Abolish The ATF

From the outset, an undercover gun-buying sting by federal agents in Milwaukee was plagued by confusion.

Local ATF agents wanted to target their longtime nemesis, the Outlaws. They had been going after the aging motorcycle gang with what they dubbed “Operation Smokin’ Piston,” breaking up untaxed cigarette operations on the south side, but were having little success nailing the gang.

It was 2011. Fellow agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives familiar with the Outlaws elsewhere in the country came to Milwaukee to offer some advice: Ditch the tobacco operation. The Outlaws were savvy to that type of sting. Instead try a fake storefront, a “surplus shop” and sell T-shirts, motorcycle parts and other goods as a front. Situate the store in the gang’s prime territory: Police District 2.

That’s how to get the Outlaws, the experienced agents advised.

But higher-ups in the agency wanted a broader focus to the operation. With a violent crime rate double the national average, Milwaukee had more pressing problems. An ATF supervisor wanted the operation to target all gun violence in the city. The sting should be located on the north side, closer to a majority of the firearms violence in Milwaukee, they said.

After the plan had been approved and without permission from headquarters, the location of the storefront was changed and Operation Fearless Distributing was hatched — not in District 2 but in a former sign factory north of downtown on a quiet street in Riverwest.

It was just the beginning of an operation marred by mismanagement and mistakes that would ultimately spark major reforms in how the federal agency conducts undercover storefront stings.

Read the rest of the article: http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/investigations/2016/09/12/atf-sting-milwaukee-flawed-start/90145044/

ATF Delays Nitrocellulose Regulatory Changes

Earlier this summer, ATF released an Explosives Industry Newsletter that changed the agency’s treatment of nitrocellulose, the primary component in smokeless powders used in modern ammunition. This change had the potential to seriously disrupt ammunition supply in the United States because it changed a long-standing ATF policy that exempted properly “wetted” nitrocellulose from treatment as an explosive under federal law.

NRA and industry raised these concerns to ATF and any change in ATF’s treatment of nitrocellulose is now officially delayed. In an addendum to the earlier newsletter, ATF announced that it “will conduct further industry outreach concerning wetted Nitrocellulose. In the interim, previously authorized industry practices concerning wetted Nitrocellulose will not be affected.”

While the addendum doesn’t indicate that ATF has permanently abandoned this change to nitrocellulose regulation, smokeless powder manufacturers will be permitted to continue normal operation, at least for the time being. NRA will continue to work to ensure that any future change to nitrocellulose regulation will not affect ammunition supply.

Source: https://www.nraila.org/articles/20160831/atf-delays-any-changes-to-nitrocellulose-regulation

Illegally Sell Suppressors, Go To Jail

An East Palestine man may find out this week if he’ll be going to prison after federal agents say they caught him with unregistered firearm silencers for a second time in two years.

According to court documents, Brent See was arrested on August 12 after a search of his Bacon Avenue office and machine shop turned up 196 silencers.

Three more of the devices were confiscated during an earlier visit by See’s probation officer, according to investigators.

An affidavit filed by an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says that See told investigators that he has been making the devices for more than a year, then selling them on eBay for $50 to $80 apiece.

Although See calls the devices “muzzle breaks”, the ATF classifies them as unregistered silencers, bearing no serial numbers.

According to the ATF, a silencer is any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a firearm.

See does not have a license to manufacture silencers according to the government.

See is still on probation from a 2014 conviction for possessing unregistered firearms after he sold an ATF undercover agent three kits that could be assembled to make a device used to diminish the report of a firearm.

During that investigation, agents from the U.S. Postal Service and ATF searched See’s Signal Road home in Fairfield Township.

In December 2014, See was sentenced to six months electronically monitored house arrest and placed on probation for five years.

A probation revocation hearing stemming from the current investigation was held last week in U.S. District Court in Akron.

A detention hearing for See is set for Wednesday.

