The Information that is contained in this email FILLS ME WITH RAGE, RIGHTEOUS ANGER, AT THE BATF SCUMBAGS.
The BATF is still ruining lives and killing people just like they did at WACO & RUBY RIDGE.
I wish the bastards would come for me. When I was done with them it would be national news on every TV network.
It looks like war is coming. The Republicans are shit. They are almost identical to the Democrats.
What have they really done for Conservatives about gun rights, stopping abortion, stopping illegal immigration and stopping legal immigration, stopping the homosexual rights movement, stopping the flood of porn or stopping the massive federal spending? - Bob Weinert, 1301 Penrod Ct. Lansing Michigan. 517-393-3333, I want them to know where to come get me.
I have done nothing wrong, but thats OK, you Federal BATF Agents can just make something up. Maybe you can call me a terrorist for writing this letter. Yeah, thats a good idea, lets charge him under the PATRIOT ACT for terrorism.
COME GET ME YOU SOB's!
Is this anyway for a Christian Patriot to talk? Yes says George Washington and Patrick Henry and the American Founding Fathers who would be disgusted by what America has become today!
ALERT FROM JEWS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF FIREARMS OWNERSHIP
September 23, 2005
JPFO ALERT: THE END OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?
A storm is brewing. It has the potential to utterly destroy the Republican Party.
For years, under both Democrat and Republican
administrations, American citizens -- cornerstones of their
communities -- have been falsely charged and railroaded
into prisons. Their lives have been ruined. Their families
have been shattered. It has all been because of accusations
and sham trials that belong in Communist China, not the
United States of America.
We're talking about the decades of abuses committed by the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
We're talking about the _continuing_ abuses that are
ruining innocent gun owners and gun makers today. Worse,
we're now also talking about political cover-up and complicity.
A HISTORY OF ABUSE
For evidence of the abuses, see:
People are being convicted on utterly meaningless testimony
from "expert" witnesses who don't know what they're talking
about and who work for an agency that uses arbitrary
testing methods designed to yield whatever results
bureaucrats and politicians want.
Do the Republicans know about this? Yes. Of course they do.
They've known since at least 1982, when Congress
recommended curbing the ATF's powers. Instead of
controlling the ATF, administration after administration,
of both parties, has handed the ATF more money and more
NEW EVIDENCE OF A COVER-UP
But it's worse. Not only does the current administration
know about these unjust persecutions, these outrageous,
trumped-up charges, they're now blatantly aiding and
abetting the very agency that so horribly abuses American gun owners.
Here's what we're discovering:
Earlier this year, firearm manufacturer Len Savage and JPFO
worked together to reveal that ATF Firearms Technology
Branch (FTB) actually has NO standards for determining what
constitutes an "illegal machine gun"!
One agent might decide that a semi-automatic rifle is an
"illegal machine gun" if it can be made to fire full-auto
after 15 minutes of casual tinkering. Another ATF agent
might say another semi-automatic rifle is an "illegal
machine gun" if a gunsmith with a machine shop can make it
fire full-auto after eight hours of expert modification.
But each "expert" can then give testimony that puts the
innocent owner of a semi-automatic rifle in prison.
Sometimes, they do no real testing or examination of
firearms at all. Don't believe it? Watch the video of the
"testing" of John Glover's FAL, and see for yourself:
http://www.jpfo.org/batfevideo.htm. You'll see an
ATF "expert" claim that a semi-automatic rifle is an
"illegal machine gun" because it had a broken part and
would occasionally fire two shots on one trigger pull. No
one from the ATF ever even disassembled the gun to look for
the cause of the malfunction before charging Glover with a federal felony!
When the Glover footage became public, the prosecutor
ordered the charges against Glover dropped. Later, the head
of the ATF himself ordered Mr. Glover's guns returned to
him. (If you know someone being attacked by the ATF, make
sure they have a copy of the footage to use!)
GUN OWNERS ATTEMPT TO HOLD THE ATF'S FEET TO THE FIRE
Recently, many concerned gun owners have contacted their
congressional representatives requesting the FTB's
firearms-testing procedure manual. The response has been –
shockingly, but not surprisingly -- that _no such manual exists_.
