Wednesday, October 18, 2023

ATF Investigates Gun Shop for FRTs and Pistol Brace Sales

Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) initiated an action against a gun outlet named Shooters Den for its alleged sale of forced reset triggers (FRTs) and pistols fitted with stabilizing tools.

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Previously, the store drew attention when they took possession of firearms that a private gun owner crafted, alleging they lacked serial numbers. The store's proprietor, Anthony Stephen, reported this to the ATF. While the firearm is now with the ATF as potential evidence, the authorities indicate the young firearm owner hasn't violated any regulations. However, the focus appears to be on the store, not the individual.

Shooters Den proposed to serially number the firearm, implying the individual, being below 21 years of age, wouldn't retrieve his firearm. Although individuals between 18 and 21 can own pistols, they can't undergo a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) assessment for handguns. Serially numbered handguns obtained from a Federally Licensed Firearms dealer necessitate a NICS review.

Come March, the ATF commenced an examination into Shooters Den, in operation since 1986. During this scrutiny, the ATF reportedly discovered a rifle affixed with unauthorized equipment, resulting in the firearm's confiscation and a subsequent warning to Mr. Stephen. Despite this, it seems the store proceeded to offer products that the ATF has determined as unauthorized.

Furthermore, the ATF alleges that Shooters Den had in its inventory AR-style firearms equipped with pistol stabilizers. Earlier this year, the ATF adjusted its classification, viewing most pistols with such braces as short-barreled rifles (SBRs). It remains uncertain whether Shooters Den or its operators are affiliated with any firearm advocacy groups challenging this ruling.

Moreover, the store reportedly offered FRTs, seen by the ATF as machine gun modifiers. It's worth noting that there's a standing order preventing the ATF from acting against specific FRT models and their vendors, although the specific FRT brand in the store's inventory remains unspecified.

Additionally, the ATF alleges several other infractions. It suggests the store was manufacturing firearms without the requisite license and was possibly neglecting to conduct background checks. The latter could result in license revocation, more so under the current stringent administration policies. The store is further accused of tax discrepancies. Based on this, the ATF confiscated the store's entire inventory, effectively closing its operations. The exact legal implications for Mr. Stephen are yet to be determined.

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  1. If those rifles with stabilizers were owned by members of the SAF, they are currently not illegal.

  2. Good. This is karma for taking the Airman's pistol. You reap what you sow in this life, and here is the perfect example. Play shady games win shady prizes.