As many in the Firearms Community are aware, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raided Polymer80, Inc last week and since then, there is at least one report of a customer being visited by ATF and forced to surrender their “P80.” Given what appears to be ATF’s active enforcement of its interpretive jiggery-pokery, ever changing interpretations of the Gun Control Act and implementing regulations, it is important that any individual confronted by ATF regarding this newly minted interpretation, advise the agent that he/she is surrendering the items under protest, that you do not consent to the forfeiture or destruction of your property, and that you require a property receipt from ATF. Be aware that the agent may attempt to have you sign an ATF 3400.1 Form – Consent to Forfeiture or Destruction of Property and Waiver of Notice – which you should NOT sign under ANY circumstance. In the event that they ask you to sign an ATF 3400.1, inform them that the only ATF form you are willing to sign is an ATF 3400.23 – Receipt of Property and Other Items, as the ATF 3400.23 does not contain language, wherein you agree to the forfeiture/destruction of your property.
You should also attempt to take photos of your items, so you can prove the condition they were in when taken by ATF, as well as, find any receipts or other information relative to your purchase of the items. It would also be prudent to separately document your experience of the encounter in writing – such as the location, date, and time of your interaction with the ATF agent(s), the names or other identifying information (ID #, contact number, business card, etc.) of all ATF agents or persons you spoke with, the details of all discussions, and any other information they told or provided you. You should also demand a copy of the executed ATF 3400.23. If they tell you that they’ll mail you a copy, in addition to requesting that they do, you should take a photo of the executed form with your phone. After compiling all these documents and information, you should place them in a safe place.
So that there can be no misunderstanding on ATF’s part, I would strongly recommend sending a letter, consistent with the below, to the ATF Agent that took your item(s), because, in the event ATF elects to institute a forfeiture action, they are required to serve you with a copy and in that event, you should immediately contact an attorney, if you wish to challenge ATF’s ability to forfeit your property.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
<insert field office address of ATF agent>
Dear Agent <Insert Last Name>:
As I informed you on <Insert Date> when you took my <Insert Items> (hereinafter “items”), I surrendered them under protest as I understand ATF contends that my continued possession of those items would result in my arrest and prosecution. As I dispute ATF’s contention and authority in this matter, I am only surrendering my items to preclude my arrest and prosecution. I do not consent to the destruction of my items nor do I consent to forfeiture of my items. I assert all of my rights pursuant to the U.S. Constitution and all applicable federal laws.
In the event ATF’s newly minted interpretation is enjoined or is deemed unlawful by a court of law, I expect ATF to immediately return my items, at no cost to me, and expect that ATF will not cause any damage or harm to them, while in its possession.
Thanking you for you time and assistance in this matter, I am
<insert name and address>
If your rights have been violated by ATF or another federal administrative agency, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.
Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.