The ATF is now being forced to admit that for
decades it's been "making it up as it goes along" -- at the
expense of American gun owners.
matter of commonsense and justice, powerful Republicans are
helping the ATF cover up!
The FTB has _refused_ to release its manual to the
Congressional Research Service. Note: It's not admitting
the truth -- that there is no manual, that there are no
standards. It's just saying it won't release it. And the
Department of Justice (under which the ATF now operates) is
backing up its underlings.
Congressman James Sensenbrenner - Chairman of the House
Committee on the Judiciary - is scrambling to give the FTB
time so that it can hurriedly write some sort of fake
manual - anything! - to show the public when knowledge of
this travesty becomes widespread.
But by doing so, the FTB will be facing unintended
consequences: If the standards for testing firearms have
only _now_ been written, then literally thousands of
_previous_ gun owner convictions will become suspect, and
may well be overturned. The Department of Justice fears
(accurately) that there will be a wave of retrials or even
complete exonerations for imprisoned gun owners when the
public discovers this fetid coverup.
But the current VIPs of the Republican Party and the Bush
administration are actually trying to _prevent you and me
from learning what their agents are doing to us_.
Only one congressman, Phil Gingrey of Georgia, stands alone
in opposition to the ATF's domestic terrorism. He has
written a bill to force the ATF to video-record all
firearms tests. He made the first requests for the non-
existent manual. Yes, Gingrey is a Republican, and a
courageous one. But his attempts to get justice have been
stymied at every turn by Republican James Sensenbrenner and
the Republican Department of Justice.
We're getting calls from outraged, patriotic gun owners.
We're reading angry rumblings on second-amendment blogs and
message boards. They're all saying the same thing: "If more
gun owners begin to grasp the full depth of their betrayal,
the Republican Party will not survive the fallout."
Republican betrayal of gun owners is unfortunately not new.
The Brady law passed only because a powerful Republican
(Bob Dole) enabled it. Republicans who claimed to oppose
various Clinton-era gun laws have vigorously supported
enforcement of those same laws through Project Safe
Neighborhoods. It has been a _Republican_ administration,
not a Democrat one that has appointed hundreds of special
prosecutors just to handle "gun crimes" (which are often
completely non-violent and technical "crimes").
Until now, many gun owners have either been oblivious to
the depth of the Republican betrayal or they've held their
noses and supported Republicans because they believed the
Democrats to be worse.
Many Democrats are open and frank in their hatred of guns
and gun owners. But for years the Republicans have looked
us in the eye, smiled, shaken our hands, asked for our
support -- then stabbed us in the back.
If this were a just world with an impartial media, this
brewing scandal of Republican-supported abuse and
Republican coverup would have the potential to make
Whitewater or Iran Contra look trivial in comparison.
Because the media doesn't care about gun owners, and
because gun owners themselves are so often willfully blind
to Republican betrayal, we don't know that this scandal
_will_ be the end of the Republican Party.
We only know an increasing number of concerned, patriotic
gun owners are saying that it _should_ be.
- The Liberty Crew
For more background information and references, see:
Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (262) 673-9745
Fax (262) 673-9746
January 3, 2005
VITAL WARNING TO ALL OWNERS OF SEMIAUTOMATIC FIREARMS
If you value your firearms, your safety, and your financial security, you should read every word of the following article - then pass the information along to other gun owners. Your personal future and your family's well-being could depend on it.
- The Liberty Crew
THE BATFE GETS CAUGHT WITH ITS HAND IN THE COOKIE JAR
SEE THE FOOTAGE YOUR GOVERNMENT NEVER INTENDED YOU TO SEE
For years, you've heard horror stories about the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). You've heard they're more interested in framing the innocent than in catching real criminals. You've heard they'll ruin lives for the sake of their own prestige and funding. You've heard that BATFE agents are callous and careless - and that the bureau supports a culture of cruel ineptitude.
Well, you don't have to rely on rumor or third-hand information any more. Now, you can SEE FOR YOURSELF.
