ATF, Obama Administration, Keep Tightening
the Screws by Executive Fiat



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By Kurt Hofmann, April 24th 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.

Picture, Oleg Volk

Gun-rights advocates understandably pay close attention to proposed new gun laws at the federal, state, and in some cases local levels. What we must not forget, though, is that new laws are only one of the threats facing private gun ownership in the U.S. Given the political reality of a GOP majority in the House of Representatives, and therefore an at least theoretical, tepid "pro-gun" advantage there, new laws are not even the biggest threat at the national level.

An example is rabidly anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) push to ban imports of semi-automatic, detachable magazine fed rifles ("assault weapons," in gun prohibitionist parlance). With no realistic prospect of passing an actual law banning so-called "assault weapons" in the foreseeable future, Feinstein and friends are hoping for the next "best" thing--driving the price up by prohibiting inexpensive imports, via the use of the pen Obama is so proud of.

Another angle is apparent in attempts to expand -- again, by executive fiat, rather than by legislation--the list of people prohibited from exercising the palladium of liberty -- an expansion the Obama administration claims is justified by supposedly dangerous mental health problems among the people it wants to forcibly disarm.

In another example, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is apparently disturbed by the growing number of people buying not guns, but "80% complete" lower receivers for AR-15 rifles, which, by the BATFE's own rules (also arbitrarily imposed without guidance from the legislative or judicial branches of the government, let alone the Constitution), are not "guns," and are therefore not subject to any gun laws. The buyer can then do the remaining machining himself, and have his own gun, without a serial number or government paperwork anywhere. Some enterprising folks have apparently offered the service of renting out access to their own drill presses, milling machines, etc., and providing instruction in finishing the work. The BATFE now says that providing this service requires a federal firearms license (FFL), despite no guns being sold, and none manufactured, except by the end-user, for which no license is required.

Alan Korwin recently notes that the BATFE has found a particularly pernicious new gambit--expanding "prohibited persons" to "prohibited households":

An insightful analysis of background checks, by Bryan Potratz in Wyoming, and reviewed by myself and gun-rights attorney Dave Hardy, has received little attention before now. It makes it clear that if a Prohibited Possessor lives anywhere, no one else who lives there can have free access to firearms or ammunition. This has gone basically unreported, even though it is in effect.

If you can't prove that your security measures are satisfactory — to BATFE's
unwritten standards — you become a felon for providing contraband to a prohibited person. Even if they never touch anything.

Mr. Korwin goes on to note that even failure to deny one's "prohibited person" roommate access to a single round of ammunition is a criminal act under this abominable doctrine.

At risk of belaboring the point, let's note one more time that none of this draconian new restriction of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual involves any new legislation. That's particularly odd, when one reads what the BATFE says on its "ATF for Kids" page (yep--there actually is such an animal):

ATF cannot enact a law, nor can it amend the law.

Perhaps BATFE's policymakers should put themselves back in grade school, and read their own "Kids' page," because they seem to have forgotten that basic point.

This is not to say, of course, that any of these policies would become acceptable if they were passed into law by Congress. Any such laws would be unconstitutional infringements on that which shall not be infringed, and would therefore carry no moral weight, and impose no moral obligation for compliance. Still, the fact that these measures lack even the thin veneer of legitimacy that comes with Congressional approval illustrates the gun grabbers' fanatical zeal for inflicting new constraints on private gun ownership.

They will stop at nothing, and neither, then, can we.

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A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column.

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