Source: http://www.wfmj.com/story/32807776/atf-arrests-east-palestine-man-with-nearly-200-firearm-silencers

BREAKING: ATF Reclassifies Federal Explosives Laws With Rule Change

Don’t forget that the ammunition manufactures can’t sue. They can choose to either go out of business or raise prices to cover the increased expenses. But sense there is no ramp up period, as of right now all ammo manufactures are in violation of this new rule (can’t say law because it’s not).

In an Explosives Industry Newsletter issued in June 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) reclassified wetted nitrocellulose containing greater than 12.6 percent nitrogen as a high explosive under the federal explosives laws.

As explained below, this is a dramatic and sudden change in agency policy with a significant impact on the ammunition industry. The new policy was announced in a newsletter without any opportunity for industry input.

I. Background

The federal explosives laws, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40, regulate commerce in “explosive materials.” The term “explosive materials” is defined as explosives, blasting agents, and detonators. The term “explosives” is defined as any chemical compound mixture or device the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion. The definition requires ATF to publish an annual list of explosives that fit within the statutory definition. The 2015 List of Explosives is available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-10-23/pdf/2015-26994.pdf.

Exemptions from the requirements of the federal explosives laws are provided, in pertinent part, for: (1) the transportation, shipment, receipt, or importation of explosive materials for delivery to any federal or State agency; (2) for small arms ammunition and components thereof; and (3) for the manufacture under the regulation of the U.S. military of explosive materials for their official use.

The term “ammunition” is defined in 27 C.F.R. § 555.11 as follows:

“Small arms ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or smokeless propellants designed for use in small arms, including percussion caps, and 3/32 inch and other external burning pyrotechnic hobby fuses. The term does not include black powder.”

ATF’s longstanding position is that the small arms ammunition exemption applies only to .50 caliber or smaller rifle or handgun ammunition as well as certain shotgun ammunition. This position is clear in a June 2013 Explosive Industry Newsletter addressing exploding ammunition.

ATF also exempts other components of small arms ammunition from the requirements of the law and regulations, but only if such components are listed in the definition of “ammunition” in 27 C.F.R. § 555.11. This means that smokeless powder and primers are exempt from record keeping and storage requirements. However, other explosive materials used to manufacture ammunition will not be exempt until incorporated into one of the components of ammunition listed in the regulation, including smokeless powder or a complete round of small arms ammunition. Thus, wetted nitrocellulose containing greater than 12.6 percent nitrogen may be lawfully shipped, transported, or received only by persons holding federal explosives licenses or permits. Nitrocellulose must be recorded in records of acquisition in accordance with 27 C.F.R. § 555.123(b). The wetted nitrocellulose must also be recorded in the daily summary of magazine transactions required by 27 C.F.R. 555.127 and stored in storage magazines meeting the construction, tables of distance, and other requirements of storage regulations in 27 C.F.R. Part 555. At the point the nitrocellulose is incorporated into smokeless powder or a complete round of ammunition, it is exempt from the requirements of the record keeping, storage, and other requirements of federal law and regulations.

Read the rest of the article: http://www.ammoland.com/2016/08/atf-reclassifies-wetted-nitrocellulose-as-explosive-materials-under-federal-laws/

ATF Illegally Storing Personal Information

A government report discovered the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) illegally stockpiles gun owners’ personal information.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the go-to federal oversight agency, conducted an audit of ATF and found it does not remove certain identifiable information, despite the law explicitly mandating it do so. GAO conducted reviews for four data systems, and concluded at least two of ATF’s systems violated official protocols.

One of the data-collecting systems called Multiple Sales (MS) requires that multiple firearms purchased at once must be reported to ATF by the federal firearms licensee (FFL). ATF policy requires that the bureau internally removes particular data from multiple gun sales reports after two years if the firearm has not been traced to criminal activity. GAO found that ATF does not adhere to its own policy. In fact, “until May 2016, MS contained over 10,000 names that were not consistently deleted within the required 2 years.”

Another system called Access 2000, or A2K, establishes servers to be used by National Tracing Center (NTC) personnel. The NTC can electronically search FFLs’ records for certain information needed to track the history of a firearm.

Read the rest of the article: http://dailycaller.com/2016/08/02/the-atf-is-illegally-hoarding-american-gun-owners-personal-information/