For the first time, footage exists that shows exactly how the BATFE treats an ordinary, average gun owner once it decides to "get" him. And JPFO is making that footage available to the public. You can view that footage and show it to other gun owners who may be in denial about how desperately dangerous federal gun-law enforcement really is.
AN AMERICAN HERO SAVES AN INNOCENT MAN
The background story behind this footage is in JPFO's January 2005 _Shotgun News_ column (online at http://www.jpfo.org/cs54.htm). In short, on the word of one informant with a grudge, the BATFE confiscated all the firearms from an ordinary competition shooter named John Glover and set about trying to prove that one of those firearms was a machine gun illegally manufactured by Glover. Their aim: To send Glover to prison for years, and to ruin him financially - for no reason at all!
Fortunately Mr. Glover was able to get the assistance of a good lawyer and one heroic American, a man named Len Savage. Savage manufactures semiautomatic versions of well-known NFA weapons (like the limited-edition Bren he donated as a JPFO fundraiser, which you can see on our site (http://www.jpfo.org/brengun.htm). He is one of the only firearms makers who remains willing to stand up to the BATFE when they're wrong even though several of its agents have threatened to destroy him.
What you will see in this footage will shock you, even if you think you know all there is to know about BATFE schemes.
First, you will see BATFE "expert" Michael Cooney - a man whose investigations and testimony might possibly have put dozens, if not hundreds, of gun owners behind bars - test firing Glover's supposed "machine gun."
Then you you will see Len Savage calmly do what any competent investigator would have done in the first place - disassemble the firearm and reveal that the "machine gun" was simply an ordinary semiautomatic rifle, assembled from aging parts, that would occasionally - and dangerously - malfunction.
You will see that the BATFE makes no attempt at any real investigation. Their "experts" have no firearms manufacturing experience, no engineering degrees, no rigorous protocols to follow. They have no forensic labs, no scientific method, no desire to discover the truth. You'll see that its "experts" not only know very little about firearms but don't even know the laws they're supposedly enforcing. You will see them caught in the act (just like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar) of doing the very things they've gotten away with all these years.
Had Len Savage not disassembled that firearm, the BATFE would almost certainly never have done so. The agency was prepared to put John Glover in prison - to make him a felon forever -- because he owned a broken gun!
SADLY, THEY'RE STILL GETTING AWAY WITH IT
We'd like to tell you that this story has a happy ending. And in part, it does. When prosecutors saw this stunning footage, they dropped the charges against Mr. Glover in disgust.
However, by that time, Glover had already had to mortgage his house to pay his bail and $30,000 in legal fees. And that's with a lawyer who worked for half his normal hourly rate. Today, Glover barely answers his phone, can't sleep, and lives in terror that someone will kick his door down in the middle of the night, or arrive to drag him off to prison for some other "crime" he didn't commit. And the BATFE still refuses to return any of his firearms.
Perhaps federal agents will leave Mr. Glover alone in the future. Who knows? But you should be aware that, among all the BATFE's old methods, there's a new tactic afoot. We call it an Economic Waco.
After several public catastrophes in the 1990s (the Randy Weaver case and Waco among them), the BATFE is now less likely to kick down your door, shoot you in your bed, or stomp your kitten to death. Today, they can be more polite - but more insideous. With new laws and technology giving federal agents almost unlimited access to our financial records, they can pick easy targets (like the lower middle- class John Glover and like most of us). Once they've targeted you, they relentlessly pursue you, forcing you to spend all your resources to defend yourselves against them.
The new approach uses the velvet glove of legal proceedings. But the iron fist of the BATFE police state mentality is just as devastating.
One informant with a grudge, one sloppy agent just "doing his job," and one bureaucratic boss is all it takes to ruin your life. And on the footage we've obtained, you'll see how casually they do it.
This is why we must work to get the word - and the undeniable, visual, evidence - to every gun owner. We have the evidence we've been looking for. Each of us must show it to our friends, to decision-makers, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, law-makers. We must show the world what the BATFE really is - and what it really does to people just like us.
