Monday, January 24, 2011

Is It Monday Yet?

Still waiting for the BATFE letter on shotguns.Man, the more I try to get my head around the cesspool of legislation around non-stocked shotguns, the more I think my head's likely to explode.

To wit, as near as I can tell from reading the docs and discussions posted on the Internet, a pistol-grip shotgun sold as a pistol grip shotgun (that is, having never been a regular stocked shotgun, such as the Mossberg Cruisers) is listed on the 4473s as neither a long gun nor a handgun, but "other." Since it was never a long gun, it is (allegedly) not subject to the 18-inch barrel limitation; only the overall length measurement of 26 inches or more.

Mossberg Cruiser

There has been buzz on the Internet that the ATF letters meant pistol-gripped shotguns were to be classified as "Destructive Devices," that is a firearm with a bore diameter of .50 inch that doesn't meet some sort of undefined, legally vague "sporting purposes" standard that no one has a clue about. I don't think that's the case at this point. The Striker/"Street Sweeper" shotguns were banned under such ATF rulings. The ATF also ruled that extensive use of certain firearms in the shooting sports didn't qualify as "sporting purposes," apparently since there were no penguins involved or other nitwit Catch-22 reasoning. The way the ruling was explained to me years ago by the feds was that so many guns were used in the shooting sports that use in the shooting sports couldn't be construed as as a "sporting purpose." For that matter, my "explainer" said with a straight face, neither could hunting, since any gun could be used for hunting various game. War is peace, and work shall set you free!

Street Sweeper Destructive Device

If, OTOH, you buy a shotgun with a stock (here's the GCA 1968 definition of a shotgun)and it comes with an accessory pistol grip, or you buy an accessory pistol grip for your shotgun, the gun is always a long gun and subject to both overall length and barrel restrictions when you put the pistol grip on.

If you put a regular stock on your pistol-gripped shotgun, then that's all hunky-dory unless the barrel length is less than 18 inches, in which case you have "manufactured" an SBS, a short-barreled shotgun, which you cannot legally do unless you fill out the appropriate NFA paperwork, meet the requirements, pay the $200 tax and wait for your tax stamp. Ditto if you hacksaw off the barrel of your regular shotgun to less than 18 inches, or you go less than 26-inch overall length — file the paperwork, pay the $200, wait for the tax stamp or get an all-expense paid vacation to the federal slam.

Here is the BATFE FAQs on SBS/SBR. Read it carefully!

You can change back to a non-controlled weapon without any heartburn, as per the FAQ, but only if you once again file the appropriate paperwork explaining the change with the BATFE. If you fail to file such a letter and you sell your now-Title 1 shogun to a friend, you may have sold her an NFA weapon, since the receiver, the part with the serial number, is the gun part of the gun. BATFE still has that receiver on their books as a controlled weapon, even though technically it isn't.

Ostensibly, a shotgun is specifically defined as having a smooth bore, e.g. no rifling. That means a pistol (such as the Ithaca Auto & Burglar double-barreled 20 gauge pistol) or revolver (such as the Colt New Service 44/40s with a smooth bore, designed for the Philippines I believe) having a smoothbore is a SBS and an NFA controlled weapon, unless that firearm has been specifically removed from the NFA, as has the Colt. Note that the Auto & Burglar has NOT been removed from the NFA!

If I were to take a hone to the barrel of one of my S&W 629s and grind out all the rifling so it would pattern better with .44 Mag shotshells...VIOLA! An SBS! If I hadn't filled out the paperwork, etc., I'd be guilty of a federal crime.

