On Thursday night, a picture of a letter sent to a gun owner by the ATF was posted to Facebook. The letter, which appears to be from the US Department of Justice’s division of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms begins by informing the citizen that they have recently learned that he has purchased an AA12 semi-auto shotgun made by BC Engineering. The shotgun is one of the most popular ones on the market today, and other companies have successfully created their own versions of the firearm in recent years.

The ATF then says that: “This letter officially notifies you that the AA-12 type firearm in your possession is a machinegun under the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the National Firearms Act . See 18 U.S.C Chapter 55 and 26 U.S.C Chapter 53, respectively.”

The federal government’s gun control division continues by quoting the NFA and interpreting its language to justify the theory that any firearm in existence could be interpreted as a ‘machinegun’ (fully automatic gun), according to the NFA’s language, technically speaking.

“A machinegun is “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. The term shall also include any frame or receiver of any such weapon…” ATF has classified the right side plate of all AA-12 firearms as the firearm receiver and a machinegun receiver. All versions of the AA-12 use the same machinegun receiver.”

The side plates of the AA-12 appear to be simple plastic stock parts - image from Small Arms Defense Journal

The ATF essentially says that the company uses the same side plate in their full auto and semi-auto versions of the AA-12, and since the side plate is sort of part of the receiver, it’s the ‘gun’ part of the gun, so all semi-auto AA-12s are now full auto versions, and super illegal, according to the ATF.

“The manufacture and sale of a machinegun are subject to significant legal restrictions under both the GCA and the NFA. Possession of a machinegun manufactured after May 19, 1986, is prohibited unless possessed by government authority.“ the letter goes on to say.

“Although the AA-12 you purchased was advertised as a semi-automatic version of an AA-12, this firearm is a machinegun (according to insane, power-drunk tyrants like us) and subject to the strict controls of the NFA and GCA. Your continued possession of this AA-12 firearm would violate Federal criminal law, specifically 18 U.S.C 922 and 26 U.S.C. 5861. It is the ATF’s responsibility to retrieve this AA-12 machinegun. ATF seeks your cooperation in immediately surrendering the AA-12 in your possession.” (bold and parenthesis added for clarity)

The ATF is telling this innocent man who was not even accused of hurting anyone that if he does not surrender his firearm, men with firearms (which are actual machineguns) will come and imprison and/or kill him.

As far as I know, the right side plate of the AA-12 does not possess any magical qualities that cause it to be fully automatic. The side plate appears to comprise half of the stock/frame of the firearm. It is simply the plastic covering which protects the internal guts and makes it look nicer. One might buy a new frame to make his gun look cooler, much like people buy colored cell phone cases for aesthetic purposes.

This ruling sets an extremely dangerous precedent: The ATF can now ‘redefine’ any part as a machinegun, especially if the part is similar to the part used in a full-auto version of the same firearm. Well, the Glock 17 surely shares many parts with the Glock 18, its full-auto counterpart. (technically, the only difference is the selector switch, which holds down the disconnector so that the pistol fires as long as the trigger is held to the rear). All other parts are identical, other than a raised tab on the trigger bar, which could likely be done by a layperson or hobbyist gunsmith, but technically resides within the ‘lower receiver’ (the frame) part of the Glock. In fact, I believe that the receiver – the serialized and regulated part of the Glock 17 is identical to the full-auto version. A typical semi-auto Glock 17 could also be converted into a full-auto Glock 18 simply by obtaining an ‘upper’ slide assembly) with a selector switch in the back of it. In the case of the AA-12, the side plate is not the serialized and regulated part. If the semi-auto AA-12 is now banned, all of the millions of semi-auto Glocks in the US certainly must be banned!

If the ATF so chose, they could redefine every firearm in the US as ‘machineguns’ quite easily, simply by declaring that they all share or could conceivably share a part with a fully automatic firearm. Are you beginning to realize how absurd tyranny is?

A few more comments on this letter, assuming that it really came from the ATF:

The full-auto version of the AA-12 does not fire very rapidly. Automatically cycling massive 12 gauge shotgun shells simply cannot be done very quickly. In fact, a shooter with a few months of experience could probably fire a semi-auto shotgun at least as fast as the full-auto AA-12 can fire. It’s probably possible to reach comparable firing rates with pump-action shotguns, actually.

Regardless of the rate of fire, the Hollywood-inspired fascination with fully-automatic firearms has been massively played out and continues to boggle my mind to this day. I often joke that I waste enough ammo (full auto may end up being the most expensive 15 seconds of your life) and I miss my targets enough without spraying full-auto fire at the range. I simply don’t need it. And I don’t understand why people want it so badly or why the government works so hard to reserve the privilege for their own enforcers. Still, any firearm that the government has access to should also be available to the public, as per the 2nd amendment.

Should this letter be surprising?

The US government has used the ATF to cleverly ‘redefine’ federal gun laws to create de facto gun laws many times in the past. A few examples include:

The ATF considers the lower/receiver of a firearm to be the serialized and regulated part. Being that it would be impossible to regulate all of the thousands of gun parts, they chose the ‘heart’ of the gun. This makes sense. All other parts remain unregulated and could be delivered to your door without an FFL/background check, though the super-leftist states also attempt to regulate other gun parts. What gets weird is that the ATF considers the ‘upper’ (the barrel and its surrounding parts) to also be a firearm in the case of a .50 caliber gun, even a bolt-action rifle!

The most recent example of ATF tyranny came to exist at the insistence of Republican President, Donald Trump. Although even Obama’s ATF admitted that they could not legally use the ATF to ban bump stocks, Trump commanded the ATF to figure out a way to ban them. At his direction, the ATF defined bump stocks legally not only as ‘accessories’ or ‘firearms’ but as ‘machineguns’, causing them all to be 100% illegal, because prior federal law makes all machineguns manufactured after 1986 illegal, and bump stocks were only invented a few years ago. Yes, a cheap piece of plastic that could be manufactured by any teen with a 3D printer which simply makes it a little easier to ‘bump-fire’ is now the same thing as a new M16, according to our great government!

Once the federal government under the authoritarian socialist, FDR, began to restrict firearms in the US, the government has been hard at work trying to keep up with its own lies, propaganda, and insanity. Of course, all free humans have a natural right to own anything they desire, even things made of steel and polymer and even things that could fire projectiles. Additionally, all free humans have a natural right to self-defense. Until the individual commits an act of violence, common law and human ethics would consider them innocent. Our founders authored the 2nd amendment for one purpose: So that the citizenry could always overpower the politicians. Our modern politicians understand that the 2nd amendment’s premise threatens their authoritarian, communist, fascist goals, so they cleverly indoctrinate people to be afraid of guns, which gives way to their impetus for neutering the freedoms ‘guaranteed’ to us by the 2nd amendment. Once they made a few gun laws, though, they realized that their ethics, knowledge, and premises were all out of whack, and thousands of additional laws would have to be created in order to control the massive amounts of new firearm technologies that are constantly being invented. The government is still playing catch-up to their own bullshit. Once in a while, they are caught red-handed and laughed at by those who understand true freedom and firearms technology. In the long run, their brief embarrassment will do nothing to tamper the government’s mission to subjugate us all to eternal slavery to our politicians.


On February 16th, 2021, the ATF seemingly utilized this same new regulation to make another semi-auto illegal. Apparently, The TommyBuilt Tactical T36 shares some parts with its fully automatic counterpart. So, the ATF now considers the semi-auto firearm to be illegal.

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