American Silencer Association Calls for O'Reilly Retraction

Washington, DC - The American Silencer Association (ASA) asks that Bill O'Reilly immediately retract the factual inaccuracies of current firearm regulations that he used as supporting evidence during his July 24 debate with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). The debate, which focused on the validity of additional gun control measures in response to the tragic events in Aurora, CO, found O'Reilly calling for stricter oversight of the firearms transfer process. While the ASA does not take issue with O'Reilly's personal opinions, the consistent use of unsubstantiated evidence is inexcusable and in need of retraction.

First, the term 'heavy weapons' which O'Reilly defines as 'mortars, howitzers and machineguns', is a fabricated term that requires additional clarification. These three items are defined and strictly regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which falls under the jurisdiction of the BATFE. Under the NFA, mortars and howitzers are considered 'destructive devices' because they fire projectiles through a barrel which is larger than one-half inch in diameter.[1] 'Machineguns' are defined as "any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger."[2] In addition to machineguns and destructive devices, the NFA also regulates suppressors, short-barrel rifles, short-barrel shotguns, and "any-other weapons".[3]

Mr. O'Reilly goes on to state that "you can buy a machine gun and the FBI doesn't know", reiterating his point by claiming that at gun shows "you can buy any weapon you want there and there's no reporting anywhere". These statements are holistically and unequivocally untrue. In order for a civilian to purchase any item that is regulated by the NFA, the item must be legal in their state of residence, and they must submit Form 4s to the ATF. A Form 4, or Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm, includes a stringent background check that is conducted by the FBI. In addition, applicants must submit a $200 non-refundable transfer tax, duplicate copies of passport photos and fingerprints, and receive a signoff from a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) in their jurisdiction.[4] From start to finish, this transfer process takes anywhere from 30 days to one year to complete. Additionally, civilians are only eligible to purchase machineguns that were manufactured and registered with the ATF prior to May 19, 1986, the day that President Reagan signed the Firearms Owners' Protection Act into law.

Throughout the debate, Mr. O'Reilly uses the term AK-47 interchangeably with machinegun. While fully automatic AK-47s are machineguns, referring to semi-automatic variants as machineguns is misleading at best. The fully automatic versions that Mr. O'Reilly refers to are subject to the strict transfer requirements of the NFA. These should not be confused with their semi-automatic civilian counterparts. Thus, his statement that "you can buy an AK-47 in this country, and no federal agency will know you buy it" is false, unless the AK-47 is semi-automatic.

It is for these reasons that the American Silencer Association calls for an immediate on air retraction of these errors. In the future, the ASA suggests that Mr. O'Reilly and his team conduct adequate research prior to discussing firearms regulations.

Link to video:

About the American Silencer Association:
The American Silencer Association (ASA) is a non-profit trade association, whose mission is to further the pursuit of education, public relations, legislation, and hunting, law enforcement, and military applications for the silencer industry. For more information on how you can help protect your silencer rights, visi

[1] Section 5845(f) of the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. 5845(f)).
[2] Section 5845(b) of the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. 5845(b)).
[3] Section 5845(a-f) of the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. 5845(a-f)).
[4] ATF F 5320.4