S&W Governor .410 Revolver

I could, OTOH, purchase a brand new S&W Governor revolver in .410 (and .45 Colt and .45 ACP) or any one of a zillion Taurus Judges and be happy as a clam, because the barreled is rifled, not smoothbored. Generally speaking, the rifling in these revolvers is "optimized" for shot, not the centerfire bullets. Some such guns, such as the Magnum Research BFR .410/.45, even though it has a rifled barrel, comes with a screw-in choke to allow it to pattern better with the .410. BTW, that choke is more like FULL than the listed Modified!
Serbu Super Shorty

A pistol made from a shotgun receiver that was never registered as a shotgun (e.g. stocked and with a barrel of 18 inches or longer) is an NFA firearm, but it is NOT a short-barreled shotgun, since it was never a shotgun. Instead, it is listed as Any Other Weapon, AOW, and it is subject to the same fed paperwork bot with a $5 instead of a $200 transfer tax. My Serbu Super Shorty, the coolest gun I own is an AOW. You can probably return an AOW to Title 1, but it requires the services of a White Wizard...

Rossi Ranch Hand

The mare's leg-styled Rossi Ranch Hand in .410, with a 12-inch barrel and an overall length [estimated] of roughly 24-inches is apparently an NFA weapon (as of last Friday) even though it has a rifled barrel. The Rossi Ranch Hand in .44 and .357 is a pistol even though it was made from a Winchester 1892 rifle receiver, because the receiver had never been a that? If the Rossi Ranch Hand had a smooth bore at was at least 26 inches overall, my understanding is that it would be legal as a pistol-gripped shotgun, or as it's known on the 4473s, "other."
Taurus Raging Judge

The prototype 28-gauge Raging Judge is an NFA weapon because, well, because. Actually, probably because a 28-gauge shell is roughly .55 caliber, and even with a rifled barrel it falls into the DD category. A few years back the great Hamilton Bowen had to get an NFA Destructive Device tax stamp to build a Ruger Redhawk in .577 (lest Hamilton be set upon by feral Mac trucks!).

Wouldn't it be a hoot if today's ATF letter banned the importation of Chinese Winchester 1897 "Trench Gun" clones because they have bayonet lugs?!?!?!


Anonymous said...

I think it will be the bayonet lug guns, from what I hear.

Gunmart said...

And Congress voted on this law when???

Exactly... why do we allow non elected govt officials to make laws in our representative republic?

Mark my words... this is how Obama is gonna go after his gun control agendas in the next two years. This way he keeps his hands clean and can blame it all on the ATF. After all, there is nothing more important to him then getting re-elected.

The same goes for the whole "Sporting purpose" thingy that is going on right now. I think that is a trial balloon for something bigger. If they can get it to go over well, you will start to see it applied to other firearms.

tector said...

Someone I trust did say it would be the Chinese guns, not the Saiga.

Tim Covington said...

Stopping the importation of the Chinese shotguns make sense for a couple of reasons:
1. I don't think it has sat well with high level Democrats that Bill Clinton's executive order banning the importation of Chinese made firearms has been circumvented.
2. At a recent White House dinner involving Chinese representatives had a Chinese pianist who played a song that some consider very insulting to the USA. Apparently, the Chinese populace is quite amused at this.

Aaron G said...

I ordered two more Saiga 12 gauge mags just in case.

gunman42782 said...

Pistol gripped shotguns are indeed considered an "other" by the ATF. I work in a gun shop, and have really pissed off people wanting to buy one, as the ATF says you must be 21 and a resident of the State to purchase one, or a stripped receiver for that matter. But, I can sell them a full stocked shotgun that comes with a pistol grip as a kit. Stupid, useless regulations, meant only to get people in trouble.

nj_larry said...

So if I hear you may not be legal to accept delivery on my $300,000 custom Purdy .600 Nitro double gun cause I haven't paid the NFA tax on it cause it's over .50 and cause that makes it some sort of prohibited weapon? And only evil terrorist milita folks would want such an evil thing?

Damm, and the UPS guy was supposed to show up next week !

Holy crap, did I just give the BATF a new idea? Watch out Craig Boddington !

Ben C said...

How is the Raging Judge a DD/SBS when the Serbu is not?

Barrel dia. is larger on the Serbu.

Does the 28ga have a rifled barrel?

Or is the batfe just being arbitrary and assholish?

Anonymous said...

