WL Gore & Assoc

Posts Tagged ‘Kel Whelan’

Kel Whelan Creates KeyLOK Attachment System

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

  

Combining the attributes of the KeyMod and M-LOK accessory attachment systems, Kel Whelan presents his revolutionary new KeyLOK system.

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.

What The Recent “Executive Action” on NFA Trust and Corporate Transfers Means To You

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

We originally published this guest post by Kel Whelan in September. As we approach the closing date for public comments on this proposed rule change for the transfer NFA items, we felt it was important to revisit the story. Next, we are going to give you some points to consider if you are planning on commenting on the Federal Register site..

I’ve known Kel Whelan for almost as long as I’ve been active on the internet. Based on his background I asked him to write a guest post for SSD on the Obama administration’s recent announcement regarding a change in policy on NFA Trust and Corporate Transfers for NFA items. It’s gotten a lot of folks’ hackles up and by extension made the small industry of producers of these items a bit nervous. So why Kel? That’s simple. He shares his point of view freely and is honest about what he sees. Additionally, I don’t personally know anyone who is closer to the issue. He is really into this whole situation. For example, he once led a class-action lawsuit attempting for the removal of the CLEO signoff and has dealt with NFA firearms and the corresponding laws exclusively throughout his career. And finally, I see him on the road quite a bit and he has this uncanny ability to know at least one good restaurant in each of the 50 states as well as some foreign countries. That alone can be critical.

So, with no further ado, here are Kel Whelan’s thoughts on last week’s announcement.

First off: nothing yet. Because no law change has been enacted at this time.

But, this past Thursday morning, the Obama White House announced an executive action that they claim would close an alleged loophole that allows individuals to obtain items such as machineguns, short barreled rifles, and silencers (known as “Title II” or “NFA” firearms, as they fall under this part of the National Firearms Act) without submitting to any background check. What the President has really done is not any law change that goes into effect immediately, but has instead put pressure on the Department of Justice to write and accelerate a proposed rule change regarding how trusts and corporations are transferred NFA items.

If you’re not familiar with the process of buying, say, a short-barreled-rifle, and why someone would purchase them under the name of a corporation or trust instead of in their own name, a moment of history on the process. Ever since people have been legally buying and selling machineguns, silencers, and other NFA items in compliance with the transfer laws set in place since 1934, the process has traditionally been established and understood. To begin the transfer process, an individual pays the seller for the item, gets a Form 4 (the application to transfer the firearm from seller to buyer – think of it something akin to a car title change) from the seller, goes to the local Police Chief or Sheriff to get fingerprint cards done, staples passport photos to the form, pays a $200 transfer tax fee, and has a statement on the rear of the form signed by the Chief Law Enforcement Officer or “CLEO” with jurisdiction over the individual’s area of residence.

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What Last Week’s “Executive Action” on NFA Trust and Corporate Transfers Means To You

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

I’ve known Kel Whelan for almost as long as I’ve been active on the internet. Based on his background I asked him to write a guest post for SSD on the Obama administration’s recent announcement regarding a change in policy on NFA Trust and Corporate Transfers for NFA items. It’s gotten a lot of folks’ hackles up and by extension made the small industry of producers of these items a bit nervous. So why Kel? That’s simple. He shares his point of view freely and is honest about what he sees. Additionally, I don’t personally know anyone who is closer to the issue. He is really into this whole situation. For example, he once led a class-action lawsuit attempting for the removal of the CLEO signoff and has dealt with NFA firearms and the corresponding laws exclusively throughout his career. And finally, I see him on the road quite a bit and he has this uncanny ability to know at least one good restaurant in each of the 50 states as well as some foreign countries. That alone can be critical.

So, with no further ado, here are Kel Whelan’s thoughts on last week’s announcement.

First off: nothing yet. Because no law change has been enacted at this time.

But, this past Thursday morning, the Obama White House announced an executive action that they claim would close an alleged loophole that allows individuals to obtain items such as machineguns, short barreled rifles, and silencers (known as “Title II” or “NFA” firearms, as they fall under this part of the National Firearms Act) without submitting to any background check. What the President has really done is not any law change that goes into effect immediately, but has instead put pressure on the Department of Justice to write and accelerate a proposed rule change regarding how trusts and corporations are transferred NFA items.

If you’re not familiar with the process of buying, say, a short-barreled-rifle, and why someone would purchase them under the name of a corporation or trust instead of in their own name, a moment of history on the process. Ever since people have been legally buying and selling machineguns, silencers, and other NFA items in compliance with the transfer laws set in place since 1934, the process has traditionally been established and understood. To begin the transfer process, an individual pays the seller for the item, gets a Form 4 (the application to transfer the firearm from seller to buyer – think of it something akin to a car title change) from the seller, goes to the local Police Chief or Sheriff to get fingerprint cards done, staples passport photos to the form, pays a $200 transfer tax fee, and has a statement on the rear of the form signed by the Chief Law Enforcement Officer or “CLEO” with jurisdiction over the individual’s area of residence.

(more…)