The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Firearms Technology Branch has deemed “Chore Boy copper cleaning pads, along with fiberglass insulation,” a firearm, subject to registration and a $200 transfer tax, an official letter obtained recently by Gun Rights Examiner reveals. The response to an attorney inquiry by John R. Spencer, Chief, Firearms Technology Branch, offers one of the more creatively restrictive assessments since ATF declared a shoestring to be a machinegun.
In case you doubt, read the link; yes, they actually did do that.
Update: Cramer has some more information, including this:
It turns out that if you have a registered silencer, and you (not the licensed manufacturer of the silencer) replace the worn out parts inside with a Chore Boy pot scrubber (which is essentially the same material as the silencer comes with from the manufacturer), you are in violation of the law. Worse: if you keep Chore Boy pot scrubbers and you own a silencer, you have in your possession unlawful silencer materials, and are in violation of the law.
Speaking of idiocy, I'm going to ste- borrow a post from Sipsey on one of the earlier follies on the subject of 'suppressors'; it's a long one:
To all retail customers:
On January 2010 American Tactical Imports Inc received official notification from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives that the original barrel shroud (aka: fake suppressor) supplied with your GSG 5 SD model must be replaced. It has been determined that this shroud is regulated under the National Firearms Act. American Tactical will provide a replacement shroud at no charge for each GSG 5 SD model sold or currently in inventory.
Consumers in possession of a GSG 5 SD model with the original shroud in place on the firearm are now in violation of the NFA. To avoid continued violation of the NFA, ATI asks that all persons in possession obtain a replacement shroud as soon as possible. We anticipate arrival of the new shrouds to begin by the middle of February 2010.
IMPORTANT: THE ORIGINAL SD MODEL SHROUD MUST BE RETURNED ACOMPANIED BY THE FIREARM SERIAL NUMBER BEFORE A REPLACEMENT SHROUD IS ISSUED. THE DIAMETER OF THE SD SHROUD IS 1-9/16”. DO NOT RETURN THE SMALLER CARBINE SHROUD.
WHAT TO DO:
If possible return your old shroud to the dealer where purchased and show him this notice. The shroud will be returned to ATI along with a list of serial numbers from the guns that the shrouds were removed. ATI will send replacements to the dealer for pick up at your convenience; ATI will be sending replacements as fast as logistics allow. If your dealer is out of business or difficult to reach, or you purchased your gun used, from a consumer, return the shroud directly by US mail or UPS to American Tactical Imports Inc. 100 Airpark Drive Rochester, NY 14624.
PLEASE TRY NOT TO CALL US. We will provide comprehensive information on our web site www.americantactical.us , and www.ar15.com or by e-mail to email@example.com
REMEMBER, INCLUDE THE FIREARM SERIAL NUMBER WITH EACH SHROUD OR A REPLACEMENT WILL NOT BE ISSUED.
This action IS NOT being instituted through any fault and is strictly due to NFA compliance. American Tactical will assume the responsibility to satisfy the requirements in an effort to minimize the impact on our customers and protect your investment.
We at American Tactical Imports Inc. sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this unfortunate situation.
President C.E.O. retailcandoc.021210
This is what I found most interesting from the Q&A below:
We at ATI only have an official ruling on the can its self as being now classified as a real silencer. ATF has not issued any official documents regarding this publicly or to ATI, other than having their lawyers approve the statement that starts this thread for consumers. (Emphasis supplied, MBV) I wish I had a 'here's the official word!' doc from ATF to give you, but it appears at this time I will not be getting one, or be allowed to show you what I already have.
So, the Chief Counsel's Office is up to their old CYA secretive tricks again.
Here is the Q&A following the statement on the same ARF-com thread:
How much more is the replacement going to weigh? Is the finish any better on the new one. Mine chips the paint if you look at it wrong. Will it look the same when installed on the rifle?
The original SD fake suppressor weight .45 LBS (7.2 ounces). The new fake suppressor weight .5 LBS (8 ounces) so there's not really too much difference in the overall weight. Looking at the new one next to the old one, the finish looks the same. The modification is completely internal, there is no change in the guns appearence with the new fake suppressor.
OK, since this applies ONLY to the GSG5/SD does this mean that the standard GSG5-carbine is in the clear???? Or is the fate of the GSG5-carbine "yet to be determined"??????????
As it stands right now it is only the SD can that is being effected by the mind changing at ATF.
Another damn delay on getting an SD conversion kit!
Tell me about it
And I am to be responsible to ship it back? I would like you to pick it up
At this time, we would like you to return it to the dealer where you bought it from. That way we can get them in bulk from the dealer and ship replacements to one location. How it gets to your dealer is up to you.
interesting, brings up a couple of questions, wasnt it passed before importation? and what reason do they give?
