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ATF shotgun ruling

It’s here. Reading now. Not really a ruling, more a study. Via Caleb.

Updates as I read:

Misuse term assault rifle.

Competition not sporting purpose, nor are many lawful activities common in the sporting use of firearms. Plinking is not sporting

They’re looking into it:

Therefore, the working group believes that a more thorough and complete assessment is necessary before ATF can consider practical shooting as a generally recognized sporting purpose.

AWB features used to determine ‘sporting’. Added light rails and such as well. And weight and size limits. Odd.

Fiber optic sights? For serious?

Those features can lead to ban on importation:

The purpose of section 925(d)(3) is to provide a limited exception to the general prohibition on
the importation of firearms without placing “any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or
burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of

Our determinations will in no way preclude the importation of true sporting
shotguns. While it will certainly prevent the importation of certain shotguns, we believe that

those shotguns containing the enumerated features cannot be fairly characterized as “sporting”
shotguns under the statute. Therefore, it is the recommendation of the working group that
shotguns with any of the characteristics or features listed above not be authorized for

26 Responses to “ATF shotgun ruling”

  1. Caleb Says:

    I sure hope the FN SLP is manufactured stateside…

  2. Sigivald Says:

    On the plus side, good on them for actually trying to define openly what “suitable for sporting purposes” means. (And much of the analysis in that report is quite reasonable, in terms of what it actually says.)

    The problem here is not recognizing that those features (eg. bayonet lugs, side rails, grenade launcher mounts – not that I’ve ever seen a shotgun with one) are not “particularly suitable” for sporting uses. Indeed, the listed things mostly aren’t particularly so suited, or readily adaptable to sport. (Some, like large magazines, plainly are, and ATF is simply wrong there.)

    It’s the claim a paragraph down that they are therefore disqualifying; as if a gun that would be perfectly sporting somehow becomes useless for sport if you put a bayonet lug on it. That part just doesn’t make any sense.

    The real solution is for Congress to get rid of the “sporting” language in 18 USC 925, that’s been cluttering it up since 1968.

    (I share the confusion about why hunting is “sporting”, and organized competition is “sporting”, but plinking is merely a “pastime”.

    Pastimes are “An activity that occupies one’s spare time pleasantly” (to pick the best internet definition I could find).

    That sure seems to describe non-profssional firearms competition and hunting pretty well, too.

    “Sport” can’t include most hunting if it’s in the most modern sense of an “organized, competitive activity”.

    Thus, since it unquestionably – even by they ATF’s standards – does include hunting, it must be using the older meaning of the term… which is identical to that of pastime.

    Thus the distinction is incomprehensible.

    That suggests an excellent court challenge, though it’s not clear who’d have standing to challenge an import ban; who could show harm?)

  3. Skullz Says:

    Fiber op sites? Like the one a Beretta Teknys Gold comes with? Not sure if the semi-auto Berettas are made in Italy or not…

  4. Ian Argent Says:


  5. Darrell Says:

    When bowling balls are outlawed, only outlaws will go bowling.

  6. Chas Says:

    The GCA ’68’s sporting purpose requirement is an unconstitutional infringement of Second Amendment rights because it denies Americans access to firearms that are consistent with the Second Amendment, while allowing them access to firearms that are not consistent with the Second Amendment.
    The Second Amendment speaks of the importance of the security of a free state, not the importance of sport. We are entitled to the weapons of war, not toys for our amusement. We have the right to keep and bear arms, and that must not be infringed by denying us access to arms. It is a right to be respected, not a privilege to be restricted.
    GCA ‘68 was a despicable attempt to con the American people out of their rights. The “sporting purpose” requirement should be struck down as unconstitutional, since it is grossly inconsistent with the Second Amendment.

  7. Diomed Says:

    I’m hoping NSSF & NRA are assembling a crack team of lawyers to rip this to shreds, but I’m not actually expecting much. NRA doesn’t really care about this end of the rights spectrum, and this is actually good news for NSSF (remember, GCA is a protectionist law among other things).

  8. Sebastian Says:

    I’m not sure fiber optic sights are a no-go in this recommendation… though I don’t know what else they mean. That whole section didn’t make any sense, because they talk about it being illegal to hunt at night, but previously said clays were a valid sport, when clays can be done at night, and is often done at night.

  9. Sebastian Says:

    I’m hoping NSSF & NRA are assembling a crack team of lawyers to rip this to shreds

    On what ground are you going to rip it to shreds? The Gun Control Act gives them the power to determine what guns do and don’t have sporting purpose.

  10. Freiheit Says:

    So I can’t import it, but I can buy it and trick it out to that level?

  11. Spade Says:

    Said it on Sebastian’s site: Could be the start of declaring the converted Saiga’s in country to be DD’s. They have those “non sporting” features.

    I also like that they cite a study that relied on the Assault Weapons Ban language. Which doesn’t exist as law anymore.

    Somebody needs to find a way to use Heller to kill the “sporting purposes” clause.

  12. John Smith. Says:

    I hunt with a shotgun for food. Believe me that is not sporting….

  13. Mr Evilwrench Says:

    So, blowing a burglar’s face through the back of his head isn’t “sporting”? I’m having a problem with that.

