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Are forced reset triggers actually legal and for how long?


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And the letter has landed. 

 

March 24, 2022

Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees

US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
teal
 
 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently examined devices commonly known as “forced reset triggers” (FRTs) and has determined that some of them are “firearms” and “machineguns” as defined in the National Firearms Act (NFA), and “machineguns” as defined in the Gun Control Act (GCA).

These particular FRTs are being marketed as replacement triggers for AR-type firearms. Unlike traditional triggers and binary triggers (sometimes referred to generally as “FRTs”), the subject FRTs do not require shooters to pull and then subsequently release the trigger to fire a second shot. Instead, these FRTs utilize the firing cycle to eliminate the need for the shooter to release the trigger before a second shot is fired. By contrast, some after-market triggers have similar components but also incorporate a disconnector or similar feature to ensure that the trigger must be released before a second shot may be fired and may not be machineguns.

Both the NFA and GCA regulate machineguns. “Machinegun” is defined under 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b) and 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(23) as—

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 term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person. (Emphasis added.)

ATF’s examination found that some FRT devices allow a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger. For this reason, ATF has concluded that FRTs 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 devices as a “machinegun” as defined by the NFA and GCA.

Accordingly, ATF’s position is that any FRT that allows a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger is a “machinegun”, and is accordingly subject to the GCA prohibitions regarding the possession, transfer, and transport of machineguns under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(o) and 922(a)(4). They are also subject to registration, transfer, taxation, and possession restrictions under the NFA. See 26 U.S.C. §§ 5841, 5861; 27 CFR 479.101.

Under 26 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 imprisonment for a term of up to ten years. Further, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 5872, any machinegun possessed or transferred in violation of the NFA is subject to seizure and forfeiture. Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2), any person who violates § 922(o) may be sent to prison for up to 10 years and fined up to $250,000 per person or $500,000 per organization.

Based on ATF’s determination that the FRTs that function as described above are “machineguns” under the NFA and GCA, ATF intends to take appropriate remedial action with respect to sellers and possessors of these devices. Current possessors of these devices are encouraged to contact ATF for further guidance on how they may divest possession. If you are uncertain whether the device you possess is a machinegun as defined by the GCA and NFA, please contact your local ATF Field Office. You may consult the local ATF Office’s webpage for office contact information.

Alphonso Hughes
Assistant Director
Enforcement Programs and Services

George Lauder
Assistant Director
Field Operations

Edited by OldIronFan
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32 minutes ago, OldIronFan said:

And the letter has landed. 

 

March 24, 2022

Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees

US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
teal
 
 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently examined devices commonly known as “forced reset triggers” (FRTs) and has determined that some of them are “firearms” and “machineguns” as defined in the National Firearms Act (NFA), and “machineguns” as defined in the Gun Control Act (GCA).

These particular FRTs are being marketed as replacement triggers for AR-type firearms. Unlike traditional triggers and binary triggers (sometimes referred to generally as “FRTs”), the subject FRTs do not require shooters to pull and then subsequently release the trigger to fire a second shot. Instead, these FRTs utilize the firing cycle to eliminate the need for the shooter to release the trigger before a second shot is fired. By contrast, some after-market triggers have similar components but also incorporate a disconnector or similar feature to ensure that the trigger must be released before a second shot may be fired and may not be machineguns.

Both the NFA and GCA regulate machineguns. “Machinegun” is defined under 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b) and 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(23) as—

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 term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person. (Emphasis added.)

ATF’s examination found that some FRT devices allow a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger. For this reason, ATF has concluded that FRTs 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 devices as a “machinegun” as defined by the NFA and GCA.

Accordingly, ATF’s position is that any FRT that allows a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger is a “machinegun”, and is accordingly subject to the GCA prohibitions regarding the possession, transfer, and transport of machineguns under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(o) and 922(a)(4). They are also subject to registration, transfer, taxation, and possession restrictions under the NFA. See 26 U.S.C. §§ 5841, 5861; 27 CFR 479.101.

Under 26 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 imprisonment for a term of up to ten years. Further, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 5872, any machinegun possessed or transferred in violation of the NFA is subject to seizure and forfeiture. Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2), any person who violates § 922(o) may be sent to prison for up to 10 years and fined up to $250,000 per person or $500,000 per organization.

