WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 25, 2022) — Firearms Policy Coalition today issued the following statement regarding the ATF’s “Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees” regarding its classification of some “forced-reset triggers” (FRTs) as “firearms” and “machineguns” as defined in the National Firearms Act (NFA) and Gun Control Act (GCA):
This latest effort by the ATF to punish and stoke fear among peaceable people who purchase protected-arms components specifically designed to comply with federal law is further proof of the agency’s abusive overreach of statutory and constitutional bounds and a manic desire to expand its dominion. Furthermore, by being purposefully vague in saying it “intends to take appropriate remedial action,” the ATF adds to the unscrupulous nature of this action leaving sellers and owners unsure if they’ll be subject to abuse.
Unless the ATF doesn’t understand the difference between resetting and pulling a trigger, the statement is further evidence of the agency’s underhandedness. After citing the “single function of the trigger” statutory definition of a “machinegun,” the ATF claims “some FRT devices allow a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger.” By virtue of its very namesake, “forced-reset trigger” systems require an additional pull before firing another shot.
The letter ends with a directive to contact a local ATF Field Office if “uncertain whether the device you possess is a machinegun.” Out of an abundance of caution, FPC suggests that individuals, entities, and businesses who are now or have been in possession of “forced-reset triggers” consider the below measures through which you may be able to protect and preserve your rights should ATF contact you, visit you, and/or demand that you surrender any item in your possession.
THE FOLLOWING IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. SEEK SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE FROM YOUR LAWYER.
1. NEVER TALK WITH ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER UNLESS ADVISED TO DO SO BY YOUR LAWYER!
DO: Politely tell them that you want to speak with or through a lawyer, then stop talking and engage a lawyer.
- If you are detained or arrested, then seek legal advice immediately. You may wish to inform close family and friends how to contact your lawyer to notify them that you have been detained or arrested.
- DO NOT: Speak with anyone (including family members) until your lawyer speaks with and advises you.
- DO NOT: Open doors unless the officers have a warrant. (If they have a warrant then they will use force to gain entry.)
- DO NOT: Leave your home/property or go outside. (They will likely detain you and prevent you from re-entry until they are done and leave.)
- DO NOT: Consent to any search.
2. IF YOU CHOOSE OR ARE FORCED TO PROVIDE PROPERTY TO THE ATF:
- IF YOU CAN: Have legal counsel represent you and engage with federal agents and the ATF on your behalf.
- DO NOT volunteer any information or speak with any agent other than to advise them that your property is being provided to them under protest.
- DO: Attempt to photograph items being surrendered under protest to document the condition of the items at the time of surrender.
- DO: Ensure that you receive a completed property receipt on ATF Form 3400.23 (Receipt of Property and Other Items).
- DO: After signing, request a copy and/or photograph the signed copy for your records. ONLY sign ATF Form 3400.23.
DO NOT; Sign ATF Form 3400.1 (Consent to Forfeiture or Destruction of Property and Waiver of Notice)!
- Should you sign Form 3400.1, you voluntarily surrender and relinquish all rights, title, and interest in, and all claims to the property listed on the form!
DO: Separately document your experience of the encounter in writing.
- Note the location, date, and time of your interaction with the ATF agent(s), the names or other identifying information (ID/badge number, contact number, business card, etc.) of all ATF agents or persons you spoke with, the details of all discussions, and any other information they told or provided you.
If you would like FPC Law to consider your issue for potential legal action, call the FPC 2A Hotline at (855) 252-4510 or visit 2Ahotline.com to report the details of the law enforcement encounter, detention, arrest, and/or seizure.
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs. FPC Law (FPCLaw.org) is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the leader in the Second Amendment litigation and research space.