The report from SHOT and a Response to the Voices of Discontent...
This is a cut and paste from an email I sent to Mike Meador. I hope you find it instructive. It would appear that Vandy does not wish to acknowledge certain mistakes on his part. He claims that I have no FFL. I have 3. He claims that I "run" SubGuns web forum. I do not.
He also claimed that I am writing FTB procedures for the ATF. I am not. And now he has skillfully edited his original posts to make his claims go away. Great. We know what we are dealing with. While Vandy may be good at whipping up a froth, he doesn't seem well-suited to deal with facts. We shall see what other things he got wrong. And gets wrong.
First things first... The allegation that John Brown (or Dan Shea) is a confidential informant. Just because Savage or Vandy or even a lawyer claims it to be so doesn't necessarily make it a fact. Being a CI is a tremendously complicated process and is not something that is undertaken casually. Have a look at the guide: http://www.justice.gov/ag/readingroom/ciguidelines.htm
So Bob Sanders states in a motion that he believes through his own discovery that John is a CI... That's just an opinion. And it is done to cloud the issues surrounding the pending issues against his client. It's a sound tactic, whether it is true or not. Unfortunately, it isn't true. And what's worse, Bob Sanders represented John and the NFATCA, so there may even be some doubt as to whether ethics and propriety were violated by such a disclosure, true or not. It's called conflict of interest. I wonder what will be flipped on who when Bob gets his next client?
As for ATF, it is now a holy charlie foxtrot. Sure, life would be easier if the ATF did not exist. Crappy legislation was given to a bunch of folks for interpretation and enforcement and then those folks have had to wing it on their own without leadership and with political agendas. It's not a good mix. But ATF isn't really going away any time soon so we chose to figure out how to push the ball forward instead of just banging the drum for their demise. It was a pragmatic and practical approach. We needed to get things done. And we met with initial rebuff, but eventually became an effective agency for change. It was an era of cooperation. At least with us.
Then we moved into the "contentious" era. More push back, more difficulty in even getting simple things done. ATF would come up with bizarre positions that we would have to go full on to combat. No public safety issues were cited, nothing. We won most and lost a few... but we had to fight.
Now we are in the combative era. Still, no leadership and the current talking heads are taking a very hard line. Arthur Herbert has been repeating the mantra "we're just trying to get it right." When asked if it means that they got it wrong before, he clams up. Folks have variance letters in hand authorizing them to do things in a certain way... and are now told that the interpretations are no longer correct and that they never should have been issued... but that there will be no outreach program to notify of the change other than a few discussions at SHOT. Some of the things that Vandy got wrong...
His ears at the NFATCA reception were obviously clogged. ATF is now taking the position that it is illegal to sub-contract MG receivers in the absence of the by or to provisions of a government contract/directive. If a Primary 07/SOT wants to stockpile MG's, they still can. Provided they do it themselves in the absence of a contract. If they do have a contract, the contract must acknowledge that subs will be used in the process. It's a change from what has been allowed in the past. It's the strictest interpretation of 922(o) that there can be. So if you want to sub out MG receivers, make sure you get a letter in hand from the local PD that acknowledges the subs and you are good.
100% compliance inspection. I love how this one got bent. "anything less than 100% during compliance inspection must result in some form of administrative action"? Who said that? What John did say is that ATF now has a concerted effort to make sure that every FFL gets inspected at least once every 36 months (my note: that is every 12 months if you are in a border state) and that those compliance inspections will be 100%. As in *everything* will be checked. Every gun, every 4473, etc. It was never stated that anything less than a perfect score would result in an administrative action. For all of the "favored status" that John is alleged to get, *HE* just endured one of these inspections. Every single gun and form was checked. ATF even made some patently false claims regarding the status of some of his inventory and John had to jump through hoops to get things right.
The barrel cut thing is where Herbert was pretty much spouting lies or stonewalling the crowd at SHOT. ATF usually requires 3 cuts of imported barrels to meet the restrictions of the "barrel ban." Forget the ludicrous premise of the ban itself right now. Historically, ATF has granted variances to this process on an individual basis for those seeking to create dummy and prop guns and keep them cosmetically correct yet not functional. Arthur claims, without admitting that they were wrong in granting these variances, that ATF hasn't deviated from the 3 torch cut thing and that anything less would be illegal. Arthur was presented with the existence of such variance approvals and would not then admit that ATF gave folks permission to "break the law." Asked what public safety issue was driving this... no answer. Status of items created with ATF approval under the new interpretation... "it's not new" was all he would say.
We had a round table discussion of the AP ammo situation and Chad Yoder actually stated that ATF has no desire to receive input from the industry on the issue.
It was a week of this kind of thing. Clearly, ATF has distanced themselves from the very industry that they are supposed to be regulating and assisting. They do not even want to offer reasonable assistance in demonstrating how to comply with regulations, whether the interpretations are long-standing or brand new. They are told that they cannot even accept a cup of coffee from someone because of the arms length posture being maintained. So yes, it sucks right now.
I want to dial back to the 922(o) thing for a moment. That is the part that created the whole transferable versus restricted thing. There are a lot of folks who parrot the concept that there are a bunch of us that do not want 922(o) to go away; that we want to "protect our investments" at the expense of others. What a load of crap. I know that every single member of our boards would love to see it vanish. You know why? Because it wouldn't affect our "investments" and would put more MGs in more eligible people's hands and increase our membership! A truly collectible MG is always going to be that and it is always going to be pricey. A brand new 1917 is gonna never bring as much as a real one. A real 1928 Tommy is always gonna cost a boat load of money and my "investment" isn't going to vanish just because somebody is making reproductions. That said, the reproduction business is likely gonna take off if 922(o) does vanish. Unfortunately, I don't see it going away any time soon. It would require new legislation from a Congress that likely isn't even aware that civilians can really own MG's!
We are focused on making tiny little victory steps. CLEO is going away and will soon be a reality. We didn't get rid of the entire Form 4 process, but we did get rid of a huge headache portion. We sent the explosive ammunition cluster on a slow boat to no where and it has now been withdrawn. Not glamorous, but what we do isn't ever glamorous.
Hope this helps. ~Jeff Folloder