Based on ATF’s determination that the FRTs that function as described above are “machineguns” under the NFA and GCA, ATF intends to take appropriate remedial action with respect to sellers and possessors of these devices. Current possessors of these devices are encouraged to contact ATF for further guidance on how they may divest possession. If you are uncertain whether the device you possess is a machinegun as defined by the GCA and NFA, please contact your local ATF Field Office. You may consult the local ATF Office’s webpage for office contact information.

Alphonso Hughes
Assistant Director
Enforcement Programs and Services

George Lauder
Assistant Director
Field Operations

Just saw this in my inbox.  I'm not very well versed in all the intricacies of modern platforms, but according to the info in this letter these triggers only require one pull to discharge multiple rounds?  If so, it looks as if their days are numbered.  I have no idea as to which devices fall under this category.

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1 hour ago, Grayfox54 said:

Well, we all knew it was coming. The product was intentionally designed to skirt the current laws. Sooner or later the law will catch up. 🙄

Or as in this case,  creatively re-interpreted by the ATF via a ruling to fit their re-imagining of the law as its to inconvenient to get it changed. And they are given the ability to do, basically what they want. 

Clever to introduce the word "continuous" along with some other mumbo jumbo to say that is how it violates they existing 'a single function of the trigger', or the rifle's requirement 'single pull of the trigger'.

But...the most interesting thing to me about this is that Rarebreed, when I looked, had these available for sale on their website.

 

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23 minutes ago, Erich said:

Or as in this case,  creatively re-interpreted by the ATF via a ruling to fit their re-imagining of the law as its to inconvenient to get it changed. And they are given the ability to do, basically what they want. 

Clever to introduce the word "continuous" along with some other mumbo jumbo to say that is how it violates they existing 'a single function of the trigger', or the rifle's requirement 'single pull of the trigger'.

But...the most interesting thing to me about this is that Rarebreed, when I looked, had these available for sale on their website.

 

So far there are no reports substantiated that they have taken any direct action against Rarebreed. I find that very curious.

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Understand that I'm not siding with ATF. I rarely do. But I can see their point. While the trigger does indeed mechanically reset after every shot, the rifle will continue to fire as long as pressure is held against the trigger. Thus multiple shots with one pull of the trigger. I think they have a valid case. 

3 minutes ago, Chucktshoes said:

So far there are no reports substantiated that they have taken any direct action against Rarebreed. I find that very curious.

I think this is just fair warning before they swoop in for the kill. This way Rarebreed has a chance to shut themselves down before ATF interevens. ATF gets enough flack for their surprises as it is. Its a PR move. 🙄

Frankly, I think the whole NFA is anti-constitutional. It was designed as a tax. Not a restriction. 

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I have no desire to investigate what a FRT does but the description  @Grayfox54 provided helps to maybe understand.  

Is this basically a “hair” trigger or are they outlawing rubber bands, belt loops, and fingers again?

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9 minutes ago, Garufa said:

Is this basically a “hair” trigger or are they outlawing rubber bands, belt loops, and fingers again?

That is a good analogy, and a bit of both, or between. A very short stroke bumpfire trigger. 

But so is the Geissele AKT in am AK platform, though not quite as extreme easy enough from the shoulder. Errr.....I mean to say, or so I've been told. I'd neeeever.....

I suspect the next step, and why RB is still up, is they are fighting this being owned by a lawyer and all. And the ATF knows it. But like Joe buddy knowingly signing illegal vaccine mandates, if you can sucker some into giving in, they will get some. In this case, if one is stupid enough to call the ATF as the letter suggests.

"Best if we take a look sir, we'll have an agent by directly to discuss it with you. We are here to keep you safe" 😄

 

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I'm not advocating that anyone engage in an illegal activity, but like most things in life - if the BATF writes an opinion that these are illegal - this is probably going to become one of those situations where it's only a crime when you're caught with it and civil disobedience until that happens.  Just like the folks who put stocks on AR pistols without paying a tax stamp or the second or third generation owner of a fully automatic "bring back" from various overseas conflicts.  Literally nothing stops them from doing it except for the threat of being caught.

The curse of the modern era is social media.  Ponder that for a bit.

To clarify:  I'm one of those schmucks who writes the government a fat check so that he can put a stock on something that other people just put stocks on tax-free.

