As many of our viewers are aware, on May 14, 2014, I wrote an article: Did ATF’s Determination on NICS Checks Open the Door for Manufacture of New Machineguns for Trusts? At that time, I submitted a paper Form 1 for a minigun, as eFile was not currently available. Several weeks later, eFile would come up and several individuals submitted eForm 1s, utilizing the argument I put forth in my article, to make new machineguns. As paper forms are taking 6+ months, but eFile Form 1s are only taking 30-45 days, several individuals have reported receiving approvals to make a new machinegun. Yesterday, ATF decided to rescind those approvals and started calling individuals to inform them of the rescission.
Some have reported receiving eFile notices from ATF stating the change in determination. ATF’s humorous basis is allegedly:
THE GUN CONTROL ACT OF 1968 (GCA), AS AMENDED, PROHIBITS ANY PERSON FROM POSSESSING A MACHINEGUN NOT LAWFULLY POSSESSED AND REGISTERED PRIOR TO MAY 19, 1986. SEE 18 U.S.C. § 922(O). THE GCA DEFINES THE TERM “PERSON” TO “INCLUDE ANY INDIVIDUAL, CORPORATION, COMPANY, ASSOCIATION, FIRM, PARTNERSHIP, SOCIETY, OR JOINT STOCK COMPANY.” SEE 18 U.S.C. § 921(A)(1). PURSUANT TO THE NFA, 26 U.S.C. § 5822, AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS, 27 C.F.R. § 479.105(A), ATF MAY NOT APPROVE ANY PRIVATE PERSON’S APPLICATION TO MAKE AND REGISTER A MACHINEGUN AFTER MAY 19, 1986.
THE FACT THAT AN UNINCORPORATED TRUST IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE DEFINITION OF “PERSON” UNDER THE GCA DOES NOT MEAN THAT AN INDIVIDUAL MAY AVOID LIABILITY UNDER SECTION 922(O) BY PLACING A MACHINEGUN “IN TRUST.” CONSEQUENTLY, IN TERMS OF AN UNINCORPORATED TRUST, ATF MUST DISREGARD SUCH A NON-ENTITY UNDER THE GCA AND CONSIDER THE INDIVIDUAL ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE TRUST TO BE THE PROPOSED MAKER/POSSESSOR OF THE MACHINEGUN.
We have discussed these rescission with several individuals and are looking at filing suit against ATF over them. If you received an approved Form 1 to make a new machinegun and have subsequently received notice from ATF that they are rescinding it, contact us to discuss your legal options.