OSD 51: 100% lowers aren't receivers, and nobody knew it

“Though prosecutors had argued that adopting O’Kelly’s view, ‘would sweep aside more than 50 years of the ATF’s regulation of AR-15s and other semi-automatic firearms,’ the judge issued a tentative order doing just that.”
CNN report on former ATF agent Dan O’Kelly

Following up on a story they first covered back in October, CNN ran an interview with former ATF agent Dan O’Kelly this week. The issue is straightforward, but very big: the regulatory definition of firearm receiver — “that part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel” — doesn’t cover AR lowers. In fact, O’Kelly estimates that it doesn’t apply to about 60% of the guns in the US.

The bigger problem, from the ATF’s perspective, is that judges have started to agree. The CNN piece describes several recent prosecutions where, after seeing where the cases were headed, ATF chose to drop its charges rather than give the judges a chance to make a binding ruling that would turn AR lowers (and potentially most semi-auto handguns in the country) into, legally, paperweights.

This is an important issue to stay abreast of, because Congress delegated to ATF the power to write the definition of “receiver”. That means a re-definition is simply a matter of an ATF rule change, and as this story builds, the agency will eventually have to pull the trigger on that. We want to be at the table when that happens.

Make it a great week everyone.

This week's links

SHOT Show 2020: John Correia of Active Self-Protection interviews OSD cofounder Chuck Rossi
Chuck tells John all about what we're up to at OSD. Thanks for John for spreading the good word, and also be sure to check out part 1 of the interview, where Chuck talks about his 11 years as a senior employee at Facebook.

SHOT Show 2020: OSD and NAAGA on the Guns Guide to Liberals podcast
Great multi-part series, happy to have been part of it.

SHOT Show 2020: Colion Noir walking the floor, and the Secretary of the Interior fanboys out on him
In 2020, the internet makes the rules and everyone else just responds.

This dishwasher charges $60,000 to design custom guns
“Push It to the Limit” intensifies.

Jim Fuller and Garand Thumb talkin’ about AKs
The modern state of the AK, from the guy who’s largely responsible for there being a modern state of the AK.

Game warden frees locked-up bucks…
… with a shotgun.

Brittany Smith loses her stand-your-ground hearing
The New Yorker continues its commendable exploration of the value of armed self-defense — and what happens when the laws don’t recognize your right to it.

How to talk someone out of bigotry
It’s not often we feature a Vox piece, but folks could learn a lot from strategies described in this one. It aligns closely with how we run OSD.

“It does seem as though the two-way nature of the conversations is essential for the canvassing technique to work. But why? Broockman and Kalla aren’t completely sure. Their main hypothesis is that it works because it’s not threatening. People are resistant to changing their mind during an argument, the hypothesis goes, because it threatens their self-image. Sharing narratives gets around that: The persuasion happens because in talking about themselves, the voters realize a more tolerant attitude is consistent with their self-image.”

The illusory truth effect
The always-excellent Farnam Street on an idea that helps explain why misconceptions about guns and gun owners are so sticky: “we all have a tendency to believe something is true after being exposed to it multiple times. The more times we’ve heard something, the truer it seems.”

State bans being attempted in Virginia and Maryland
The gun rights community in both states can get this done, but not without the help of people who are passionate and high-performing. Follow the Virginia Citizens Defense League and Maryland Shall Issue for updates.

A useful fact when talking about the imprisonment-oriented AWB proposed in Maryland: there was one rifle homicide in Maryland in 2018.