An Urgent Reminder And Appeal: ATF Comments Deadline

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

We are fast approaching the end of the 90-day comment period for the ATF’s Proposed Rule 2021R-05. For the unfamiliar reader, here’s a quick summary of what the proposed rule does from the NRA-ILA:

The proposed rule would create new definitions for the terms “firearm frame or receiver,” “frame or receiver,” “firearm,” “gunsmith,” “complete weapon,” “complete muffler or silencer device,” “privately made firearm,” and “readily.” The new definitions make it possible for firearms to have more than one “frame or receiver.” A conclusion that is both at odds with the controlling federal statute and could disrupt the entire industry.

In addition to these changes, ATF is seeking to create an entirely new process for licensed firearm dealers to apply serial numbers to unserialized firearms that come into their possession and to require the indefinite storage of firearm records by licensees. That requirement likewise has no basis in federal statutes.

Given the sweeping changes and redefinitions, it is important that gun owners comment against the proposed rule by this Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Here’s how you can comment:

  • The simplest way is to comment online at this link: https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/ATF-2021-0001-0001
  • Include “ATF 2021R-05” in your comment.
  • Be polite and respectful; express any anger or frustration without profanity or threatening language so your comment isn’t summarily rejected.
  • Write a unique comment. Do not copy and paste anyone else’s comments. Automated scripts will weed out and reject copy-pastes easily.

Here are a few helpful points and questions to touch upon; again, do NOT copy-paste them:

  • Does the ATF even have the authority to create such a rule or is it stepping into Congress’ domain of lawmaking? (See Letter to the ATF by Senators Cruz, Hawley, Tillis, Cotton for why ATF’s proposed rule is so problematic from a separation of powers standpoint.)
  • America has a tradition of homemade firearms (unserialized “ghost guns”) that predate the American revolution; why is this rule being introduced now?
  • Does the proposed arbitrary redefinition of terms like “receiver,” “frame,” “gunsmith,” and “readily” set the stage for future abuse of power?
  • Does the ATF have the authority to create a new process for marking homemade firearms with serial numbers?
  • There is no grandfathering exception (not that it will make the proposed rule any better). Does the pretext that people will continue to make new unserialized guns and sell them as “grandfathered” justify burdening lawful citizens and making criminals out of them?
  • What are the rationale and risks behind the demanding the indefinite retention of firearms records by FFLs? (The average time-to-crime, per the ATF’s latest report, is 8.29 years. The current 20-year retention requirement is more than enough to cover most cases.)
  • The claim that electronic records are cheap and thus should be indefinitely retained is not weighed against the privacy and security risks involved with the hackability of electronic records.
  • The proposed rule is based on the claim that more unserialized firearms have been found in recent years; what percentage of overall crime guns are these?
  • Can the benefits such as crime reduction from the proposed rule be quantified? What if the expected benefits don’t pan out in the future?

If you have not already commented, please do so immediately, and spread the word to your pro-Bill of Rights friends and get them to comment as well.

Those who want to chip away at our freedom will never stop, and we can only beat them with dogged persistence and unrelenting focus.