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January 18, 2015

Gun Thread (1-18-2015)

BATFE's Interesting Definition of "Redesign"

Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about whether using a SIG brace on an AR pistol as a stock magically turned the AR pistol into a short-barrelled rifle ("SBR") (i.e., making it illegal to own unless registered under the National Firearms Act of 1934 ("NFA")).

First, it looked like BATFE said, "no problem". Then, it looked like they said "wait, we really meant 'no, you can't do that'". Then it looked like maybe they were being misinterpreted. Now it looks like they really said "yes, we were serious about that".

This is relatively hard to follow, but I'll try to summarize it for you. First, the basic issue is the the NFA requires rifles with barrels shorter than 16 inches to be registered as SBRs along with payment of a $200 transfer tax. It is, however, obviously legal to own a handgun with a barrel shorter than 16 inches.

So the enterprising folks at SIG designed and marketed an AR pistol that features a brace to help support this obviously ungainly handgun.

Since SIG is a commercial manufacturer, they sought and received clearance from BATFE to sell the AR pistol as a pistol and not an SBR. And this is where it should have ended.

Instead, though, people asked BATFE what would happen if you shouldered the AR pistol using the brace as a stock. Could it possibly turn it into an SBR? (thereby telegraphing their intent to build a *wink* "AR pistol" *wink* when they really intended to build an SBR).

Which ... ummm ... look at that SIG in the link. We got a favorable ruling from BATFE saying that thing isn't an SBR when it looks, acts, walks, talks, shoots like exactly one. The next step in the regulatory process is to STFU, not beg the regulator to use tortured logic to reach an adverse conclusion.

Yet here we are. Upon request, BATFE has now reached the nonsensical conclusion that an AR pistol can be "redesigned" on the fly by the user's act of shouldering it. By that logic, an 18 year-old who buys an AR and then shoots it with one hand has "redesigned" it into a pistol, which he can't legally buy until he's 21.

Great. Just great.

Oh, also ... this provision of the NFA is exceptionally stupid and should be repealed.

In Related BATFE News ...

Making your own AR from an 80% lower receiver took a big hit a couple of weeks ago when BATFE ruled that a person couldn't rent equipment at a machine shop to mill and drill the remaining 20% without said machine ship registering as a firearms manufacturer.

This ruling is even more convoluted than the SIG brace one (if that's logically possible) ...

Riddle me this one Batman... If a "receiver" is a "weapon" then it must have an individual part of itself that is a "receiver", which would be classified separately from it as a "firearm"... So where exactly is it that I can buy this mysterious "receiver, of a receiver, of a receiver, of a receiver" that you refer to?

While We're On The Topic ...

I'm in the market for a new AR. It's complicated since I live in MA and, unlike the federal "assault weapons" ban, theirs didn't sunset. Fortunately some good manufacturers make MA-compliant rifles, and I'm pretty much settled on LaRue Tactical. But if you have any other recommendations, please put me some f'n knowledge in the comments.

Gun Of The Week

Oh, what the hell? ...


(answer below)

Marksmanship Award

Gun Of The Week - Answer

That's the "Colt Commando" (Pretty sure the pic is an XM177E2), which was an evolution of the AR-15/M-16 design that incorporated a collapsible stock and short barrel.

Jerry Miculek Cuts The Hangman's Noose


If there are topics you're interested in seeing in the gun thread, please send them to AoSHQGunThread at gmail. You can also send them to me on Twitter at @AndyM1911.

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Defend the Second Amendment. Join: The National Rifle Association * Gun Owners of America * New: The Second Amendment Foundation * The National Shooting Sports Foundation * Your state's second amendment org.

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