Yes it was. I even have a letter I'm not allowed to share where they revoked our permits for being approved in error. The brunt of this entire situation is on ATI here, please don't look for an official letter to be issued to the public by the ATF because I get the feeling they will not.
just curious, what will the replacement shroud look like? will it be the smaller version, or something completely different?
Nope, dead ringers. In fact, the modification can be done at the factory on the original version, which is why we're not destroying them. Cost saving.
Is there an issue with the carbine models?
Not yet. Doesn't mean that they won't change their ruling on that either at this time though.
isnt the carbine and the SD the same thing besides "girth"? i cant see why they would have changed the design without letting ATI know about it.....even thought they already changed the finish
This is the real kick in the groin here is that there has never been an alternate 'version' of the fake suppressor. The carbine version was a hollow shroud when it went in for testing, all the guns have hollow cans. Same for the SD. I think what's bothering me the most is that field agents have told dealers (I have several different accounts of this) that the can was originally solid and that it was altered at some point in time. Sorry fellas but EVERY SINGLE GSG-5 AND GSG-5SD HAS A HOLLOW CAN. It's the only way they were ever made. Also to pre-empt some questions too, THERE ARE NO APPROVED CANS ON ANY SD THAT IS IN THE COUNTRY. All the new GSG-522 guns, when they come out will have the new style can.
Does the fake can actually reduce the dB ?
Mikey threaded one onto the 5P and shot a bunch of rounds. Nope, there is no noticable change in dB. I don't think ATF even tested it before revoking our licenses.
I know that "we must comply or else" but seriously, what is the reason behind this? Is it based on potential? Should we stop selling 2 liter colas and baby bottle nipples?
When we met with the ATF about this in january one of their field agents showed us how to make a suppressor out of a bottle of water that was on the table. Granted, we have seen fake cans come in on gun repairs that have definitely been altered and maybe they seized a gun with an altered one, i really don't know. They contacted us about it way back in November and it's all been slowly building up, but other than letting us know that we imported over 13 thousand guns that they have now decided are NFA firearms, telling us to formulate a plan for a recall/swap out and sending agents here to monitor our movements on this, they're not really telling us a whole lot.
Isn't the end of the barrel even with the muzzle end of the "can"?
Yes, doesn't matter apparently.
What reason did they give for the can falling under NFA?
Actually, I do have this, kind of, although the wording of the law and their reasons only kind of match up if you squint and tilt your head to the side a bit. Here is what the referenced in their letter regarding the re-testing of the shroud;
"As you are aware, the GCA, 18 USC $ 921 (a) (24), defines 'firearm silencer' as follows:
"....any device for silencing, muffling or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication."
General characteristics of known firearm silencers include:
1 Ported inner tube (bleed holes)
2 Expansion chambers
3 Baffles or washers which create seperate expansion chambers
4 sound dampening material such as foam, steel wool and other materials
5 End Caps
The previously submitted GSG-5SD barrel shroud incorporates a large expansion chamber and integral end caps and, therefore, was classified as a firearm silencer."
That's what they said.
so to me at least, the jury is still out on the issue of whether or not the standard carbine is effected by this as ATI has yet to state that it absolutely is not.
This is accurate. Right now we have to wait to see what ATF tells us to do.
what a bunch of shi+. Doesn't the ATF have anything better to do than come after firearms owners who own guns that THE ATF APPROVED IN THE FIRST PLACE??
Right on brother.
and HOW long am i gonna be without a can? well, i guess we have to ask when the replacement will be available first.....
Well, that is hard to say. My first shipment of replacment cans is going into US Customs tomorrow. Got about 1500. The manufacturer over seas can pump out a few thousand a month and of course they all have to be paid for. As previously mentioned, unfortunately, all the fine details are not 100% solidified on how we're doing all of this and what the ATF tells us we can and cannot do. Case in point, the ATF is issuing an amnesty period for consumers but hasn't decided what that is yet, but we had to go live with the news because of what their field agents are telling store owners. Decisions are coming from the higher up ATF brass but on site execution is being handled by field agents from Buffalo on the local level. Needless to say, lets hope one hand knows what the other is doing.
OK, so this doesn't make a lot of sense. If we remove the NFA regulated device and ship it, aren't we in further violation? If this device has suddenly become an NFA regulated item, isn't it more adviseable to destroy the device vs. shipping it? If I ship an "illegal" device via the USPS, haven't I just committed a whole entire series of additional felonies? Where is the actual ATF ruling?Do we have any kind of drop-dead date for compliance? I can't just take a silencer and ship it anywhere I'd like, if this device is now considered by legal definition a silencer––what your asking us to do is illegal. We need a whole lot more information on this issue.
I should think you would ask customers to remove and destroy the device, then supply a new one vs. returning and trying to ship an illegal device
I think your first sentence says it all my friend. ATF says that we are to export all fake silencers back to Germany. Each one we receive will have to be connected to the firearms serial number and manually accounted for by the ATF. We lucked out that the interior sleeve can be added to the old design so once we start shipping quantities back to Germany they can be retro-fitted to the new design so hopefully we'll have some good turn around on getting larger quantities of cans. Receiving back the cans at our facility for inventory and packing is the ATFs call, so I can't imagine they would hold you for shipping the can when it's what they have instructed.
