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ATF Declares It Will No Longer Offer Classifications on Accessories Submitted

Yesterday, ATF released an email to industry members advising that the Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch (“FTISB”) would no longer be offering classification on how an accessory affects the classification of a firearm under the Gun Control Act (“GCA”) or National Firearms Act (“NFA”).

FTISB is tasked with, among other things, classifying firearms based on their configuration and design features as either being subject to the controls of the GCA, NFA, or neither. Previously, industry members, and the general public, would be able to submit an accessory and ask ATF to classify it for them. Sometimes these requests would include letters explaining why the accessory should not change the classification of a firearm and other times the requests would just simply ask ATF to determine whether the classification was changed.

As of yesterday, ATF will no longer allow individuals or companies to simply send an accessory and ask for a classification, with a limited exception for conditional import determinations. FTISB now requires that an individual or company submit their accessory attached to a firearm in order to render a classification.

Which begs an important question that a number of people likely have. If ATF determines that the accessory alters the classification of the firearm, say a pistol to SBR or AOW, will that person or company be subject to criminal charges? In the past, when an item altered a firearms status, ATF would return the item if the submitter had the appropriate SOT that would allow them to manufacture NFA firearms. If the person did not, ATF would not return the accessory. To date, the author has not seen any cases where someone was prosecuted as a result of such a classification.

Given this Administration's push for a ban on bump stocks, the timing of this change is…curious.


Adam Kraut is a firearms law attorney practicing in southeastern PA and across the country federally. He hosts The Legal Brief, a show dedicated to crushing the various myths and misinformation around various areas of the gun world and The Gun Collective Podcast. He was also the general manager of a gun store in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Instagram: @theadamkraut
Twitter: @theadamkraut

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