JPFO MEMBERS MADE THIS POSSIBLE
NOW, WHAT WILL THE REST OF THE WORLD DO?
Packaging this footage (provided to us by Len Savage) was a secret project, funded by JPFO membership and everyday contributions. We could not openly raise funds to produce the DVDs and VHS tapes for you, and we could not do any advance publicity because that would have tipped our hand. Advance notice might have given the BATFE time to prepare some sort of coverup or counter propaganda.
By revealing the footage to the world without notice, we've caught the entire BATFE in the same embarrassing situation Agent Cooney found himself in by the end of the tape.
If you are a JPFO member or contributor, you can be proud. Getting this footage to the world is YOUR accomplishment. If you're not a JPFO member but you know one, please give that person your thanks.
This is dangerous material. Not dangerous to you. On the contrary, it could save your life. But dangerous to Len Savage, who must face BATFE bureaucrats and submit to their paperwork and approvals constantly. And dangerous to JPFO. We can now expect three kinds of opponents to attack with renewed fury: police staters, gun haters, and Jew haters.
When you use this footage, you'll also be able to tell who the real friends and enemies of your gun ownership are. Show it to a friend or to one of the "lesser of two evils" politicians you might have had faith in over the years. If that person in turn uses it to wake others up or curb BATFE powers, you'll know he's not only your friend but a real friend to freedom. If you show it to a friend (or a lawmaker) and get a "ho hum" or a "Gee, that's awful, but it's not my problem" reaction - and you'll know that person isn't going to stand for your rights, now or ever.
This footage is a litmus test. It's something we never had before and must use now.
Len Savage, who has already done so much, has persuaded his congressman, Phil Gingrey, to introduce legislation in the upcoming U.S. Congress to require the BATFE to tape all such test firings and examinations of firearms in the future. Another American hero, Larry Pratt, of Gun Owners of America (GOA -- http://www.gunowners.org/), is supporting this effort.
Although JPFO takes no position on any legislation, as Savage points out such taping has little cost and many benefits. It could put a stop to wasteful prosecutions and force the BATFE to be more professional. It could save gun owners' lives and families.
But that's in the future. For now, _this_ is the only footage we have. And it's dynamite, if not nuclear.
We challenge all firearms decision-makers, including manufacturers and other gun-rights groups, to join JPFO, Len Savage, and GOA in using this footage to help rein in the powerful, abusive, unamerican BATFE.
ORDER ON VHS OR DVD
You can purchase a copy of the footage for $17.76, postage paid, from JPFO (http://www.jpfo.org/batfevideo.htm).
With your order you'll also receive, absolutely FREE, a copy of Gran'pa Jack #8 "Is America Becoming a Police State?" (a $3.00 value) and your own personal copies of the BATFE confiscation report and Len Savage's expert witness report on the Glover case.
If you have a DVD player available, we strongly recommend that medium. The DVDs have a menu, designed with the assistance of GOA's Larry Pratt, that lets you go right to the most crucial portions of the test and disassembly of the firearm without having to wade through raw footage.
But whichever medium you choose, please order, watch, and _use_ this tape. Your future - and the future of justice for gun owners -- could depend on it.
- The Liberty Crew
Len Savage is the owner of Historic Arms LLC, which makes semi-automatic replicas of famous firearms like the Bren he donated to JPFO as a fundraiser . He is also the man who provided JPFO with the explosive footage for "BATFE Fails the Test," which shows a BATFE agent trying to prove an ordinary, legal, semi-automatic rifle is a "illegal machine gun." ..
On January 3, JPFO announced the existence of this one-of-a-kind footage to the world. On January 5, Sterling Nixon sent Len a letter decreeing that Len's latest creation was an "unlicensed machine gun." The BATFE confiscated the firearm and effectively prevented Len from completing and delivering the rest of a $50,000 order.
Has the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms decided to conduct a personal vendetta against one courageous American gun maker -- simply because he confirmed their notorious ineptitude?
