Forced Reset Trigger

DID YOU KNOW YOU OWNED A MACHINE GUN?

Tomorrow has arrived – Force Reset Triggers

               Force Reset Triggers are the new target of the slippery slope we wrote about in December 2018, in an article discussing the new “bump-fire stock” prohibitions found in Florida Statute §790.222, in which Florida’s definition of “bump-stock” is found to be broader than the federal law. You can find that article here, https://thefirearmfirm.com/florida-bump-stock-ban-and-the-new-federal-bump-stock-ban/ . In that article, we described in detail exactly how the federal government’s new machine gun definition has been changed to include the now prohibited bump-fire stocks;

The new Federal law includes bump stocks in the definition of “Machine gun” found in 27 CFR Parts 477, 478, and 479. Under the new federal ban, “the term ‘machine gun’ includes a bump-stock type device, i.e.. a device that allows a semi-automatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semi-automatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.”

               At the end of the article we clearly described how this newly re-defined “development is extremely upsetting” for the clear reasoning that “the implementation of these laws are an uncompensated taking of legally owned property.” And finally, as if we knew the direction of this slippery slope, we opined, “today bump stocks, tomorrow it could be anything.”

               Unfortunately, our prophesy of “tomorrow it could be anything,” has come to pass. In less than a handful of years the federal government, by and through multiple “departments” have made another drastic circumvention of due process and blatant overreaching of their authority. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has yet again re-defined the term “machinegun” in 26 U.S.C. 5845 and 18 U.S.C. § 921, to include “ any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The frame or receiver, or combination of parts designed and intended for the use in converting a weapon into a machinegun.”  (Emphasis added).

ATF claims Force Reset Triggers allow firearm to expel more than one shot with a single trigger pull

               The ATF gave notice of the change to all Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) in March of 2022. In a letter drafted by the assistant director of ATF’s enforcement program, Mr. George Lauder, he advises that the ATF “recently examined devices commonly known as ‘forced reset triggers’ (FRT) and has determined that some of them are ‘firearms’ and ‘machineguns’ as defined by the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the Gun Control Act (GCA).” (Emphasis added) Mr. Lauder does not describe exactly which ‘forced reset triggers’ were tested and which of them are determined to be “machineguns.” He does go on to say however, that “some FRT devices allow a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger. For that reason, ATF has concluded that FRT’s that function in this way are a “combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun,” and hence, ATF has classified these items as a machinegun as defined by NFA and GCA.”(Emphasis added)  

               By not including which FRT’s were examined and how, exactly, that was done, Lauder leaves all FRT’s within the category of the definition of now being a “part or combination of parts” now classified as a machine gun. It does not take much research on-line to locate the exact problem in the way these FRT’s were examined and “the completely disingenuous manner”, says Mr. Lawrence DeMonico, President of Rare Breed Triggers, in which the ATF Chief Firearms Examiner came to that conclusion.

As a result, this letter would suggest that they are all now subject to the registration, transfer, taxation and possession restrictions under the NFA. Lauder goes on to say that “ATF intends to take appropriate remedial action with respect to sellers and possessors of these devices. Current possessors are encouraged to contact ATF for further guidance on how they may divest possession.”

ATF plans to confiscate Force Reset Triggers

               It sounds by the direct language of this letter that the ATF, as of March 2022, began investigating and seizing these FRT’s which are illegal to be possessed without the proper registration. This is an apparent second disingenuous statement found in Lauder’s letter, as it must have been obvious to him, months earlier, that Ms. Jennifer CiColani, Chief of Field Management Staff, distributed an internal email to all ATF field offices that specifically targets “Rare Breed and Wide Open Triggers.”

That leaked internal email drafted in January of 2022, also commands that local field agents contact first the various FFL’s in their respective areas and then any non-FFL, and have them “voluntarily” sign an ATF form 3400.1 – Consent to Forfeiture or Destruction of Property without Notice, which will effectively mean the possessor has abandoned their property. The letter goes on to command that the agents are to seize those previously described triggers that the possessors’ refuse to abandon and have them sign the ATF form 3400.23 – Receipt for Property and Other Items, which will be used in subsequent forfeiture proceedings. Ms. CiColani also advises in her email, that the ATF’s Office of Chief Counsel has already approved the forms, which obviously confirms that long before January 2022 and even longer before Lauder’s letter was distributed, the ATF determined it would seize all force reset triggers.  

ATF hides the law from those who strive to comply with it

               How fundamentally improper are these steps taken by the ATF? That has been clearly answered by members of the U.S. Senate as can be seen in the responsive letter submitted March 11, 2022, to the U.S. Attorney General and the Acting Director of the ATF;

Disturbingly, ATF made these documents available only to those tasked with enforcing the law, rather than those who strive to comply with it. Indeed, ATF marked these documents as “Law Enforcement Sensitive” to conceal them from the firearms industry and the American public. We find the ATF’s attempt to conceal its interpretations of the law disturbing. In a free society, “Every citizen is presumed to know the law.” Thus, as the Supreme Court has said, “‘it needs no argument to show that all should have free access to [the law’s] contents. . . ”

Id. (Emphasis added)

Force Reset Triggers are not the only thing now illegal

               There are other newly re-defined items like ‘solvent traps’ that are also under seizure by the ATF. The signing Senate members included these in their responsive letter to the ATF, and conclude with what we foretold years ago, that “with this attempted secret regulation, the ATF shows an abject disregard for the fundamental principles of due process and accountable governance.”

               So, do you have a machine gun or not? Right now, that is a more difficult question to answer than it should be. According to the current status as described by the ATF, the definition is broad enough to include all forced reset triggers, despite the fact that they seem to be targeting only two makers, Rare Breed and Wide Open. Also according to the ATF, these triggers are a “combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun.”

               If you are already in possession of a force reset trigger of any kind, and despite the ATF’s desire for you to simply abandon your property for forfeiture by signing ATF form 3400.01 – Consent to Forfeiture or Destruction without Notice, you could also be found in violation of  federal law. In 18 U.S.C. § 5871, any person who violates or fails to comply with the provisions of the NFA may be fined up to $10,000 per violation and is subject to 10 years in prison. Also, any machine gun possessed or transferred in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(a)(2), is a violation under 18 U.S.C. § 922(o), and exposes the violator to 10 years in prison and fined up to $250,000 per person, or $500,000 per organization.

We have suddenly been repeatedly contacted by Floridians in large numbers regarding FRTs and Solvent traps as the ATF has been busy visiting those who have purchased these items.  More on Force Reset Triggers and Solvent traps coming on Monday

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