Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Don't they (the BATFE) have anything better to do?

I will soon be taking possession of a Kel-Tec PLR-16 "pistol." The idea behind purchasing something of such admittedly limited utility is that I've been bitten by the bug to have a firearm in the general class that offended Jim Zumbo so much, but being paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair, a full size rifle (or even a carbine) seemed a bit awkward and impractical.

There are, of course, several AR "pistol" variants out there, but with the big ol' buffer tube sticking out the back, they're little more compact than a carbine. The Kel-Tec doesn't have that--and it's considerably cheaper.

What does this have to do with our favorite band of merry stormtroopers? Well, I also ordered the forend piece, which includes an under-barrel picatinny rail. Not only does the attachment make the entire ensemble look much cooler, it would also make attaching a vertical foregrip (which I suspect would be especially useful for me, because of my limited lower trunk strength, and thus compromised balance and stability) a trivial exercise. Trivial, that is, from a mechanical standpoint. Legally, it's anything but, as the BATFE helpfully advises us.

ATF has long held that by installing a vertical fore grip on a handgun, the handgun is no longer designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. Therefore, if individuals install a vertical fore grip on a handgun, they are “making” a firearm requiring registration with ATF’s NFA Branch. Making an unregistered “AOW” is punishable by a fine and 10 years’ imprisonment. Additionally, possession of an unregistered “AOW” is also punishable by fine and 10 years’ imprisonment.
So, to keep America safer, a modification to a gun that makes it more easily used by a paraplegic carries with it a ten year prison sentence, unless it's done in conjunction with jumping through a ridiculous series of legal and bureaucratic hoops. Thank you, BATFE--that should certainly help to reduce violence.

If I decide to bother with all this, I have a choice of which particular hoops I subject myself to. Here's option number one:
To lawfully add a vertical fore grip to a handgun, a person must make an appropriate application on ATF Form 1, “Application to Make and Register a Firearm.” The applicant must submit the completed form, along with a fingerprint card bearing the applicant’s fingerprints; a photograph; and $200.00. The application will be reviewed by the NFA Branch. If the applicant is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law, and possession of an “AOW” is not prohibited in the applicant’s State of residence, the form will be approved. Only then may the person add a vertical fore grip to the designated handgun.
So, to install a foregrip ($12 from MidwayUSA, with my dealer discount that I get by virtue of having my C&R license on file with them), I have to pay the feds $200--not to mention sending them a photograph and fingerprints (what--no DNA sample?). Obviously, I'm not much interested in that option.

Onto option number two:
A person may also send the handgun to a person licensed to manufacture NFA weapons. The manufacturer will install the fore grip on the firearm and register the firearm on an ATF Form 2. The manufacturer can then transfer the firearm back to the individual on an ATF Form 4, which results in a $5.00 transfer tax. If the manufacturer is out of State, the NFA Branch will need a clarification letter submitted with the ATF Form 4 so that the NFA Branch Examiner will know the circumstances of the transfer. Questions can be directed to the NFA Branch or the Firearms Technology Branch.
OK, instead of a $200 tax, I pay a $5 one--I can live with that. But, I have to pay a licensed NFA firearms manufacturer to perform the "installation" (which even a mechanically challenged doofus like myself could do in seconds), plus shipping back and forth. I don't know if I can even find someone with the license who would agree to this kind of trivial deal--especially in Illinois (doing it out of state would necessitate even more paperwork). Finally, I would have to get the chief of my local police department to sign the ATF Form 4 application--something he is under no legal obligation to do (I have no idea whether he would be willing to do so, or not).

We keep hearing the Brady Bunch wail and complain that the BATFE is overwhelmed, understaffed, and underfunded. Maybe if they got out of the business of regulating the most insanely trivial aspects of firearm ownership, sale, and manufacture, they wouldn't be in such a position.


BobG said...

I think they should be putting the ATF do work doing something useful, like guarding our southern border.

me said...

Now...you could just temporarily slap a bipod on there instead...you just can't ever use it as a forward vert grip. I've got a copy of an ATFU letter stating that.

Anything in the ADA laws that might present some interesting legal challenge to this farce of a "law"?

DNA samples...now don't go giving them ideas.

Lets just do away with the ATFU, for their health, all that stress of killing kittens and shooting women can't be good for their family life and their children...do it for the children!

me said...

forgot to say let us know how that shoots. Saw them at a show last weekend and meant to ask one of the guys I heard say he had one.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

That's an interesting idea about the ADA, Hairy Hobbit--thanks. The thing is, I'm no Wayne Fincher--I don't really have the guts to subject myself to the "authorities'" tender mercies while the law sorts itself out.

Will do with the report of how the Kel-Tec shoots.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can put one of these folding grips on. Unfold it 10 times and get 100 years in federal prison!


DesertRat said...

Until you said Illinois I had someone in mind to do the "work" for you. They just opened a business making NFA firearms.

As a fellow Illinois captive, I fear getting the form 4 signed would be nigh impossible.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

Hey, DR, even with that NFA maker being out of state, I'd appreciate the name. I'm looking into the idea of trying to do it, even with the extra paperwork required for an over-state-lines transfer.

As for the Form 4, I think there's a chance. I live in a fairly small town in the southern part of the state.

Anonymous said...

They have better things to do, but stomping kittens and killing innocent folks is tiring so they take a break now and again relax by codifying the most stupid things they can think of.

It is truly a sad thing to realize that for every BATFE agent there are parents wondering what they did wrong, and secretly blaming the other for the defective genes that created these monsters.

Skullnbones said...

I am sure glad I came upon this post and thank you gentlemen for keeping me out of prison. I just won a GSG-5 at a local NRA Banquet and was looking into adding accesories. Just another fine example of our GOVMT tripping over itself to help us
Superman, if I were you I would try to get any mods done before Nov 4