January 24, 2005
Has the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms decided to conduct a personal vendetta against one courageous American gun maker -- simply because he confirmed their notorious ineptitude? Has the agency decided to commit yet another "Economic Waco" by trying to put yet another gun maker or gun dealer out of business?
See the documentation and decide for yourself. You'll find it here on JPFO's web site. But we believe the evidence is clear.
Len Savage is the owner of Historic Arms LLC, which makes semi-automatic replicas of famous firearms like the Bren he donated to JPFO as a fundraiser. He is also one of the few gun makers with enough gumption to confront the BATFE when he knows it's wrong.
Len provided JPFO with the explosive footage for "BATFE Fails the Test," which shows a BATFE agent trying to prove an ordinary, legal, semi-automatic rifle is a "illegal machine gun." Len is the cowboy-hatted man you'll see in the film, calmly, expertly taking the rifle -- and the BATFE's claims -- apart.
On January 3, JPFO announced the existence of this one-of- a-kind footage to the world. On January 5, Sterling Nixon sent Len a letter decreeing that Len's latest creation was an "unlicensed machine gun." The BATFE confiscated the firearm and prevented Len from delivering a $50,000 order.
According to Len, a BATFE bureaucrat had already told him privately that the agency could -- and would -- ruin him by declaring every, single firearm he ever made to be a machine gun.
Again, the evidence backs up Len's claim. Two years ago, the BATFE declared that Historic Arms rifles with nearly the identical characteristics of today's "illegal machine gun" were legal, semi-automatic rifles. Those BATFE declarations, along with the latest one and Len's response, are among the documents posted in our Savage Evidence File.
There aren't many men today who would defy the very government agency that determines whether or not they're "allowed" to make a living. Len is one of the few -- and we should not, and must not, let one of this country's remaining voices of courage and conviction within the gun- manufacturing trade be silenced.
IT GETS EVEN WORSE
Len has persuaded his congressman, Phil Gingrey, to sponsor legislation requiring that every BATFE weapon test be videotaped from now on. The video footage shown in the JPFO documentary saved a man named John Glover from complete ruination by the BATFE.
But information we've received indicates that the BATFE may already be planning to circumvent any such legislation.
In other words, the tape Len Savage gave to JPFO may be the last of its kind. Other photographic evidence of BATFE ineptitude may be hidden for years behind a wall of bureaucratic arrogance. Yes, some of these tapes might come out at trials. In other cases, persistent researchers with years to spend prying documents out of the government via the Freedom of Information Act may eventually be able to unearth other tapes, long after the BATFE has done its damage. But it's likely that JPFO's footage clearly showing the BATFE's destructive folly will be the only documentary of its kind for many years to come.
SO WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT BATFE ABUSES?
Millions of gun owners have voted for the "lesser of two evils" year after year -- and this is the result. An agency that has been allowed to run amok for decades is still wreaking its havoc four years into a "gun-friendly" Republican administration. This same "gun-friendly" administration also developed a program, Project Safe Neighborhoods, intended to put 700 state and federal prosecutors to work -- solely focused on "gun crimes."
The careers of these prosecutors prosper when the BATFE targets innocents like John Glover. These anti-gun men and women, placed in power by a Republican administration, will benefit if the BATFE eventually decides to try to put Len Savage in prison. They benefit if the BATFE comes after YOU.
So what do we do about it? STOP putting our energies into supporting evil (even "lesser evil") and focus on alerting every American gun owner we can find, every community decision-maker, every judge, every defense attorney to the evil that's going on within the BATFE.
Otherwise, you can look in the mirror and say, "Welcome to the police state." Because the BATFE's tactics are police- state tactics. Hiding evidence of wrongdoing is a police- state tactic. And destroying gun owners is a police-state tactic -- perhaps the ultimate tactic before the police state can seize full power.
Get a VHS or (better) a DVD copy of "The BATFE Fails the Test." Show it at your gun club. Show it in school classes on history or law. Sit your attorney down with it. Send copies to anyone who has the power to put a stop to the BATFE's rampaging evil (be aware, however, that in DC all mail - including DVDs and CDs - is irradiated to the point of uselessness. Phone, fax and email are the only ways to contact your "representatives").
