The ATF’s new definition of “firearm” is so vague and broad that even toy Nerf guns may count as firearms under the new rule. At least, that’s what one 3D printer and Twitter user argued in a recent post that has made its way around the pro-gun Internet universe.
User 00MEAT posted a series of images last month that appear to show a Nerf gun retrofitted with 3D printed parts to (theoretically) fire a .22LR cartridge. The “barrel” appears to be screwed into the plastic toy while one of the darts has been fitted with a point to act as a firing pin.
“There we go. Every nerf gun is now an 80% or greater receiver. If you have a kid with a nerf gun, please let the ATF know you don’t want your kid charged with purchasing a firearm while under 21,” 00MEAT writes.
“Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the biggest FFL of them all? That’s right, it’s Walmart. With aisles full of nerf guns that are ‘readily convertible to a firing state.’ What does that proposed new rule say that FFLs have to do with such devices again? Serialize and record them?” 00MEAT continues.
There we go. Every nerf gun is now an 80% or greater receiver. If you have a kid with a nerf gun, please let the ATF know you don’t want your kid charged with purchasing a firearm while under 21. pic.twitter.com/giHRwDLDK0— 00MEAT (@00meat) May 23, 2021
A post on May 23 indicates that the creator hasn’t actually test-fired his “firearm,” but his post nonetheless demonstrates the absurdity of the ATF’s new rule.
Under the rule, which has currently received over 12,000 comments, the agency would define “firearm” as “a weapon parts kit that is designed to or may readily be assembled, completed, converted, or restored to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.”
By “readily be assembled… etc.,” the ATF means “a process that is fairly or reasonably efficient, quick, and easy, but not necessarily the most efficient, speedy, or easy process.”
It’s unclear how easily 00MEAT constructed his .22LR pistol, but this is precisely the point made by critics of the proposed rule: it’s impossible for anyone to know at what point a hunk of metal or a children’s toy crosses the invisible line between consumer product and heavily regulated firearm.
“I believe that the ATF’s proposed changes will be entirely too vague and difficult for us to even begin to understand legality [sic],” said one concerned citizen who posted a public comment on the proposed rule. “The proposed definitions of a frame or components leading to the manufacture of a firearm are overreaching alongside the definition of ‘readily’ in order to confuse the American public. Legality is an entirely gray area under these distinctions with the only agreed upon outcome being a loss of constitutional rights.”
Another pointed out how the new rule could turn law-abiding Americans into felons.
“This rule change is capricious and arbitrary. It turns existing law on its head and would result in thousands of honest and law biding [sic] gun owners being potentially charged with serious felonies. It is so ill conceived that one can only imagine that the unstated objective of the rule change is exactly this,” they said.
Concerned citizens have until August 19 to submit comments. They can do so here.