So speaking of confirmation bias, this leaked ATF whitepaper is a fine example of something that needed to be slow-rolled before we shouted it from the rooftops. It’s not that it’s too-good-to-be-true. In fact, it seems to be legit. (Someone at ATF needs to be taught that “reply all” is not your friend.) So now, after a little time to let things settle, it appears that the time is ripe to discuss the leaked memo.
The whitepaper is a call to reevaluate some longstanding rules and policies at the ATF. Among these are an acceptance of “Modern Sporting Rifles” as soundly falling within the scope of the GCA‘s “Sporting purposes” requirements for legal importation. Included is an admission that these firearms are indeed used in sports such as hunting and 3-gun competitions. (Mind you, this doesn’t mean that we’re accepting “sporting purposes” as a legitimate, constitutional restraint on gun ownership. The 2nd Amendment isn’t about sporting goods! However, the GCA is part of the current legal paradigm that we need to work within.) There is also a call to loosen, or eliminate restrictions on silencers (and their parts) as NFA items. Silencers are legal in most States and the ATF’s inboxes are clogged with the backlog of NFA applications for them.
The big take-away from the whitepaper is that there are reams of ATF regulations that do not advance public safety. Taking silencers as an example, there are almost no prosecutions for the illegal use of these devices in a typical year. (44 per year on average in a nation of 300,000,000 people; 0.0000147%.) These unnecessary, ineffectual rules only serve to erode our freedoms. How? A law or regulation that sits and gathers dust today could be “weaponized” in the future by some clever bureaucrat. Rather than wait for the threat to emerge, it’s better to clear the books of these useless regulations.
Kinda nice seeing the ATF under new management, isn’t it?