Where is the actual ATF ruling?
We at ATI only have an official ruling on the can its self as being now classified as a real silencer. ATF has not issued any official documents regarding this publicly or to ATI, other than having their lawyers approve the statement that starts this thread for consumers. I wish I had a 'here's the official word!' doc from ATF to give you, but it appears at this time I will not be getting one, or be allowed to show you what I already have.
^^HOLY SHIT. u r right.
now, we are screwed sideways!!!
I will wait till I get a certified letter from the ATF that can accompany the "NFA Item" back to ATI.
Be prepared to not receive that letter, although I understand why you would want it. I want it too. The fact of the matter is that from April 2009 thru November 2009 we had a total of 5 approved permits to import the GSG-5SD, Cans individually for repair and the SD Conversion kit and those are now all revoked because of the changed decision. Rulings change and we as the importer, distributors, dealers and you as the consumer have to comply to their revision no matter if 'someone' is willing to admit fault or not. Once we physically mail letters to the dealers who have received GSG-5SDs from our distributors then it will be on the consumer to get the original can back, which really sucks a lot. But, if you keep your original fake can and in like, idk, two years get busted by an ATF guy for still having it, you'll be in some trouble.
The ATF should issue expedited approved form 1's
A nice wish, but don't count on it.
If the shop the weapon was purchased from is also a dealer that can legally sell silencers and other NFA items that would be a step in the right direction. In Iowa, I am not allowed to own a silencer unless I'm an approved LE or Mil user with the appropriate paperwork from the agency I work for. This still doesn't get around the fact that I don't have the appropriate ATF paperwork and am now magically in possession of a device that is banned in my state and there are maybe 1 or 2 FFLs in the whole state that deal with NFA devices.
This is where things are really hairy right now, especially because the ATF has told us they will offer an amnesty period but they have not said how long it will be. With everything having to be pushed up on getting this info out (thanks field agents) ATI is still dealing with setting up the distributors on this. Then we need to work with the dealers. Then we'll really be ready to deal with consumers. Unfortunately, it's not a perfect world. We're just trying to figure out which instructions given on which day from which division of ATF are the ones we need to follow with nothing but a silencer ruling on paper.
I still have yet to see the actual ATF ruling or when this is to be completed.
I recommend that you contact NFA branch of ATF at (304) 616-4500 and ask them for this. I have no response from the ATF that they are going to issue this at all to us or the general populace. They did make us remove quite a bit of dialogue regarding the ATF from our letter before their lawyers would let us make a statement.
exact reason the ATF disliked the fat SD can is known
One big hollow expansion chamber, end caps. That's it. I get irked by the wording in the ruling I put up in this thread a few lines up. It says expansion chambers-plural, we have expansion chamber-singular. Doesn't matter, they changed their minds, revoked my import licenses on original models and here we are.
Just curious, if this is such a big deal and all why no mention of this on the ATI webpage? Why is it that the only way you can find out about what is potentially a big problem is to stumble upon the notification here and here only? If you do a web search with the words GSG-5 SD and ATF you get nothing at all about this. I am curious as to how something like this is ever going to get out to the owners of these? Looks like we will have several folks in violation of the ATF's ruling and have no idea that they are.
Unfortunately, Brent who updates the website is out sick, so hopefully he will be back tomorrow and we will have our home page updated. Again, we were pressed into kicking off this information sooner than we were really ready to because of field agents auditing dealers and telling them some not so correct or definite information. ATI is in the process of tracking down every SD starting with our distributors. We then have to track from our distributors to the dealers, then from dealers to consumer. ATF is making us follow the course of, run it by ATF and wait for the ATF to approve the methods of action with their legal department. This is not a fast turn around unfortunately. As we know more I will be updating you on here and we will be updating our site once Brent is back.
If I didn't answer your questions let me know, but I hope that you have read all of this because as you can see, ATI doesn't really have a lot of answers right now either. We're taking it a day at a time and moving forward as we are directed to by the ATF.
Now here's some questions ATF doesn't want you to ask:
Who in the ATF Firearms Imports Branch approved this in the first place? I mean, they didn't come into the country without the ATF's approval, right? OK, which incompetent moke did it? Or rather, which politicized moke in the Chief Counsel's Office decided after the fact that the Brady Bunch wouldn't like what had already been approved?
Understand, they way they're telling it now, someone in this agency approved for import 13,000 unregistered suppressors. Don't they get to like lose their hall pass to go to the john unescorted, or something? Who reimburses the huge costs of this cluster-coitus that will be incurred by the manufacturer, the importer, the dealers and the customers? You gonna pay them back, Little Jimmy?
Yeah? I thought not.