 

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53 minutes ago, TGO David said:

 

To clarify:  I'm one of those schmucks who writes the government a fat check so that he can put a stock on something that other people just put stocks on tax-free.

 

You forgot the many months wait for the privilege of putting a stock on something. This actually annoys me more than paying for the tax stamp. 

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1 hour ago, TGO David said:

The curse of the modern era is social media. 

There has always been a lot of people who, for whatever reasons, seem to have an overwhelming urge to shout their personal business to the world.  Social media, the internet and other modern communication platforms have just made that a lot easier to do ...

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I had never heard of this trigger before I saw it in this thread. I found a few YouTube videos of the trigger in action, and have to say if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..... 

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34 minutes ago, Darrell said:

I had never heard of this trigger before I saw it in this thread. I found a few YouTube videos of the trigger in action, and have to say if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..... 

It is something that may superficially appear to be a duck, but does not meet the statutory definition of a duck.
 

Allowing unelected bureaucrats to change and reinterpret the law to suit their whims does not result in more freedom for anyone. It was a bad precedent set with the bumpstock ban and exactly what those of us who decried it at the time warned everyone about. 
 

This is incremental groundwork that’s being laid that can eventually allow for the reclassification of modern semiauto rifles as machine guns. The ATF is going to keep pushing as far as they can unless they are stopped. 

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55 minutes ago, No_0ne said:

There has always been a lot of people who, for whatever reasons, seem to have an overwhelming urge to shout their personal business to the world.  Social media, the internet and other modern communication platforms have just made that a lot easier to do ...

Just typed what the Wife and I have had to do to keep our kids safe and it read like a Tom Clancy novel. I will just say this, I use social media to keep my kids safe. It's been a wonderful tool for tracking people. The thing that scares me is that 14 years from now a man will get out of prison and my kids will be adults by then..

 

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3 hours ago, Fourtyfive said:

Dude has a nice Olympic size hot tub behind him, FRT 15 sales must be quite profitable. 

Yep!  I don’t have a problem with him having nice things, but this FRT thing is his fight. Like so many other wealthy people he’s riling up the blue collar working man to take up his fight. 

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On 4/1/2022 at 7:36 AM, Fourtyfive said:

Dude has a nice Olympic size hot tub behind him, FRT 15 sales must be quite profitable. 

Yeah, he didn't think that thru. Alienating a key demo right up front isn't a great way to get their support. But if they stayed long enough to listen to the rhetoric, they probably didnt notice it at the part he got them foaming at the mouth mad.

The only thing I took away was, hell, I want to know what the rest of the house looks like.

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On 3/27/2022 at 8:54 PM, Chucktshoes said:

It is something that may superficially appear to be a duck, but does not meet the statutory definition of a duck.
 

Allowing unelected bureaucrats to change and reinterpret the law to suit their whims does not result in more freedom for anyone. It was a bad precedent set with the bumpstock ban and exactly what those of us who decried it at the time warned everyone about. 
 

This is incremental groundwork that’s being laid that can eventually allow for the reclassification of modern semiauto rifles as machine guns. The ATF is going to keep pushing as far as they can unless they are stopped. 

I agree with everything in that post.  Furthermore, if the Government cannot define a "woman" I have no confidence in their nuanced definition of a machine gun.

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On 4/4/2022 at 4:41 PM, billyblazes said:

I agree with everything in that post.  Furthermore, if the Government cannot define a "woman" I have no confidence in their nuanced definition of a machine gun.

That would be an interesting legal angle. If you can't define something as simple as a woman, how can you define something more complex?

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On 4/4/2022 at 4:41 PM, billyblazes said:

I agree with everything in that post.  Furthermore, if the Government cannot define a "woman" I have no confidence in their nuanced definition of a machine gun.

 

1 hour ago, E4 No More said:

That would be an interesting legal angle. If you can't define something as simple as a woman, how can you define something more complex?

Cool.  I'm going to buy a full auto M16 that identifies as a "single shot" ...

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1 hour ago, E4 No More said:

That would be an interesting legal angle. If you can't define something as simple as a woman, how can you define something more complex?

“Objection your honor.  That line of reasoning has nothing to do with the matter at hand”

”Sustained”

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