Not legal advice, but:

The Raging Judge is a DD because its barrel is rifled. If its barrel weren't rifled it would be an AOW like the Serbu Super Shorty.

Smoothbore handguns (more precisely, "concealable" sized smoothbores) that have never had a shoulder stock attached to them are AOWs.

Any rifled bore firearm larger than .50 cal. is a DD unless it is classified as: an antique; "a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes"; or the Secretary makes a finding that the gun in question is "not likely to be used as a weapon."

Anonymous said...

ATF troubles

Anonymous said...

Hi Cap article..

seeker_two said...

I wonder if Taurus might just have done us a favor and opened the door to suing the ATF over the "sporting use" regulation.....

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Obama might say about gun control at the State of the Union address tonight.. He invited people from the Tucson shootings to be there.. Maybe thats why ATF held off..

The 2nd Amendment isn't about Sporting Purpose..

Anonymous said...

Some day a clever far sighted President and Congress will either set the BATF straight as to its duties and limitations or face a complete ban of the BATF itself as in ' What batf ? , there is no longer any batf ! '.

I too have a Dream , of a free people .

Anonymous said...

You forgot to add that its OK to have a rifle of overall length less than 26 inches under the circumstance that its fire control mechanism is inoperable...ala Keltec SU-16 or Henry Survival 22.

Anonymous said...

Or you have a 70 year old M1 Carbine Paratrooper version that comes in 25.75 inches and CAN fire in the collapsed mode is excepted to the exception above. It really is all so simple.. :) ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

I figured the Raging Judge was not a DD because 28 gauge shotshells have never been used for anything but "sporting purposes" much like 20 and 12 gauge shotguns with rifled bores are not DD because they are intended for "sporting purposes."

Most everyone agreed it's not an AOW because it has a rifled bore.

It can't be an SBS because it never had a stock.

Likewise, it's not an NFA "weapon made from a shotgun" because according to the GCA "a firearm with a pistol grip in lieu of the shoulder stock is not designed to be fired from the shoulder and, therefore, is not a shotgun."

The Raging Judge wasn't so much legal as not illegal under the NFA. It seemed the attorneys found a weird little sweet spot.

Still I was not surprised to hear the BATFE simply said "No" and I supposed they'd narrowly revise the sporting purpose exemption while still allowing deerhunters their 12 and 20 bore rifles.

Now we hear the BATFE did not cap the Raging Judge after all. Game on!

Frankly a 28 gauge horse pistol doesn't do much for me, but by applying the same thinking can Thompson/Center sell an Encore pistol with a ten inch 12 gauge barrel so as long as the bore is rifled? Can Ithaca reintroduce their classic "Auto-Burglar" as long as the sxs 20 gauge bores are

I still think the BATFE will find a reason to change their minds on this one.

Anonymous said...

"...a 70 year old M1 Carbine Paratrooper version that comes in 25.75 inches and CAN fire in the collapsed mode..."

As I read the NFA guidelines the BATFE measures rifles and shotguns with their stocks in the extended position.

The California DOJ doesn't which is why UZI Carbine owners had to buy 18 inch barrels to be CA legal back in the day.

IIRC (it's been 11 years since I left) CA also prohibits guns that accept shotshells unless the barrel is longer than 18 inches and the overall length is greater than 26. That's why the Contender 45/410 barrel is a no-no there and the CA DOJ will not be adding the Raging Judge to the "Approved List."

Graybeard said...

You know, if you ever had even the tiniest bit of doubt in your head that the purpose of the BATFE is to make laws that turn ordinary, law-abiding citizens into felons, this ought to get rid of that doubt.

So if I have 12 ga with a pistol grip that was sold with it, it's fine, but if I put a pistol grip on an otherwise identical Mossberg, I'm a felon?

Destructive Devices, Any Other Weapons, Rifled Shotgun Bores on handguns are ok? WTF? And it doesn't matter if you use it for the sport of shooting, that's not a sporting purpose??

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia...

Louis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louis said...

I found the link on John Lott's page.

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