Crimson Trace

February 23, 2015

Industry Happenings

With the announcement that the dockworkers on the west coast have reached a tentative agreement between their union and their bosses, there's a sigh of relief being heaved across the manufacturing sector.

Despite campaigns to the contrary, a large number of products everyone presumes to have been made in the U.S.A. aren't. They're assembled in the U.S.A. but a portion of their internal components may have come from almost anywhere. And many of "anywhere's" component parts have apparently either been bobbing offshore in idled container ships or sitting idled in shipping containers caught in the "slowdown" in this latest battle between union and management.

I've been told that somewhere between the coast of California and the horizon, there are also millions of rounds of ammunition that were caught up in that labor dispute. But the question of how much they may help alleviate continuing shortages in the supply of several popular calibers like 5.56/.223 still remains to be seen.

Should the ATF reclassify surplus -and widely used- M855 and SS109 ammunition as armor-piercing - it would then be illegal for consumer consumption. Ditto the manufacture, distribution or resale of that ammunition. In other words, it might as well stay offshore permanently if the ATF is allowed to make the change.

This weekend, we received word that apparently many gun owners didn't find this to be a compelling reason to record their objections with the federal government. With only a few days remaining in the ATF's solicitation of comments, fewer than 6,000 shooters have registered their displeasure with the proposal.

That, as one of my least-favorite instructors used to say, is simply unacceptable. So, too, is the ATF's description of criminals as one of the "consumer groups" that is a prime consumer of the ammunition they seek to ban. Since we've rolled out the answers to those ridiculous claims before, I won't keep beating up on that straw argument. Criminals still don't care about the rules; it's why their called "criminals".

Legal or not? The ATF's opinion letter says "legal" if used as shown- but the ATF wants to change their original position on that one. But they actually haven't done anything-yet.
And we received a note over the weekend seeking to clarify what appears to be misperception regarding the brace built by Sig Sauer for shooters who would have a difficult time grasping one of today's AR-style pistols.

Rather than paraphrase their position, here's the verbatim info:
SIG SAUER, Inc. has issued the following statement relative to the January 2015 open opinion letter issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regarding the SB15 and SBX Pistol Stabilizing Braces.

BATFE Technical Branch issued an open opinion letter dated January 16, 2015 regarding the Pistol Stabilizing Brace (SB15 and SBX) which is marketed by SIG SAUER®. Contrary to several statements subsequently made in social media, this opinion letter did not make or otherwise declare that the SB15 product is illegal. The BATFE letter stated that the SB15 is a product "which is legal to own, legal to purchase and legal to install on a pistol." SIG SAUER believes that the PSB enhances the shooter's experience and offers the products as an accessory and pre-installed on a number of pistols. In all of its opinions, BATFE has consistently stated that a pistol with a stabilizing brace attached remains a pistol under the Gun Control Act when used as designed.


So there you have it on that one- it's still legal-until you decide to use it as a pseudo-stock. At that point, you apparently have created two things: 1) a Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR) as defined by ATF regulations and, 2) the potential for a huge problem between yourself and the ATF over said mis-usage.

Now you know where the ATF stands on a couple of things...it's time for you to let them know where you stand on their proposed changes regarding their "reclassification" of the affordable -and currently attainable - "green tip" ammo.

Until March 16, 2015, the ATF's still accepting public comments on their proposed reclassification. And you still have time to make your opposition known. If you're unable to use anything but email (Washington puts a much higher emphasis on faxed or mailed comments) you can use APAcomments@atf.gov. If you choose to us fax (even an electronic one) you can send comments to (202) 648-9741. Or if you use the postal service, the address is:

Denise Brown
Mailstop 6N-602
Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226
ATTN: AP Ammo Comments

If you don't speak up, you haven't earned the right to complain.

--Jim Shepherd