Leaked Document: ATF seeking to redefine what parts of a gun are a firearm


Leaked, New Law Could Upend Firearm Industry

A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) document leaked by The Reload,  could redefine which parts of a gun are considered a “firearm.” The document, according to America’s 1st Freedom, would change the federal definition of a frame and receiver as well as change federal marking requirements for firearms.

According to the NRA-ILA, “The rule, if implemented, would completely upend the firearm industry by changing what parts must legally be considered a ‘firearm’ under federal law.”

The document in question, spanning 107 pages, also matches the title and bill number to a bill submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory affairs in the third week of April titled “Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms.”

The ATF’s chief of public affairs, April Langwell, said, “I cannot confirm, nor deny, the authenticity of the document, nor can I comment on internal communications or deliberations on potential or hypothetical rulemakings.”

The new definitions stated in the document would make it possible for firearms to have more than one “frame or receiver,” which is at odds with the federal controlling statute. The rule would also create a new marking requirement for particular Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL). The ATF said the law would significantly impact companies selling unfinished receivers–they would have to “adapt.”

“Based on current marketing related to the unregulated sale of certain firearm parts kits, ATF anticipates that these non-FFLs would either become FFLs or would take a loss in revenue to sell a parts kit that does not contain a frame or receiver, or simply sell the frame or receiver, but not both,” the document stated.

The document went on to state the law could impact small firearm manufacturers. “ATF estimates the majority of affected entities are small entities that would experience a range of costs; therefore, this rule may have a significant impact on small entities.”

President Joe Biden has also nominated gun-control group advisor David Chipman to run the ATF. He stated told a congressional committee that, “Simply reinstating the 90s-era ban on assault weapons is not enough. Instead, we should regulate a broader class of firearms, including assault weapons manufactured before the law’s enactment … while banning the future manufacture and sale of these firearms.”

If the document proves authentic, the rule will be published before May 8.  Interested parties would have 90 days to comment on the proposal. All comments must include the documents docket number ATF 2021R-05.

Link to pdf of leaked document: ATF Document – Definition of “Frame or Receiver” and Identification of Firearms

NRA release on the leak: Here


  1. Pretty bold, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they pushed it through.
    That bill of liberties thingie was way out of date and can you believe it, Habeas Corpus was from, like, 1066.
    Totally obsolete when you have a Civilization like ours.

    I’m not entirely clear whether the part that fits where the sun don’t shine is considered a firearm?

  2. I have read that numerous judges have ruled in the last couple of years that an AR-15 lower doesn’t qualify as a “receiver” under the law since the law specifies numerous functions that an AR lower doesn’t have.

    It will be interesting to see how the courts take this—if it’s real—and whether they apply a Chevron test to something so grossly in opposition to black-letter law.


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