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Leaked ATF Proposed Regulatory Change Seeks to Redefine Firearm Frames and Receivers

April 22, 2021

A recently released document purportedly authored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) suggests the agency will soon seek to redefine the definition of a firearm’s frame and/or receiver under federal law. Specifically, ATF will seek to expand the application of the current definition, thereby subjecting items previously not regulated by ATF. What’s more, the proposed regulatory change also includes expanding the general definition of a firearm to “include 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.”

There can be no doubt this proposed change is intended to restrict the sale or transfer of items commonly known as “80% receivers” and their related components. California gun owners are already subject to strict serialization requirements for 80% receivers under AB 857. While the proposed change is likely to have marginal impacts on the criminal misuse of firearms—if any—it will most certainly result in unsuspecting but otherwise law-abiding gun owners and product manufacturers becoming entangled in the already overly complicated and numerous state and federal firearm laws.

CRPA attorneys are hard at work analyzing the proposed rule change in detail and will be providing more information to members as it becomes available. At this time, it is unclear when ATF plans to submit the proposed rule change for publication, at which point members of the public will have 90 days to comment. 

Be sure to subscribe to CRPA email alerts to be notified when ATF published the proposal and how you can help reign in this latest anti-gun effort by the Biden administration.

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