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Thread: BATFE Changes Definition of Handgun when Assessing Imports

  1. #1
    Site Supporter farscott's Avatar
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    BATFE Changes Definition of Handgun when Assessing Imports

    FYI.

    https://comms.wiley.law/8/3583/october-2020/alert--atf-interpretive-change-restricts-handgun-imports-and-may-require-nfa-registration(2).asp


    Despite ATF previously stating that there is no limit to how long or heavy a handgun should be to qualify as “sporting” under section 925(d)(3), ATF private classification letters issued within the past few months indicate that the agency has shifted course by reinterpreting what constitutes a “handgun.” In company-specific letters, ATF takes the position that if a submitted firearm is too long or too heavy, it fails to meet the definition of “handgun” under the Gun Control Act, as it is not “designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.” The Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) of ATF—which conducts importability evaluations—says that it is taking a subjective approach to the statute by allowing individual examiners to determine if he or she can fire the weapon with one hand without difficulty.
    In some of the new letters, ATF has begun listing the following “objective design features” when making its evaluations:


    • Incorporation of rifle sights;
    • Utilization of "rifle caliber ammunition" (both 5.56mm and 7.62mm have been considered as such);
    • Incorporation of “rifle-length barrel;”
    • The “weapon’s heavy weight;”
    • Ability to accept magazines that range in capacity from 20 rounds to 100 rounds, “which will contribute to the overall weight of the firearm”; and
    • Overall length of the weapon which “creates a front-heavy imbalance when held in one hand.”


    However, ATF also noted in the most recent private ruling that the above design features are “neither binding on future classifications nor is any factor individually determinative[.]” ATF explained without elaboration that “the statutory and regulatory definitions provide the appropriate standard in classifying the firearm.” ATF concluded that “a firearm that is too large, too heavy or . . . otherwise not designed to be held and fired in one hand (as demonstrated by the objective features) cannot be a handgun under the statutory definition and cannot be subject to importation criteria governing handguns.”

  2. #2
    Site Supporter LOKNLOD's Avatar
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    What are "rifle sights"?
    --Josh
    When I draw, I don't deactivate the safety; I activate the danger.

  3. #3
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    I know everybody's gonna squeal about it because we all want SBR-type guns without the idiot NFA tax, but I don't see anything draconian here. We even talk about these type of guns in the Rifles section of this subforum vs the handgun section...we all know what they are and so does the ATF. It's disingenuous to pretend otherwise or get our feewings hurt when our loophole gets threatened.

    The bigger issue to me is that the ATF needs to get it's stuff together and be transparent. Along with that, we the gun owners need to figure out ways to exert leverage in the direction we want the rulings to go. Relying on legal loopholes for our funsies isn't the right way. If something needs to get overhauled, we need to put the right spokespeople on it, focused in the right areas where their efforts will have an effect.

    I'm just a welder and so I have no idea how this needs to happen...but somebody smarter than me with time to put thought into it, does. We need to find that person/those people and give them backing and direction. JMHO.

  4. #4
    Lowly Production C-Class olstyn's Avatar
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    Nice how they reserve the right to be extremely vague.

  5. #5
    Site Supporter ccmdfd's Avatar
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    Whose "one hand" is used to make the determination? Kate Moss, Jerry Miculek?

    What about those big X Frame guns? Can they be run with one hand only? (Never actually seen or held one)

  6. #6
    Site Supporter farscott's Avatar
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    I find the vagueness to be the issue. I think everyone here believes the Remington XP-100 aka 700 CP is meant to be a handgun. But I do not know anyone who shoots it with one hand; everyone uses the bench or both hands. While the Remington pistol is not subject to an import examination, I find it curious that Anschutz may no longer be allowed to import a pistol like the Exemplar.

    And how much weight is too much? Eight pounds? Four pounds? Barrel length too long? 16"?

  7. #7
    Regular guy. Cory's Avatar
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    While AR pistols are often looked at as a work around for SBR laws, it doesn't mean it's okay for the ATF to change regulations, laws, interpretations, or whatever you want to call them on a whim. Regardless of if the ATF likes it or not AR pistols have been around for years and have been legal the while time. They can't just snap their fingers and change laws.

    Apparently letters from congress have little weight with the ATF, so who is going to do anything about it? While the current changes may not be draconian in nature the methods used to make the change are how we get to draconian stuff.
    Last edited by Cory; 10-26-2020 at 08:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by olstyn View Post
    Nice how they reserve the right to be extremely vague.
    That is the whole point of their mealy mouthed baloney statements...

    They couldn't say "shit" even if their mouths were full of it.

    We are no longer a nation of laws... but of open ended and flexible rules that will be bent to the will of those in power.

  9. #9
    Lowly Production C-Class olstyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WDR View Post
    That is the whole point of their mealy mouthed baloney statements...

    They couldn't say "shit" even if their mouths were full of it.

    We are no longer a nation of laws... but of open ended and flexible rules that will be bent to the will of those in power.
    No disagreement there. They've publicly declared their intent to play regulatory Calvinball, and it's incredibly inappropriate.

  10. #10
    UZI does it
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBone550 View Post
    I know everybody's gonna squeal about it because we all want SBR-type guns without the idiot NFA tax, but I don't see anything draconian here. We even talk about these type of guns in the Rifles section of this subforum vs the handgun section...we all know what they are and so does the ATF. It's disingenuous to pretend otherwise or get our feewings hurt when our loophole gets threatened.

    The bigger issue to me is that the ATF needs to get it's stuff together and be transparent. Along with that, we the gun owners need to figure out ways to exert leverage in the direction we want the rulings to go. Relying on legal loopholes for our funsies isn't the right way. If something needs to get overhauled, we need to put the right spokespeople on it, focused in the right areas where their efforts will have an effect.

    I'm just a welder and so I have no idea how this needs to happen...but somebody smarter than me with time to put thought into it, does. We need to find that person/those people and give them backing and direction. JMHO.
    Completely arbitrary standards with zero transparency when enforcing a bunch of laws that are all profoundly unconstitutional anyway? Yep, nothing draconian at all. Totally.

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