Feds Halt Sales of Homemade Guns Before August Rule Is Implemented

Feds Halt Sales of Homemade Guns Before August Rule Is Implemented
President Joe Biden holds up a ghost gun kit during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on April 11, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Beth Brelje

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has told one of the nation’s largest homemade firearms parts retailers, JSD Supply, to stop selling its products.

The move comes more than three months before President Joe Biden’s controversial “ghost gun” regulation goes into effect on Aug. 24, 2022.

The new rule, which is expected to be challenged in court, bans the business of manufacturing unserialized “buy-build-shoot” kits that can be purchased without a background check. The so-called ghost guns contain parts that can be assembled into a gun.

These kits will now be considered firearms under the Gun Control Act.

Pennsylvania-based JSD Supply received a letter from ATF dated May 9, 2022, ordering the company to immediately cease and desist the sale of full sets and parts that could be converted into a functioning firearm.

The letter has caused the company to shut down its operation.

“ATF has held that kits which include all components necessary to produce a functional firearm, including the jig or template used to finish the unfinished frame or receiver, the slide assembly, and the necessary components to complete the frame or receiver are themselves properly classified as firearms under the Gun Control Act,” the letter says.

“Specifically, these kits are a weapon that may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. These kits are firearms under the gun Control Act and have always been firearms pursuant to statute.”

For years, the ATF has provided guidance on the definition of a gun. Those who sell parts such as 80 percent receivers do not need a Federal Firearms License. But the letter shows the ATF has changed its mind and is following the new regulation before it has gone into effect.

“Those engaged in the business of selling these complete kits, as your company does, are in fact engaged in the business of dealing firearms,” the letter says.

“Further, selling the necessary components to produce a functional firearm to the same person through multiple purchases or structure to transactions at different times instead of a single sale is equivalent to selling the complete kit to the customer. That is, the complete set of component parts necessary to create a firearm need not be packaged or sold in a single container or a single transaction in order to be considered a firearm. These piecemeal sales circumvent requirements of the Gun Control Act and are unlawful.”

Part for a homemade gun as pictured in the 2013 ATF Technical Bulletin, in which it was defined as "not a firearm." A new rule will require a background check to buy a part like this, and special licensing to sell it. (ATF)
Part for a homemade gun as pictured in the 2013 ATF Technical Bulletin, in which it was defined as "not a firearm." A new rule will require a background check to buy a part like this, and special licensing to sell it. (ATF)

JSD Supply has filed a case in the U.S. District Court against ATF and the U.S. Department of Justice, seeking an injunction to remain open.

The court filing says the ATF has recognized and expressly sanctioned, the unregulated sale of every single product that JSD Supply offers for sale.

“ATF has specifically and repeatedly explained that firearm parts such as barrels, triggers and springs are not firearms under federal statutory law including the Gun Control Act,” the company’s complaint says. The ATF also has specifically and repeatedly determined that the 80 percent frames and receivers which the company sells are not firearms under the act and are entirely unregulated by the ATF.

“This court’s intervention to protect the firearms industry and gun owners is necessary to reign in a branch of the federal government that is acting without any legal authority, and return the constitutional lawmaking power to the Congress, the only branch of government to which it was entrusted by Article I of the U.S. Constitution,” the complaint says.

This appears to be the first U.S. case of a company receiving such a letter, but another company in Missouri has now been told by the ATF to stop selling their products, according to Gun Owners of America.

“JSD Supply was just the first domino to fall in the ATF’s latest unwarranted action. Frustratingly, we have confirmed at least one additional company forced to halt sales and we expect more to follow,” Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America (GOA) said in a statement.

“Make no mistake, this is the beginning of a political crusade against homemade firearms. Forcing small businesses across the country to close their doors with no legal authority to do so, is wrong and a blatant abuse of power," Pratt said.

GOA is preparing a lawsuit challenging the new regulation.

“With a gun there’s only one regulated part, the frame or the receiver, and you do a background check on the frame or the receiver,” Aidan Johnston, GOA director of federal affairs told The Epoch Times. JSD Supply sells, not the regulated frame, but unfinished frames that are 80 percent complete. The company also sells all the other parts for a gun.

“JSD Supply asked the ATF if they could just stop selling the 80 percent frame and continue to sell all the other gun parts, and ATF won’t let them,” Johnston said.

“But what’s really important is not just the other companies that are selling 80 percent receivers and gun parts, but there are hundreds of websites that sell only gun parts. No regulated part from before or after this final rule. And the question is, if I 3D print the frame and then I order a barrel and a trigger from one of those websites that only sells gun parts, is ATF trying to say that that company illegally helped me complete a firearm?”

The answer is unclear. ATF was unavailable for comment.

“In order to engage in the constitutionally protected activities of keeping and bearing firearms, weapons first must be acquired,” the JSD Supply court complaint says.

“It is thus beyond serious debate that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to make their own privately made firearms, and thus to acquire the parts and materials with which to do so. The Constitution protects the corresponding right to sell firearm components, magazines, ammunition, and accessories, just as the freedoms of speech and press protect the right to buy and sell newspapers, books, paper, and ink. Indeed, it would not mean much if there was a right to make a firearm, but no ability to purchase the materials necessary to do so.”

JSD Supply did not respond to the Epoch Times.

Beth Brelje is an award-winning Epoch Times reporter who covers U.S. politics, state news, and national issues. Ms. Brelje previously worked in radio for 20 years and after moving to print, worked at Pocono Record and Reading Eagle. Send her your story ideas: [email protected]
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