News|Intel Brief

Recently, President Biden and his administration have been proactive in the push for further legislation and gun control after the devastating mass shootings that occurred Atlanta and Boulder, about a month ago. In the following weeks after those deadly shootings President Biden signed six executive orders in response. Those executive orders seek to implement legislation on gun control in the next 60 days. In those executive orders brought forth by President Biden, he sought for legislation and clarification on braces, 80% parts, and red flag laws and how those will be regulated in the future. Since the signing of those executive orders ATF seems to be working diligently to meet those orders.

Recently, a document was leaked by the name of Docket No. ATF 2021R-05 that outlines all the potential changes the ATF wants to bring about. (Link to the full Docket No. ATF 2021R-05) The 107 page document goes into full detail on how the ATF plans on transforming the definition of a firearm, how receivers perceived, and regulating 80% kits.

The biggest transformation in this document is ATF changing the definitions of what is a firearm, a gunsmith, and what is means for a firearm to be “complete.” The document also talks about how it seeks to amend ATF regulations giving the ATF the ability to record keep in regards to these new definitions of what a firearm is.

The reimagining of these definitions by the ATF allows them greater enforcement and regulations on firearms which is the objective of the executive orders put forth by President Biden. In this documentation from the ATF it wrongly asserts that the currently definitions written on firearms where from 50 years ago and the prevalence of semiautomatic weapons was a new phenomenon. The ATF believes these definitions need to be updated.

In the same breath negating the fact that we had weapons such as the Mauser C96, Luger P-08, 1911, M1 Garand, CZ-26, and many more weapons during the first two World Wars. Some of these weapons date back more than 100 years. So, firearm technology was fairly advance when those originally definition were written.

Next, the ATF is taking aim at privately built firearms with 80% pistol and rifles. (Sidenote: It is completely legal to build a firearm for your own personal use. Per ATF regulations). In the document the ATF focuses is not necessarily on 80% receivers but, on 80% kits that have everything to assembly the firearm included. The ATF seeks to classify these 80% kits as firearms and would have to operate as an FFL. Meaning that these 80% kits couldn’t be sold unless a NICS background check were completed by the customer.

The new regulation by the ATF for a 80% build would require for you to engrave it with a serial number within 7 days of the project completion. While manufacturers who sell 80% receivers and kits would have to register as an FFL to continue to do business. The document states that doing this would injury the businesses who would have to make a change but, not the overall industry.

Finally, the ATF is seeking to clarify when an object is officially a receiver and when it is officially a firearm. This is a very murky area within the current interpretation of what is a receiver and firearm by the ATF. The current verbiage on the books at the ATF list components, manufacturing, and if the receiver is in a operable state at that time. The ATF openly admits that the Gun Control ACT doesn’t clearly specific when object is officially considers a receiver or a gun.

While the GCA and implementing regulations define a “firearm” to include the “frame or receiver,” neither delineates when a frame or receiver is created. The crucial inquiry, then, is the point at which an unregulated piece of metal, plastic, or other material becomes a regulated item under Federal law.

Docket No. ATF 2021R-05, Page 30, APR 2021.

Within the clarification of what is receiver or a firearm, the ATF is seeking clarity on the use of the word “readily” in regards to how readily a receiver can be converted into a firearm. The factors the ATF seek to consider are: time, ease, expertise, equipment, availability, expense, scope, and feasibility.

Below is how ATF defines all those factors.

(a) time, i.e., how long it takes to finish the process;
(b) ease, i.e., how difficult it is to do so;
(c) expertise, i.e., what knowledge and skills are required;
(d) equipment, i.e., what tools required;
(e) availability, i.e., whether additional parts are required, and how easily they can be obtained;
(f) expense, i.e., how much it costs;
(g) scope, i.e., the extent to which the subject of the process must be changed to finish it; and
(h) feasibility, i.e., whether the process would damage or destroy the subject of the process, or cause it to malfunction.

(Can be found on page 32-33, APR 2021.)

This leaked document is expected to go public in about two weeks time frame, in the early weeks of may. From there the ATF will allow a 90-day time period for comments by the general public. As, always with the ATF, the comments must adhere to the ATF rules on how and where to comment. Below are the ways you can properly comment to the ATF in regards to these potentially new changes coming forth.

Federal eRulemaking Portal: ATF recommends that you submit your comments to ATF via the Federal eRulemaking portal at and follow the instructions. Comments will be posted within a few days of being submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that is provided after you have successfully uploaded your comment.

Mail: Send Written Comments to:
Andrew Lange, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services,
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,
99 New York Ave. NE,
Mail Stop 6N-518, Washington DC 20226;
ATTN: ATF 2021R-05.
Written comments must appear in minimum 12-point font size (.17 inches), include the commenter’s first and last name and full mailing address, be signed, and may be of any length.

Facsimile: Submit comments by facsimile transmission to (202) 648-9741. Faxed comments must:

  1. Be legible and appear in minimum 12 point font size (.17 inches);
  2. Be 8 ½” x 11” paper;
  3. Be signed and contain the commenter’s complete first and last name and full mailing address; and
  4. Be no more than five pages long.

Request for Hearing Any interested person who desires an opportunity to comment orally at a public hearing should submit his or her request, in writing, to the Director of ATF within the 90- day comment period. The Director, however, reserves the right to determine, in light of all circumstances, whether a public hearing is necessary. Disclosure Copies of this proposed rule and the comments received in response to it will be available through the Federal eRulemaking portal, at (search for ATF 2021R-05), and for public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at: ATF Reading Room, Room 1E-063, 99 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648-8740.

For those who want more insight you can read the full ATF document, by clicking here.

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