BREAKING: ATF Writes Open Letter to all FFLs with FRT Warning

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or BATFE or just ATF, just issued an “open letter” (.pdf) notifying Federal Firearms Licensees stating that their offices have concluded that some forced-reset triggers, or FRTs, are machineguns.

However, the ATF office did not indicate which triggers qualify as machine guns, just that some do. And while the letter is meant for FFLs, it may affect owners of FRTs as well.

Here is the letter:

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently examined devices commonly known as ‘forced reset triggers’ (FRTs) and has determined that some of them are ‘firearms’ and ‘machineguns’ as defined in the National Firearms Act (NFA) and ‘machineguns’ as defined in the Gun Control Act (GCA).

“These particular FRTs are being marketed as replacement triggers for AR-type firearms. Unlike traditional triggers and binary triggers (sometimes referred to generally as ‘FRTs’) the subject FRTs do not require shooters to pull and then subsequently release the trigger to fire a second shot. Instead, these FRTs utilize the firing cycle to eliminate the need for the shooter to release the trigger before a second shot is fired. By contrast, some after-market triggers have similar components but also incorporate a disconnector or similar feature to ensure that the trigger must be released before a second shot may be fired and may not be machineguns.

“Both the NFA and GCA regulate machineguns. “Machinegun” is defined under 26 U.S.C.”

“§ 5845(b) and 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(23) as — Any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

“ATF’s examination found that some FRT devices allow a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger. For this reason, ATF has concluded that FRTs that function in this way are a combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and hence, ATF has classified these devices as a “machinegun” as defined by the NFA and GCA.

“Accordingly, ATF’s position is that any FRT that allows a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger is a ‘machinegun’ and is accordingly subject to the GCA prohibitions regarding the possession, transfer, and transport of machineguns under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(o) and 922(a)(4). They are also subject to registration, transfer, taxation and possession restrictions under the NFA. See 26 U.S.C. §§ 5841, 5861; 27 CFR 479.101.

“Under 26 U.S.C. § 5871, any person who violates or fails to comply with the provisions of the NFA may be fined up to $10,000 per violation and is subject to imprisonment for a term of up to ten years. Further, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 5872, any machinegun possessed or transferred in violation of the NFA is subject to seizure and forfeiture. Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2), any person who violates § 922(o) may be sent to prison for up to 10 years and fined up to $250,000 per person or $500,000 per organization.

“Based on ATF’s determination that the FRTs that function as described above are “machineguns” under the NFA and GCA, ATF intends to take appropriate remedial action with respect to sellers and possessors of these devices. Current possessors of these devices are encouraged to contact ATF for further guidance on how they may divest possession. If you are uncertain whether the device you possess is a machinegun as defined by the GCA and NFA, please contact your local ATF Field Office. You may consult the local ATF Office’s webpage for office contact information.”

See Also: Rare Breed Sues ATF in Defense of FRT-15 Trigger System: It’s Not a ‘Machinegun’

Again, while FFLs are the subject of this letter, owners of forced-reset triggers may also want to seek out legal assistance, just as if they possess a homemade suppressor.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • civil war March 29, 2022, 2:45 am

    The so called US government is no longer recognized as any kind of authority or governing body over the people. All laws,rules,mandates and taxes are now null and void. Due to never ending mistakes of the same old politicians that have done nothing but screw things up we the people are now in control of the country and will flat out ignore the former government.

  • Shanz March 26, 2022, 11:56 am

    Because FRTs are such a big problem in our country today??? Fuck you dog killers.

  • LetsgoBrandon March 25, 2022, 1:06 pm

    The ATF has been pushing for years to register ALL guns and gun owners for the sole purpose of confiscation. Now with this latest FRT bull, the comment “Current possessors of these devices are encouraged to contact ATF for further guidance on how they may divest possession.” is just another way to see who has a NON-assault rifle for future confiscation. We are living under a Leninist-Stalinist government and like every Leninist-Stalinist government that preceded this one, they first registered all the guns “for public safety” before confiscating them. The FRT directive is just another tool to registration and future confiscation. America, it may be too late but GET BACK TO GOD AND MAKE AMERICA ONE NATION UNDER GOD AGAIN OR SUFFER THE SAME FATE OF ISRAEL THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE.

  • TexDad March 25, 2022, 10:51 am

    If you are unsure if something is a machine gun, I’d recommend against asking ATF, unless you want a wildly random answer or non-answer that defies logic and will change to whatever else they think they can get away with on any given day.

  • James Richards March 25, 2022, 9:40 am

    The ATF is an Unconstitutional Organization! They can Go F Themselves ‘

  • Alej March 25, 2022, 9:12 am

    When Prohibition ended in 1933, the Alcohol & Tobacco thugs ( who used to shoot moonshiners) were out of a job, until some government POS came up with an idea to keep those maggots on the payroll… the National Firearms Act of 1934 conveniently came into being and the rest is well known to us. “A & T” became “ATF,” and hundreds of innocent Americans have been jailed because of the erratic lowlife frenzy of the members of that bureau.

  • Richard March 25, 2022, 8:03 am

    Screw the ATF!!!!

  • Douglas Ott March 25, 2022, 7:30 am

    More creating Law from thin air. It is long past time to disband BATFE and bar all employees from further .gov service.

  • Roger J March 25, 2022, 6:41 am

    “However, the ATF office did not indicate which triggers qualify as machine guns, just that some do.”
    Well that sure clarify the issue.

    • Dr Motown March 25, 2022, 8:02 am

      Intentional vagueness makes it easier to expand gubbmint power and prosecute the innocent 😡

  • Namer March 25, 2022, 6:27 am

    Odd this happened when Brandon became president. Rare Breed sent their FRT design materials to the ATF to insure that the devise they wanted to make would not violate any federal laws. The design was approved by the ATF as not being a device that would turn your weapon into a machine gun but shortly after Brandon took power the FRT was suddenly in violation of federal law.

  • Nunya Business March 25, 2022, 5:08 am

    “A law repugnant to the Constitution is void. An act of Congress repugnant to the Constitution cannot become a law. The Constitution supersedes all other laws and the individual’s rights shall be liberally enforced in favor of him, the clearly intended and expressly designated beneficiary.”
    –Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803)
    ETA- these apply to pretty much every one of the 23,000 unconstitutional gun laws on the books in this country.

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