ATF 80 Lower Laws: 80% Arms Company Statement thumbnail image

ATF 80 Lower Laws: 80% Arms Company Statement

80 Percent Arms   |   Jun 21st 2021

To our valued customers:

The Biden Administration has launched a multi-faceted attack against the American citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. While the practice of making your own firearm is a time-honored American tradition dating back to the founding of this nation, the Biden Administration has chosen to ignore this fact.

During President Biden’s April 8, 2021, remarks to the nation, the President proclaimed that, “no amendment to the Constitution is absolute,” just moments before he began announcing his plan to crack down on the rights of law-abiding Americans to purchase 80% receivers. President Biden then announced his nomination of gun-control activist David Chipman as Director of the ATF, whose nomination hearing was held on May 26, 2021 before the full Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Chipman made it clear during his hearing that he wanted to ban modern sporting rifles, or control them under the National Firearms Act of 1934 through its onerous government registration and transfer process.

On May 21, 2021, the ATF published a much-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) which, among other things, seeks to redefine the terms “firearm”, “frame or receiver”, and “partially completed.” Because this NPRM is clearly intended to disrupt the 80% receiver market, we would like to take this opportunity to offer you our view, so far, on some of the things you may have heard about this proposed rule.

MYTH: “The NPRM criminalizes the ownership of Privately Made Firearms by private citizens.”

FACT: The NPRM expressly states that “consistent with the intent of the GCA, nothing in this rule would restrict persons not otherwise prohibited(1) from possessing firearms from making their own firearms at home without markings solely for personal use (not for sale or distribution) in accordance with Federal, State, and local law. Persons should consult the laws and officials in their own States and localities to determine the lawfulness of PMFs.”(2)

MYTH: “The NPRM empowers the Federal Government to confiscate Privately Made Firearms.”

FACT: The NPRM is silent on this point. Absent any express language stating otherwise, the Federal Government will have no greater power to seize or confiscate Privately Made Firearms under this regulation than it does today.

MYTH: “Private citizens will be required to serialize their Privately Made Firearms.”

FACT: While the NPRM expressly states that “[t]his rule does not require individuals to mark their personal firearms,”(3) this quote does not paint the full picture of the NPRM’s impact on private citizens.

The NPRM states that “This amendment would make clear that businesses that routinely repair or customize existing firearms, make or fit special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms, or mark firearms as a service performed on firearms not for sale or distribution by a licensee, may be licensed as dealer-gunsmiths rather than as manufacturers. Under this rule, PMFs would first need to be recorded by the dealer-gunsmith as an acquisition in the licensee’s A&D Records upon receipt from the private owner (whether or not the licensee keeps the PMF overnight), and once marked, the licensee would update the acquisition entry with the identifying information, and then record its return as a disposition to the private owner. This would ensure that the PMF, if ever found by police at a crime scene, can be traced. However, no ATF Form 4473 or NICS background check would be required upon return of the marked firearm to the person from whom it was received, pursuant to 27 CFR 478.124(a).”(4)

The NPRM also states that “Under the proposed rule, FFLs would be required to mark PMFs within 7 days of the firearm being received by a licensee, or before disposition, whichever first occurs. Licensees would have 60 days to mark PMFs already in inventory after a final rule becomes effective. FFLs would have the option to mark their existing PMFs themselves. Both FFLs and non-FFLs would have the option to contract with an FFL, such as a gunsmith, for this purpose, dispose of them, or send them to ATF or another law enforcement agency for disposal.”(5)

In our opinion, any time a federal firearms licensee “acquires” a PMF into their federal record keeping, even for repair or to secure a pawn loan, an unmarked PMF firearm would have to be marked.

MYTH: “The NPRM has some technical changes to the definition of what is a ‘frame or receiver’ of a firearm, and the evolution of manufacturing technology dictates that these changes are long overdue”

FACT: The NPRM proposes a litany of technical changes, most of which will not affect our customers on a day-to-day basis. However, these technical changes will significantly impact our ability to do business should they go into effect. The Gun Control Act of 1968 was carefully crafted to delegate an adequate level of authority and power to the ATF. Since the enactment of this statute, the ATF has set a precedent of determining what constitutes a “frame or receiver” of a firearm on a case by case basis through private determination letters. Nearly every member of our industry has extensively relied upon this precedent when deciding how to manufacture and sell our products.

This NPRM expands the ATF’s power to determine what constitutes the frame or receiver of a firearm by allowing the bureau to go back to the stage of a casting or extrusion. While it remains unclear whether or not currently approved partial frame or receivers will continue to be allowed to be sold as lawful non-guns after the adoption of this rule. The NPRM does suggest that prior determinations will be honored. However, we are actively seeking clarification through our attorneys, Members of Congress and others to confirm this policy position from the Department of Justice.

We encourage you to take four specific actions to help us defend against the Biden Administration’s assault on the Second Amendment, including attempting to limit your ability to make your own firearm. First, we recommend that you read the full text(6) of the NPRM so that you can better understand the breadth of this regulation and, more specifically, how it will affect your individual liberties. Second, we ask that you submit a formal comment opposing this NPRM.

You can submit a formal comment opposing the NPRM to the federal register by visiting: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/21/2021-10058/definition-of-frame-or-receiver-and-identification-of-firearms#open-comment.(7)Third, we urge you to call your Senator’s office(8) and ask that he or she vote against the confirmation of gun-control activist David Chipman for Director of the ATF. While you’ve got your phone handy, consider calling your Congressman and asking that he or she oppose the NPRM and David Chipman’s nomination as well. Finally, we invite you to amplify and share this message with your friends, family, and loved ones.

We thank you for helping defend our Second Amendment rights and the businesses that help support these rights. 




(1) A person prohibited form possessing firearms, commonly known as a Prohibited Possessor.

(2) Definition of "Frame or Receiver" and Identification of Firearms, 86 Fed. REg. 97, 27732 (May 21, 2021) (to be codified at 27 C.F.R. pt. 447,478, 479).
(3) Id. at  27738.
(4) Id. at 27731.
(5) Id. at 27737.
(6) https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/21/2021-10058/definition-of-frame-or-recevier-and-identification-of-firearms .
(7) For more information on how to submit a formal comment, please visit https://www.federalregister.gov/reader-aids/recent-updates/2014/07/new-submit-a-formal-comment-feature .
(8) To find contact information for your Senator's office, please visit https://www.senate.gov/senators/