More than 42,000 comments have been submitted in response to the ATF’s proposed rule redefining terms like “frame” and “receiver” since the 90-day public comment period opened a couple of weeks ago, and the vast majority of them appear to be opposed to the agency’s attempt to impose new restrictions, not only on firearms themselves, but on anything that could be turned into a firearm with a little work.
How absurd is the ATF’s new proposal? Well, as demonstrated by one gun enthusiast, the proposed rules could end up turning Nerf guns into federally-regulated firearms.
There we go. Every nerf gun is now an 80% or greater receiver. If you have a kid with a nerf gun, please let the ATF know you don't want your kid charged with purchasing a firearm while under 21. pic.twitter.com/giHRwDLDK0
— 00MEAT (@00meat) May 23, 2021
According to the proposed ATF rule, anything that can be “readily converted” into a working firearm must be treated as a gun from the get-go, and 00MEAT has now demonstrated that even innocuous toys like Nerf guns would qualify, thanks to his experiment that turned a plastic gun that fires foam darts into a .22LR pistol that can send rounds downrange.
As The Firearm Blog points out, if these proposed rules go into effect, the unintended consequences will be profoundly felt far beyond the firearms industry and DIY gun makers.
Under Proposed Rule 2021R-05, the ATF would provide new definitions of what constitutes a firearm frame or receiver and under that, they would provide a definition of what constitutes something that is “readily convertible to a firing state.” This obviously opens up a whole can of worms aside from the obvious fact that anyone with two brain cells to rub together can combine a few pieces of pipe from the hardware store to make a slamfire shotgun. 3D printers in my observation are far more capable and inventive as is the case with 00MEAT.
If this new rule was proposed to include this new definition of 80% receivers, we could be in for a big case of a bunch of children being turned into criminals overnight and simultaneously making Walmart the biggest FFL on the planet by leaps and bounds. Is the ATF going to start asking that we serialize any tube-shaped object? Are those eco-friendly stainless steel straws under the same threat of regulation?
Theoretically, the answer to that question is “yes,” which is why the proposed rules from the ATF are so troubling. Their new definitions of “frame”, “receiver”, and “readily converted” are so vague and fuzzy that there’s no way for anyone to feel comfortable that they’re in full compliance. I don’t think that the ATF would go after Nerf and require the company to only sell their toys through federally licensed firearms dealers, but they could, based on their open-ended interpretation of what constitutes an item that can be readily converted to a firing state.
If you needed a real world example of just how screwy the ATF’s proposed rule is, here you go. Gun owners still have plenty of time to submit their own comment about the ATF”s plans, and this would be a good example to point out the inanity of the agency’s intentions.
Unfortunately, the worst may be yet to come, with the agency poised to release another proposed rule change as early as tomorrow, this one dealing with AR-style pistols and stabilizing braces. Joe Biden has declared that he wants to see the ATF declare that millions of legally-owned pistols are in fact short barreled rifles that must be registered under the National Firearms Act, which would be another abuse of executive authority on the part of the administration. With Biden’s gun control plans stalled out in Congress, the ATF is his best weapon to wield against lawful gun owners, and it’s clear that he plans on using the agency as the key component to implementing his anti-gun agenda going forward.