The momentum is with us now. There's a vast, rumbling underground movement building. It's growing and getting ready to rise up in righteous fury against the BATFE. This movement reaches from the firearms factories of Europe and Asia (whose exports to the U.S. may be confiscated and declared arbitrarily illegal) to the gun shops of America - - all the way up to the halls of Congress.
But the people who have the legal power to stop the BATFE won't stop it unless We the People rouse ourselves and insist that we will not put up with it any more.
Buy the documentary. Use the menu on the DVD to give your audience a five-minute view of the worst of the BATFE's ineptitude. Get mad. Get others as angry as you are. Then join the roar to STOP THE BATFE.
Tapes or DVDs are just $17.76 postpaid from JPFO. Each one comes with a the BATFE's confiscation report in the Glover case, Len Savage's expert-witness summary, and a copy of Gran'pa Jack #8 "Is America Becoming a Police State?"
- The Liberty Crew
Whitesides & Walker,LLP
212 S.Tryon St.
Historic Arms L.L.C.
1486 cherry Rd.
Franklin, GA 30217
by Len Savage
Owner, Historical Arms LLC
With the amount of documentation now publicly available it has become obvious that there is a serious problem within the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
The technicians who work at FTB testify before the courts as “experts” on the technology of firearms. They may or may not have any real-world or industry experience. It is a fact that no technician at FTB has ever held a federal firearms license or ever designed a firearm. Unfortunately the problem runs even deeper than that. The recent public exposure of an incompetent FTB technician, Michael J. Cooney (U.S. v. Glover), which resulted in the dismissal with prejudice of a federal prosecution of an innocent citizen, raises troubling questions about the legal validity of past prosecutions in which Mr. Cooney testified, and possibly those of other FTB technicians.
Congress has given the ATF the task of “classifying” firearms - for instance, determining whether a firearm is a common, semi-automatic that fires one shot with each trigger pull or whether it is a machine gun, designed to fire multiple rounds on one trigger pull (full auto). Numerous gun owners and gun makers have been bankrupted or imprisoned because the ATF stated that their firearms were “illegal machine guns” rather than semi-autos. If the ATF's classifications were accurate, then this would just be a matter for lawyers and lawmakers. But there is ample evidence – and not only in the case of Mr. Cooney -- to indicate that the ATF's classifications are arbitrary and inaccurate. The ATF seemingly does not employ consistent testing criteria and standards.
The core issue is the methodology (or lack of) in making firearm classifications. The ATF does not employ the time-honored and well-honed methods of scientific inquiry.
The Scientific Method
Science is distinguished from other forms of inquiry by its requirement of systematic experimentation. The scientific method is designed to reduce the influence of individual, social, or institutional bias on experimental findings.
In short the scientific method is a process in which scientists or technicians try to build an accurate (that is reliable, consistent, repeatable, and NON-arbitrary) representation of the world or things in it. It has four steps that must be followed:
1. Observe and describe a phenomenon (example: A researcher thoroughly examines an FN-FAL, which is suspected of being a machine gun).
2. Formulate a hypothesis (educated guess) to explain the phenomenon (example: The presence of a full-auto safety selector installed in the lower receiver of a FN-FAL-type firearm could cause the firearm to fire fully automatic, and thus meet the statutory definition of a machine gun).
3. Use the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomenon (example: The lower receiver had to be modified or redesigned to make the firearm function in full-auto mode).
4. Perform experimental tests of the predictions that can be replicated by other independent experimenters using written testing protocols and uniform evaluation standards (example: Test fire the suspected FN-FAL on the range using standardized procedures and various types of ammunition, keeping careful notes and video-recording the testing process).
