Friday, January 28, 2011

Additional Thoughts on the ATF Shottie Letter

The big issue here isn't whether ATF recognizes practical shooting as "legitimate" sports...the issue is that the "sporting purposes" clause itself is BS from the ground up.

I'm paranoid of course, but I can't help wondering what the real game is here...there are a lot of Saigas out there in 3-Gun, for self-defense and just because they're fun to shoot (and there will be a damn sight more over the following weeks as sales ratchet up to "bubble" levels!). It doesn't seem rational to me that even an agency as consistently dense as ATF would create such a massive poo-poo blast with a national election next year.

Many have noted that the Saiga as imported doesn't have any of the Evil List of non-sporting elements...however, I think I'm correct in that there are provisions prohibiting the assembly of an imported gun into a non-importable least I think that's what 922(r) says.

I think there's a bigger picture here...ATF has been circling shotguns as a category like a pack of vultures for the last 18 months...I suspect they have some play in mind, and this ridiculous "study" is a step along that path. It may have to do with how BHo is going to try and play us in the next few weeks. I have always feared a wave of Executive Orders outside the purview of Congress. Remember that BHo is a basketball player -- ATF sets him up, tosses him the ball and Barry takes the shot.

Having read the study a couple of times now, the only shotgun that comes to mind as "unimportable" is indeed the hapless Chinese Winchester '97 Trench Gun clone, because of it's deadly bayonet lug, and I'm not sure whether that variant is still in production (Chinese '97 clones go primarily to the cowboy action shooting market, and the Trench Guns aren't in demand...and no, you can't have mine!).

Again, ATF has always been an agency in search of a mission. It's just no fun to bust untaxed cigarette smugglers, and you'll never get a fawning Katie Couric interview that way! The best way for ATF to "clarify" it's mission is to figure out a way to make more law-abiding Americans into criminals.

The "sporting purposes" clause is a legacy of the bad old days, and rather than argue what it means, we need to take up the cause of eliminating it all together.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous said...

Here here! 'sporting clause' is blatantly unconstitutional.

founders said...

Although I'm not sure, I think that the Saiga is possibly at risk due to being box magazine fed and for all intents / purposes the only box magazine fed shotgun on the commercial market. True, as imported, you get a 5 round magazine which on the surface puts you beyond the reach of this new 'study'. However, you have to view the study in the light of the ATF's mission which is to regulate firearms (until they're regulated out of existence). If passed as is, they will undoubtedly take action pursuant to the findings therein. Color me paranoid but I suspect they will follow up with a clamp down on the Saiga "due to the readily available magazines" that would convert the saiga to a non sporting firearm...

The good news is we get a comment period. We need to make judicious use of it.

Justin said...

Michael, what's your read on how this would apply to tube-fed shotguns?

I've not read the entire study all the way through yet, but it seems that they try to conflate magazine-fed guns with tube-fed guns by pointing out that competitive 3-Gun shooters use tech loaders to speed up their reloading process.

Justin said...


What's your read on the bit where they try to conflate tube-fed shotguns with magazine-fed ones?

They appear to be claiming that tube guns that hold more than five rounds and magazine-fed guns that hold more than five rounds are the same thing, because some shooters (namely Open Division 3-Gun shooters) use tech loaders to speed up their reloading process.

Also, on a happier note, it was cool to get to see you at the Golden Moose Awards.

Anonymous said...

Gee I wonder why the study conveniently left out varmint/predator hunting and hog hunting? Could it be that they would support the use of almost every one of the features they wished to count as non-sporting?

Anonymous said...

There are a couple more box magazine fed shotguns on the market, or recently on the market. These are bolt actions with rifled barrels. Savage makes a fine one in 20 ga. and so did Browning, the A-Bolt. Marlin used to make a goose gun and another one called the Swamp Gun, Both were smooth bores with box magazines. I think that there are a few more too. So any proposed law intended to ban such guns is farther reaching than some think.

The problem with all of these type of laws is that they don't actually accomplish anything other than depriving someone of the gun the they WANT!

Life Member

Kevin said...

They define "large amounts of ammunition" as more than 5 rounds. And hence ANY shotgun that can be modified to take more than 5 rounds is inherently not a shotgun that has a "sporting purpose".

I'd assume that there is at least one semi or pump shotgun on the US market that can't be easily modified to take more than 5 rounds, but the only ones I can thing of are already NFA weapons.

Unknown said...

People, the focus of this study is importation. Talking about Browning, and Savage, and Marlin, and US shotguns with more than 5 shell capacity, is besides the point.

Kevin said...

Banning imports due to "no sporting purpose" was the first step the ATF took the last time they did this.

Sporting Purpose is also the sole difference between a 12 gauge shotgun and a "destructive Device". If having the potential to have more than 5 rounds is a key differentiator (which the study explicitly says it is) you'd better plan on learning how to reload a double barrel shotgun fast, because that is all that will be allowed.

The NRA sees where this is going and is not amused.

Anonymous said...

The ' Sporting Clause ' is only there to eliminate all non sporting firearms ( makes sense to a very large uninformed number of Americans , no ? )
Next ban sport hunting as inhumane and downright cruel ( again , makes sense to a vast number of uninformed Americans , no ? )
Since there is now no intelligent reason to own a firearm they are hereby banned.

See where they are going with this ? Of course you do.

Dave S. said...

I really, really hope that the BATF keeps this up. I really, really hope that gun control in any form is resurrected. I doubt it, but one can dream. Because I'm thinking it might help motivate the traitorous among us who helped elect Obama in 2008 by staying home and pouting, and get them to actually grow up and drag their crybaby butts to the polls in 2012.

I'll make a deal with the stay-at-home purists who may be reading this - I'll continue to vote for the GOP candidate, like I always do, even if it's the horrific Huckabee, if you'll do the same even if it's Romney. Deal? Can we agree, in a way you were unwilling to last time, that Obama is most definitely the greater of two evils? Thanks.

nj_larry said...

Real Life vs Liberal nonsense

I admit to being a political junkie. I've been following the social riots/revolution in Egypt on streaming feed. Well guess what happens when even in the Middle East the police fail to protect or even show up on the darkened streets? Al Jazeera live stream from Cairo reports that neighborhoods are providing their own watches and patrols. Armed with clubs, knives and personal firearms they are trying to protect the little they have from those who would like to take advantage of the political instability.

Life lesson to Sen. Lautenberg, Mayor Bloomberg and Carolyn McCarthy. Self defense is a universal/natural human right.

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Anonymous said...

The "sporting purposes" thing is BS, but I still say getting IPSC and such officially recognized as "shooting sports" at the state level won't hurt anything (after all, they're already sports) and could help a great deal if it comes to that. ATF spent a lot of time discussing various state's hunting laws after all...

one small step after another..

Anonymous said...

just do a google search for "operation gunwalker".

along those same lines there was an FBI agent last summer who was indicted for dealing guns (straw purchases) in the southwest.

Douglas said...

My letter to BATFE is at

Anonymous said...

Good points... but can we PLEASE stop using the word 'shottie' to describe shotguns? It's like a 45 year old man introducing himself as 'Timmy' Ungh!

Anonymous said...

Concerning the statement about Saigas being the only magazine fed shotguns, let's not forget all the magazine fed bolt action shotguns that were produced by big names specifically for deer hunting in shotgun and slug only states.
It would be a very long stretch for the ATFE to consider those shotguns non-sporting!