Here we go, kids, as we predicted here. This is just the first strike. Couple of things to note….the “Buy Build Shoot” kit is nothing but a collection of parts combined with an 80% receiver. This would be no different that going to Midway USA or Brownells and buying a Glock lower receiver parts kit (there used to be dozens available, but all that I looked atare sold out) an assembled slide available from dozens, if not hundreds, of aftermarket suppliers, and an 80% lower.
I’m thinking that the thugs at ATF are going to hang their hats on the concept of “constructive possession.” Read NFA lawyer Joshua Price’s (who I turn to for legal information on NFA issues) piece on the issue here: https://blog.princelaw.com/…/florida-man-arrested-for…/
“As I stated before, one must be very careful when entering into the NFA realm, even where an individual does not assemble the firearm into a NFA configuration because of the legal implications under the doctrine of constructive possession. Constructive Possession exists when a person knowingly has the power and intention at a given time to exercise dominion and control over an object, either directly or through others. US v. Turnbough, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 11886, *6. The government may establish constructive possession by demonstrating that the defendant exercised ownership, dominion or control over the premises in which the contraband is concealed.”
This would represent a huge expansion of how constructive possession has been construed. It was, I believe, originally aimed at drugs (natch) and illegal weapons possession in the sense that a forbidden person was in the presence of a firearm. ATF expanded that to include possession of the parts to complete an NFA weapon. That was altered somewhat by the Supreme Court ruling on the Thompson/Center case in 1992 (https://stephenhalbrook.com/thompson/), where the majority of Justices found that, essentially [AND THIS IS NOT, NOR SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE]…from the ATF website…
“The Court held that, where aggregated parts could convert a pistol into either a regulated short-barreled rifle, or an unregulated rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length, the NFA was ambiguous andapplied the “rule of lenity” (i.e., ambiguities in criminal statutes should be resolved in favor of the defendant) so that the pistol and carbine kit, when packaged together, were notconsidered a “short-barreled rifle” for purposes of the NFA.
However, the Court also explained that an NFA firearm is made if aggregated parts are in close proximity such that they: (a) serve no useful purpose other than to make an NFA firearm (e.g., a receiver, an attachable shoulder stock, and a short barrel); or (b) convert a complete weapon into an NFA firearm (e.g., a pistol and attachable shoulder stock, or a long-barreled rifle and attachable short barrel).”
Note we’re only talking about NFA items here. However, ATF has for years tried to redefine what “making” a firearm means. There was an attempt some years back to define the replacement of parts, say a hammer in revolver, as making a completely new gun, which would trigger the need for a manufacturing license, payment of excise taxes, etc.
My take is that they are expanding the constructive possession concept into the non-NFA arena. I believe that this has been in the works for some time, and I also believe it is a much larger issue than just 80% receivers. I believe the goal is to redefine a “firearm” as something very specific, where no item can be changed or altered without creating a new firearm, which is then subject to federal regulations regarding manufacturing licensing, excise taxes and serial number issues. “Tinkering” with the firearm would quite literally be against federal law.
One of the Left’s key goals has been not just the passage of antigun laws, but the elimination of the Gun Culture. As we have discussed at great length here and on the podcast, the “Bloomberg Model” laws adopted by so many states, including Colorado, were primarily focused on making illegal common practices within the culture, such as loaning a firearm to a friend for a hunting trip or competition, or passing guns town to children and other relatives. The laws themselves were far less consequential than their intent…making minor interactions between firearms owners harder and harder, thus weakening the bonds that weaves together what we call the Gun Culture.
From the Wall Street Journal: “The raid target, Nevada-based Polymer80, is suspected of illegally manufacturing and distributing firearms, failing to pay taxes, shipping guns across state lines and failing to conduct background investigations, according to an application for a search warrant unsealed Thursday after the raid took place.
“The probe focuses on Polymer80’s “Buy Build Shoot Kit,” which includes the parts to build a “ghost” handgun. The kit, which Polymer80 sells online, meets the definition of a firearm, ATF investigators determined according to the warrant application. That means it would have to be stamped with a serial number and couldn’t be sold to consumers who haven’t first passed a background check.”