The ATF Method
does use some of the above steps, tech branch “experts” tend pick and choose
indiscriminately among the four steps and also to perform the steps in a faulty
manner. For instance, they may well observe and describe, but if they have no
real world or industry experience, do they know what they are looking at or
Example: I submitted an SGMB semi-auto rifle to FTB for classification. They observed that if they removed the safety selector, the sear did not disconnect with every pull of the trigger. (A safety selector, usually called a "safety," is used to render the firearm in a condition to fire if the trigger is pulled, or conversely to prevent it from firing. The sear is the component that releases the hammer.) Upon cursory examination, this configuration appeared to enable the firearm to fire multiple times on one trigger pull, and therefore the ATF declared it a “machine gun” -- without ever test firing it.
They failed, however, to observe that the firearm had a second disconnector that operated independently of the trigger pull. (A disconnector is a component that prevents full-auto function; it is a part that distinguishes a semi-auto from a machine gun.) Operating off of the bolt carrier movement, this second disconnector prevented full-auto fire. Due solely to the ATF's own lack of firearms knowledge and incomplete testing methods, they wrongly classified this SGMB as a machine gun - even though in real-world practice it was incapable of and not designed for full-auto fire.
The lack of consistent testing standards and criteria by FTB is well documented. When a firearm is submitted to FTB for classification firearms makers can receive no clear answer to their questions as to what tests may or may not be performed. The ATF simply has no standard test procedures.
For instance, the FTB often attempts to demonstrate that a semi-automatic version of a firearm could be “readily restorable” into a machine gun.(1) If the gun is “readily restorable” it may be illegal to possess or manufacture without special licensing.
To prove how “readily restorable” a firearm is, one of the agency's “experts” may do something as quick and simple as perform a test fit of full-auto components into the semi-automatic firearms – about 15 minutes work. An “expert” in another case may give a similar firearm to a machinist and allow him eight hours in a modern machine shop and try to make the firearm into a machine gun. Yet each expert may testify in court that he performed reliable tests to determine that a semi-automatic weapon was “readily restorable” -- that is, quickly and easily convertible into a possibly illegal weapon.
No owner or manufacture has any idea which standard will be applied to his own firearm. Yet freedom and/or economic survival may hang on the ATF's decision.
Plastic cable ties, duct tape, and shoelaces
While FTB criteria for testing and classifying firearms can flip-flop at will, that is only one aspect of the ATF's violation of accepted scientific method. At times, ATF methodology becomes downright bizarre.
For instance, in attempting to “prove” that a semi-automatic firearm is, or can easily be made, full-auto, ATF “experts” have been known to attach a variety of devices to the gun being tested. They commonly, for instance, fasten new parts to the firearm or remove parts from the firearm, then hold the resulting device together with duct tape, plastic cable ties, or small metal bars before test firing it. They use these aids because otherwise the components of the jury-rigged test weapon will not hold together on their own. Such a device would be useless in the real world, yet the ATF freely uses these Rube Goldberg contraptions to “prove” that a weapon is illegal, and that the original maker or owner of the firearm is committing a federal crime!
These strange ATF-created lab contraptions can also be so dangerous that the testers hide behind barriers to protect themselves against exploding firearms. Yet ATF agents may still tell a jury that such a weapon is a usable “machine gun.”
On September 30, 2004, the ATF sent a letter to a Mr. Brian Blakely stating that if a person tied an ordinary household item (in this case, a shoestring) to the trigger of a firearm in order to induce that firearm to shoot multiple rounds on one trigger pull, then that household item was -- in and of itself -- a machine gun. (According to law and BATFE interpretation, any components designed to induce a weapon to fire in full-auto mode are themselves machine guns, even if they are inert and incapable of firing anything when standing alone). But if that is true, then are not the duct tape, plastic cable ties, and small metal bars also machine guns? Are these ATF-applied devices not intended to convert otherwise ordinary semi-automatic firearms into machine guns? And is not the ATF - rather than the gun maker or owner -- the culprit in that case?
We have seen that the ATF uses arbitrary testing criteria and faulty methods. But worse, strange techniques like the above violate yet another aspect of the scientific method: The methods are not chosen to discover the facts. They are designed to produce whatever results fit the ATF's hypothesis - regardless of the facts.
Consider the example of aftermarket upper receivers for the M-11/M-10. This family of firearm is normally magazine-fed via a pistol grip in its lower receiver. If the firearm is full-auto, the lower receiver is considered a machine gun, while the standard upper receiver is not a machine gun.
