26
Oct
07

Machinegun On a Shoestring

The ATF has a difficult job to do. Absent specific guidelines, policies and procedures, they are asked to render decisions to the best of their abilities. A big no-no is the manufacturing and possession of machineguns or parts designed to create machineguns by civilians. In the picture shown above, you see a semi-automatic rifle that has a shoestring with a few loops attached. The string enables automatic firing of the weapon. In 2004, the ATF ruled that the shoestring was a machinegun (ATF considers the machinegun itself and the items that enable conversion to automatic fire to be machine guns):

In June of this year, Rick Vasquez, acting chief of the Firearms Technology Branch (A guy I have met several times before, a guy I like, and a guy who has given me good advice), rescinded the letter that declared shoestrings as machineguns. He went on to clarify that a shoestring was not a machinegun, but was one only when used in the manner described.

It takes time to work through this stuff…

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8 Responses to “Machinegun On a Shoestring”


  1. 1 Me
    October 26, 2007 at 10:50 am

    I wonder if that latest opinion creates a dangerous precedent for the ATF in that they often consider mere proximity of some parts/objects to certain guns (ie., readily accessible)illegal. An example is the Glock shoulder stock.

    Of course, arguably opinion letters don’t mean all that much and often end up contradicting themselves.

    Art

  2. October 26, 2007 at 10:52 am

    The ol plausible deniability versus constructive intent argument, eh?

  3. October 26, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Okay, so no one here is dumb enough to admit having done this, but I surmise that a string used in such a manner would make a piss-poor machine gun as one would have not only climb to worry about, but a constant “walk” towards the side of the barrel that had the string attached…much more fun to get a BMF crank…which is legal as long as you don’t attach it to a motor of some sort.

  4. October 26, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    I would never try something as silly as this.

  5. 5 DeusExMachina
    March 31, 2008 at 3:51 am

    Not exactly, ATF.
    The text of the law clearly states that a firearm is classified as a machine gun of it fires more than one shot WITH A SINGLE FUNCTION OF THE TRIGGER.

    Sure, if you look at only a portion of the sentence of the law, this ATF opinion is valid. But that’s not how the law works. The shoestrings tightens and loosens with the movement of the cocking handle, hence actuating the trigger multiple times in a succession of single trigger functions. Sorry, ATF, and fuck you.

  6. August 29, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Comment by DeusExMachina — March 31, 2008
    Not exactly, ATF.
    The text of the law clearly states that a firearm is classified as a machine gun if it fires more than one shot WITH A SINGLE FUNCTION OF THE TRIGGER.

    Sure, if you look at only a portion of the sentence of the law, this ATF opinion is valid. But that’s not how the law works. The shoestrings tightens and loosens with the movement of the cocking handle, hence actuating the trigger multiple times in a succession of single trigger functions. Sorry, ATF.

    It’s a little more complicated than that! The BATFE have unlimited funds in order to proscute you, and a trial by a jury of 12 soccer moms wont get you any sympathy. The problem is with “A SINGLE FUNCTION OF THE TRIGGER.” It does not state “a single function of the GUNS trigger” in the text of the definition of a machine gun. Now the BATFE has to convience the jury that the trigger is now the string.


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