No joke! ATF bans scrub-pad stockpiles

By Bob Unruh

“Put down the Chore Boy and back away from the weaponry!”

It’s an order that actually could be heard, given that a letter has surfaced from the federal government warning against consumers stockpiling Chore Boy household scrubbers because they can be considered a component of a gun silencer and, therefore, regulated by federal gun laws.

The letter is from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the ATF. It was obtained by David Codrea, who publishes online as the Gun Rights Examiner.

And it comes from a federal agency that earlier determined a 14-inch-long piece of shoestring must be regulated under federal gun laws and restrictions because it is a “machinegun.”

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The latest unusual determination from the agency is found in a letter submitted to the agency on behalf of a client. The letter is dated Nov. 26, 2010, and Codrea said it was obtained recently.

In it, an attorney was asking about a repair that a client wished to make on an already-registered silencer for a .22 caliber rifle.

“Does sound/gas absorbing materials manufactured from Chore Boy copper clean pads, along with fiberglass insulation, constitute a silencer part as defined in 18 U.S.C 921(a)(24)?” he asked.

“Yes,” confirmed the letter signed by John R. Spencer, the chief of the Firearms Technology Branch. “Gas/sound-absorbing material is the same as a baffle in that it is designed to reduce/trap hot gases within the expansion tube to allow cooling before they are released from the silencer, subsequently reducing sound.”

Spencer, responding to a question about whether such material which becomes worn in a silencer could be replaced, said it would be a violation of federal law.

“Replacement of any component part or parts of a registered silencer, other than a silencer wipe, would be a violation of the NFA if performed by a non-licensed manufacturer,” the letter said.

The correct procedure would be for the owner of the registered silencer to submit an application to the ATF and pay a $200 tax, the letter said.

“Further, he would have to submit a ‘no-marking’ variance to FTB since there is no viable area in which to apply a serial number to the sound-absorbing material,” Spencer wrote.

He also noted that it would not be lawful for the owner of the registered silencer to “have a stockpile of sound-absorbing materials for his own use in replacing deteriorated sound-absorbing material.”

Here’s Page 1 of the letter, which is available online:

Codrea pointed out that not even two years ago, ATF seized toy guns designed to shoot plastic BBs and said it would take only a “quick retooling” to make them fire live ammunition.

The “retooling” would involve replacing the barrel, bolt, upper and lower receivers and trigger assembly, he said.

Here’s the letter, from 2004, describing the string as a “machinegun:”

The letter from Sterling Nixon, then-chief of the branch, said any part designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun is a machinegun.

“The FTB examined and classified a 14-inch long shoestring with a loop at each end. The string was attached to the cocking handle of a semiautomatic rifle and was looped around the trigger and attached to the shooter’s finger. The device caused the weapon to fire repeatedly until finger pressure was released from the string. Because this item was designed and intended to convert a semiautomatic rifle into a machingun, FTB determined that it was a machinegun as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5845(b).”

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Codrea said the Chore Boy letter just became available to him, and he blacked out the name of the attorney to keep identities confidential.

The ATF declined a request from WND to comment on the letter.

Codrea told WND that the government’s responses to the questions were “ridiculous.”

“They have created a condition where a Chore Boy pad can be considered a silencer,” he said.

The agency also has classified the M1 Garand, a rifle used by the U.S. military for two decades and issued to thousands of soldiers and Marines during World War II and Korea, as a “threat to public safety in the U.S.”

States already have begun rebelling against federal rules for guns, with eight formally adopting laws that exempt guns made, sold and kept within the states from federal regulations.

A court case over that law is in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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