One shouldn’t expect the media to get everything right. After all, these are reporters who often have little relevant expertise on the topics they’re covering. They’re going to make mistakes.
In an ideal world, though, those would be good-faith mistakes based on a simple misunderstanding, not misinformation.
Yet a report on a court order issued against Rare Breed published on Thursday goes well beyond good-faith errors, at least in my opinion.
On Jan. 19, 2023, the United States filed a civil complaint in federal court in Brooklyn against two firearm companies, and two individuals associated with these companies (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging that Defendants have conspired to defraud the United States and consumers, and have engaged in the ongoing commission of mail fraud and wire fraud, by unlawfully selling machine gun conversion devices, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The devices, called FRT-15s, are specifically designed and intended to be used to convert AR-15 type rifles into machineguns and are therefore themselves “machine guns” under federal law. With limited exceptions not applicable to Defendants’ conduct, the manufacture, sale and possession of machine guns is illegal under the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act of 1968. The Government’s complaint seeks injunctive relief under the Anti-Fraud Injunction Act. The United States also sought a temporary order immediately halting any sales of the FRT-15 or any forced reset trigger until and unless otherwise ordered by the Court. On Jan. 25, United States District Judge Nina R. Morrison entered a temporary restraining order against Defendants.
Defendants are Rare Breed Triggers, LLC and Rare Breed Firearms, LLC (collectively, “RBT”) and their owner/operators Lawrence DeMonico, also known as “Larry R. Lee, Jr.” and Kevin Maxwell. As alleged in the complaint, Defendants have unlawfully sold thousands of FRT-15s to the general public. In the process, Defendants have sought to obstruct ATF’s mandate to enforce laws prohibiting the sale of machine guns and ensure public safety. Defendants have also allegedly misled consumers about the legality of FRT-15s.
The problem is, FRT-15s are forced reset triggers. You still have to pull the trigger in order to fire, which means they’re not machine guns.
No where in this report does it actually say what these triggers do, either. It just repeats the line about them supposedly converting guns into machine guns illegally.
Yet here’s another thing missing from this report: If they were selling such blatantly illegal devices, then why was a restraining order issued rather than an arrest warrant?
This is the kind of question the media should ask when they see the claim that these were illegal machine guns and whatnot. No one did. They simply took the official line, asked no pertinent questions that I can see, and advance that misinformation as if it were simple fact.
The truth of the matter is that while the ATF wants these triggers to be illegal, they’re currently in something of a legal gray area. Otherwise, there would have been arrests and/or indictments.
It’s not lik FRT-15s haven’t been available for sale on the internet for some time now.
I’m calling this misinformation only because I can’t be certain that this isn’t an act of laziness as opposed to an effort to outright lie. Either way, though, it’s not an accurate representation of what’s happening here and even those not well versed in the concept of forced reset triggers should have been able to see the big red flags in this report.
So, either they saw them, recognized them as misinformation and decided to publish them anyway, or they were just too lazy to look at the story objectively and ran with the ATF’s explanation.
What do you want to bet the twit who wrote this also laments why people don’t trust the media like they used to?