The industry has produced aftermarket upper receivers that can also be used to feed rounds into the chamber of the M-11 or M-10. Some of these are magazine-fed. Some are belt-fed.
The FTB has decided – without testing – that the magazine-fed upper receivers are not machine guns. For instance, Andrew Smith's and Capt. Monty Mendonhall's "Soumi" upper, or my own Historic Arms "Calico mag” upper are not classified by the ATF as machine guns.
On the other hand, the FTB has decreed that the belt-fed upper receivers, like Socomm’s M-11/RPD and my own Historic Arms BM-3000 upper, are machine guns, in and of themselves.
Why? you might ask. While these components may look different, they are all replacement upper receivers for the M-11/M-10. They are all open- bolt in operation, and all of them incorporate a device that feeds ammunition directly into the upper receiver.
The most astonishing thing is that RPD-style uppers were “proven” to be machine guns after being subjected to a test in which they were clamped down in a shooting vice with a chain, and copious plastic cable-ties and a small metal bar were added to capture the recoil spring system, and pull back the cocking handle and release. The firearm did fire, although it was unsafe, uncontrollable, and impractical (unless you can tote a vise and shooting table around in your trench coat).
Now, it would actually be far easier to make a magazine-fed upper to fire as a “machine gun” using this strange and dangerous method of testing. DO NOT EVER TRY THIS, it is unsafe, and could kill you! But it is a fact: Using the ATF's own testing methods, the “non-machine gun” component would perform just like the “machine gun” component – in fact, would do so more easily. The FTB is aware of this; I've discussed it with their personnel. Yet they persist in proclaiming that the belt-fed uppers are “machine guns” and the magazine-fed uppers non-machine guns.
Why? No one can be sure of their motivations, but based on the fact that they tested the belt-feds and not the magazine-feds, it appears they simply “knew” (as any TV viewer who ever watched a late-night war movie “knows”) that anything belt-fed must be a machine gun. Therefore they devised a test to prove what they already assumed.
Inconsistent testing standards, faulty testing methods, and tests seemingly designed to prove a foregone conclusion, are a major inconvenience and financial problem for a manufacturer. For a defendant in a felony firearms case the ATF's lack of scientific method could mean a very long prison sentence for an innocent citizen, or a “get out of jail free card” for a real criminal.
Without clearly defined testing criteria and standards, and without test results available to all interested parties, in every case (another chronic problem), the FTB will continue to contradict itself and produce faulty judgments and faulty evidence in legal cases.
The FTB, the American firearms industry, prosecutors, and defense teams all need a published and readily available procedural manual of testing criteria and standards. And those procedures must rigorously follow scientific method.
The current lack of standards and the inability to replicate test results invalidates FTB conclusions at best. At worst, the ATF's methods and resulting claims could be construed as conspiracy to deny civil rights to American citizens.
The FTB resists the creation of industry oversight committee that would allow genuine experts - gunsmiths, firearms manufacturers, and federal firearms license holders - to have input into testing procedures. Currently, those whose run afoul of faulty ATF methods and resulting accusations of illegal activity and/or financial hardship have no means of redress other than a civil suit. A method of checking and balancing ATF behavior needs to be established to prevent institutional bias from overwhelming the justice system and the firearms industry with bad science and false accusations.
(1)“Readily restorable” is a term used in the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The term was never technically defined when the laws were written or enacted. In practice, the term "readily restorable" was written into the law to forbid any firearm design that could be converted from semi-automatic to full-auto with "a quick modification." “Quick modification” can be interpreted by FTB to mean "15 minutes with simple hand tools" or "eight hours in a modern machine shop" depending on the whim of the examiner.
1. Wilson, E. Bright. “An Introduction to Scientific Research” (Mcgraw-Hill, 1952)
2. Kuhn, Thomas. “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” (Univ. Of Chicago Press, 1962).
3. Barrow, John. “Theories of Everything” (Oxford Univ. Press, 1991).