  14. Jeff from DC Says:

    I hope they don’t come after fiber optic cables next.

  15. Canthros Says:

    Skimming it, because I don’t have the attention span for thirty-odd pages of lawyer-ese, but I see in a late page a couple pictures of shotguns with rails, labeled either ‘sporting’ or ‘non-sporting’. Rails on the handguards are ‘non-sporting’, but rails across the entire top of the gun or on either side of the magazine tube clamp are ‘sporting’, if I understand the pictures right.

    Having some trouble figuring out by what standard that makes any sense.

  16. Diomed Says:

    “On what ground are you going to rip it to shreds?”

    That’s where the crack team of lawyers comes in…

  17. ATL Says:

    This entire ruling seems incoherent at best. Seriously how does weight and width figure into this? Also the funny thing about this is that it really does not affect the importation of the Saiga as far as I can see. I could be wrong, but is anyone seeing the same thing?

  18. Jay21 Says:

    and according to the atf 10 gauge is a .0775″ bore size, thats small

  19. Gun Blobber Says:

    In the “Background on Shotguns” section they include talk of slugs, but do not mention rifled barrels. The definition of a shotgun includes the words “through a smooth bore”. So already they have omitted any talk of a rifled-barrel shotgun.

    The biggest problem: the recurring use of the sentence “The GCA generally prohibits the importation of firearms into the United States.” That is Problem #1, right there. It’s the difference between Shall-Issue and May-Issue. “No, with exceptions” is far different from “Yes, with exceptions” even if by careful manipulation of the exceptions you can achieve the same end result. The “general prohibition” is the real meat of the issue.

    There is a repeated logical fallacy, stated e.g. on Page 9, “the following shotgun features and design characteristics are particularly suitable for the military or law enforcement, and therefore, offer little or no advantage to the sportsman.” That “therefore” does not follow at all! “The following automotive features are particularly suitable for racing, and therefore, offer little or no advantage to the city driver.” “The following word processor features are particularly suitable for novelists, and therefore, offer little or no advantage to the journalist.” This is ESPECIALLY absurd considered in the historical context of rifles, in which military innovations ALWAYS trickled down to hunting use after a period of time (repeating rifles, bolt-action rifles, and sniper optics being a few examples).

    That’s it for me through Page 9…. I may have more tomorrow when I have read the rest of it.

  20. Cargosquid Says:

    If Saiga shotguns are gone, that gun shop on Sons of Guns, Red Jacket will be hurting. Those seem to be major components of his creations.

  21. Kristopher Says:

    ATL: It seems incoherent because they need to find a really obscure way to say what they really mean:

    “Any feature that causes pants shitting hysterics amongst us victim-disarmament supporters is automatically unsporting, regardless of how many of those cousin humping redneck retards use said feature in competition or to hunt.”

    They can’t put that in simple print, hence the obfuscation and seeming incoherency.

  22. Some Guy Says:

    Last I heard, BATF was a Federal agency, subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. If they want to change their longstanding interpretation of their authorizing statutes and implementing regulations, they are required by 5 USC 553 to propose such changes to the public for comments by publishing notice in the Federal Register, and may not make such changes effective less than 30 days after publication of any final determination. In addition, since changes that ban importation of millions of dollars worth of arms implicate the Second Amendment and have serious economic impacts, BATF will be required to submit such changes in regulations to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in OMB for Executive 12866 review, wherein they will review BATF’s claimed regulatory benefits and the economic costs/constitutional concerns. Finally, BATF is also required by law under the Regulatory Flexibility Act to estimate the number of small businesses that will be affected by bans on product imports, the costs each small business will bear, and what regulatory alternatives BATF has considered that would achieve their regulatory goals while minimizing those economic impacts.

    In short, “publishing” a study on a website and saying you will accept comments does not satisfy BATF’s legal requirements. Then again, BATF has always seemed to think it was above the law, and even though both the APA and RFA allow any regulated entity with standing to sue, BATF generally acts like a bunch of thugs, threatening anyone with standing to sue with bankruptcy and 20 years of prison time.

  23. Tango Says:

    “Then again, BATF has always seemed to think it was above the law, and even though both the APA and RFA allow any regulated entity with standing to sue, BATF generally acts like a bunch of thugs, threatening anyone with standing to sue with bankruptcy and 20 years of prison time.”

    What makes you think they AREN’T above the law? Their laws aren’t even written down anywhere because they change them on a whim depending on what they ate for breakfast.

  24. Bubblehead Les Says:

    Damn It! Now the price of PVC is going to go up because we have to rebury all the guns we dug up from the last Ban! In the Ground, Out of the Ground, Back in the Ground. Better hope that no Conservative Supreme Court Justice dies or retires while Barry’s in Charge, or Heller and McDonald will be overturned so fast it’ll make your head spin!

  25. Sebastian Says:

    Last I heard, BATF was a Federal agency, subject to the Administrative Procedure Act

    APA only applies to federal regulations. Importation rules are done by policy, not by regulation.

  26. Sebastian Says:

    And all those requirements you list, Some Guy, is why ATF doesn’t do anything through regulation 🙂 Unfortunately, whether to regulate through rule or adjudication is up to the agency (See SEC v. Chenery Corp).