Republican Senators Go After ATF for “Secret Internal Guidance” on Solvent Traps, Triggers

Utah Sen. Mike Lee is leading the effort to hold the ATF accountable. (Photo: Public Domain)

A group of 20 Republican U.S. senators sent a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) demanding information on the “secret internal guidance documents” the agency has been using to go after solvent trap kits and forced reset triggers.

“It has recently come to our attention that ATF has formulated secret internal guidance documents ‘to assist ATF personnel tasked with differentiating so-called ‘solvent-traps’ from firearm silencers’ and to assist ‘with identifying certain machinegun conversion devices commonly referred to as’ FRTs,” the senators write.

The group of lawmakers demand that the ATF hand over any internal documents related to these two issues along with explanations for how these documents are used by law enforcement and why these documents have not been made available to the public.

SEE ALSO: ATF Chief Laments: ‘Innovations in firearms have gone wild’

Solvent trap kits were in the news last week when Form 1 applicants began receiving threatening notices from the ATF asking for images of the “parts you will use to make the silencer.” The ATF had never before asked for such images, and the American Suppressor Association slammed the agency for “unilaterally deciding that the National Firearms Act (NFA) applies to these kits.”

Now, it looks like these senators have obtained documents demonstrating that the ATF has its own set of rules for determining whether these kits, along with forced reset triggers, count as highly regulated NFA items. Running afoul of these federal laws can land gun owners in federal prison for up to 10 years.

“Our government, including the ATF, has a duty to inform Americans what they must do to comply with federal law, especially when the conduct involves the exercise of an enumerated constitutional right and violations could result in a penalty of up to ten years in prison,” the senators write. “The use of ‘secret’ law is anathema to our system of government.”

SEE ALSO: Republican Congressman Introduces Bill to Block ATF’s Backdoor Gun Registry 

Federal courts have ruled on numerous occasions that citizens must be able to see and read all laws under which they live, and the courts must have an opportunity to rule on their constitutionality. Laws that are “put in a desk drawer, taken out only for use at a criminal trial, and immune from any evaluation by the judiciary, is the sort of tactic usually associated with totalitarian régimes,” wrote the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

“With this attempted secret regulation, the ATF shows an abject disregard for the fundamental principles of due process and accountable governance. Federal agencies cannot enforce the law in this manner,” the senators write.

The ATF has until March 25 to respond to the senators’ demands.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Phred March 18, 2022, 12:50 pm

    They continue their relentless assault on ALL of our freedoms….not just firearms. With the aid of big tech they know virtually all gun owners thru web searches, ammo purchases and social media posts. They also know most people’s politics. They are coming thru not just ATF. In my opinion, the Department of “Justice” is to be feared most with the IRS not far behind.

  • JohnE March 18, 2022, 11:41 am

    There are no guarantees that just because someone wins an election, that that person will be able to occupy the office he or she ran for.
    If the other party doesn’t like the results of the election, then ‘they’ change it to suit their intended outcome.
    You can’t go through the ‘dual justice system’ and expect it to be corrected. Nor can you get the states that found voter fraud to nullify the election, as we are witnessing. The foot dragging that’s taking place is designed to drag out as long as necessary, even into the next election cycle.
    Our battle cry is an out worn cry of, “Just Wait Until Next Election/Next Time.

    Meanwhile, the disenfranchised voters and the public throw up their hands in and opt out because they have lost faith in the ‘whole system’. Not only with election system, judicial system but with all branches of government.
    Next is to us NCB(Nuclear Chemical and Biological)against the people. Chemicals in our food chain, Biological (CV19 +). Nuclear if all else fails by starting a war.

    Meanwhile, all the guns and the bullets we have at our disposal become a mute subject.

    Subjugated by not even firing a shot.

  • Fal Phil March 18, 2022, 8:50 am

    “Secret internal guidance documents” related to any type of law enforcement should be a felony act punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison with no parole and a $100,000 fine for any government employee that authors it, and immediate dismissal of the department head and agency head of that organization.

  • Old Vet March 18, 2022, 8:26 am

    Should Trump get back into office, we need to push him to get rid of a bunch of worthless agencies and trim down all of the rest by at least 30%. The bloat/redundancy of the Feral Govberment is a huge burden on the citizens. If the ATF boys need the job, then put them on the border doing real work with the Border Patrol.

    • Alaskapopo March 18, 2022, 12:09 pm

      Trump started this mess with his bump stock ban.

      • TUC March 19, 2022, 2:43 pm

        So maybe you would want Hillary next election cycle?

  • Bubba March 18, 2022, 6:39 am

    It’s good to see someone on capital hill is awake and aware of the wrongdoing of government agencies. Now if we could only get rid of Brandon & Co, life would be good again!

  • Laddyboy March 18, 2022, 5:12 am

    Considering; the BUREAUCRACY of the AFT was NOT FORMED by Congress! The AFT BUREAUCRACY was formed by a “director” in the ‘irs’. This, alone, makes the entire AFT BUREAUCRATICAL CABAL, and all of its “directives, rules, programs and prosecutions” of the ‘atf’ ILLEGAL.

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