became the National Firearms Act] provide no explanation about why silencers were licensed” in the first place.

The ATF’s National Firearms Act Branch is incredibly overworked and understaffed. It is constantly inundated with tens of thousands of silencer transfers, and is currently dealing with the frustrations of a contractor’s failed e-Forms website (that was supposed to help ease their workload and speed the processing times of these transfers). Add the issue of being repeatedly sued over arbitrary determinations – on what is not even a firearm to begin with, but rather a harmless noise-pollution reduction device – it is certainly a ripe time for Congress to assess if suppressors should be removed from the purview of the NFA entirely.

– Kel Whelan

Kel Whelan has spent decades working NFA issues, and is well known to many in the firearms industry. Plus, he can always recommend a great place to eat.

Final Draft of AFMAN for USAF Implementation of Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The US Air Force has been rather slow to implement the provisions of Public Law 108-277 dated 22 July 2004, The Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act of 2004 (LEOSA) as amended by Public Law 112-239 dated 2 January 2013, as well as specific instructions under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 and DoDI 5525.12, The Amended Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004. That 2013 amendment told DoD that its LEOs were covered as well by the legislation because they weren’t quite sure before. But, this is going to happen guys.

You see, the LEOSA as it is commonly known, is a federal law, that allows two classes of persons; “qualified law enforcement officers” and “qualified retired law enforcement officers”, to carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with certain exceptions. That is a pretty big privilege.

Why is taking the AF so long to comply with Federal Law? Probably because they’ve never had to face something like actually facilitating the concealed carry of firearms by current and former Airmen. I’ve said it before (while in uniform) and I’ll say it again; the Air Force is institutionally afraid of guns. That might make you understand their apprehension. That, and they haven’t let a contract to handle issuing credentials yet. Security Forces is the largest enlisted careerfield in the Air Force. It’s also going to be a bit of a mess dealing with Retired and those with 10 years cumulative experience as a Qualified LEO. Supposedly, this won’t happen until Fall, 2014.

I will go on record to say that I cannot support LEOSA because it creates a privileged class of gun owners who have rights that other citizens do not. It is my contention that legislation such as LEOSA divides the gun owning populace. Since current and retired LEOs may concealed carry virtually anywhere, they have effectively been removed from the pro-2A lobbying effort. Their concerns have been answered and there’s no reason for them to go to bat to help normalize concealed carry laws across the nation. At the federal level, it means that anyone who qualifies under LEOSA is not subject to the concealed carry laws of any state, with a couple of exceptions.

However, LEOSA is the law of the land and the military departments must comply, offering their current and “retired” LE personnel the credentials necessary for compliance with the law. That, I do support.

I’ve been told that this version has been signed but not issued yet so I’m calling it a final draft. The Air Force Manual lays out in its simplest terms what the Air Force is required to do in order to make this happen for current/former Airmen. Specifically, under LEOSA and this Manual, “individuals who have apprehension authority and are identified as qualified law enforcement officers, active, retired or separated with 10 or more years of aggregate service in a position as a qualified law enforcement officer, may carry privately owned weapons (POW) concealed while off duty and outside the boundary of the installation.” Notice that they still won’t be able to off-duty concealed carry on military installations or any other “gun free zones” for that matter.

There are a couple of interesting points in the draft of the AFMAN. I wonder how those made it past the legal review.

3.2. All personnel receiving a USAF SF LEOSA credential who choose to carry a concealed weapon should obtain concealed carry or self-defense insurance with civil and criminal defense coverage in the event they are involved in an off-duty LEOSA Use of Force incident. The Air Force has no liability and will not provide legal defense if an individual is involved in an off-duty LEOSA Use of Force incident. The USAF role is solely to determine that all requirements to carry under LEOSA are met; any action taken by the individual is their personal responsibility.

3.3. Personnel should also consider carrying a “grand jury kit.” A recommended grand jury kit consists of the AF Form 688D or E, weapons qualification documentation, driver’s license or state issued identification card, proof of ownership for the weapon carried, copies of DoDI 5525.15, this AFMAN and the LEOSA Act legislation.

While I have issues with the underlying law, I’m very glad to see that we will be welcoming a wide variety of new, serving and Veteran military LEOs to the concealed carrying public and I’m also glad to see the Air Force is finally making some headway with this.

Feel free to read the DRAFT AFMAN LEOSA.