AFT Final Ruling 2021R-05F Summarized

On 04/26/2022, the final draft of the Biden administration’s most imposing gun control law was officially published on the federal register. From the date of publication, the ATF Final Ruling 2021R-05f will be taken into effect in 120 days, with a final date of 08/24/2022. 

Announced back in May of 2021, the Biden administration’s rule has been the subject of a lengthy fight to pass for ruling ever since. All of this in spite of a year’s worth of failure in Congress. President Biden has officially announced the finalization of the ATF’s new ruling, a game changer for the future of DIY gun building and private manufacturing. Of course, another way of looking at it is to say that the second amendment has taken one of its biggest hits in history.

To add to things, this coincides with Biden’s “Zero Tolerance Policy,” which made even the most minute violations of retail FFL license holders punishable by a license revocation. The end result is lawmaking that has turned American gun ownership into something to be earnestly fearful of. 

A Brief History

The ATF Final Ruling 2021R-05F was primarily put in place to end the private manufacture of 80% lowers. Until this ruling came into play, incomplete firearm receivers, typically for the AR-15, could be sold to individuals without going through a background check process. This is because 80% lowers were not viewed as firearms by the ATF, but as receiver blanks that must first be milled out in order to become a firearm by the legal definition. The Biden administration, despite a lack of evidence on a national scale, used 80% lowers, which he coined “ghost guns”, as a scapegoat to further catalyze gun control legislation without going to congress. 

In this new ruling, the definitions of ‘Frame or Receiver’ will change. The ruling also added a new definition: variant, making it virtually impossible to legally find a way around the ruling. The term encompasses any and all modifications not covered by the previous terms, essentially making it a safety net for lawmakers.

Terms and Conditions

Let’s take a closer look at the new terms proposed by the ATF Final Ruling 2021R-05f:

Frame: “The part of a handgun or “variants” (also a defined term) using a handgun design, that provides housing or a structure for the sear or equivalent—that part that holds back the hammer, striker, bolt, or similar component prior to firing.”

Receiver: “The part of a rifle, shotgun, or projectile weapon other than a handgun, or variants, that provides housing or a structure for the bolt, breechblock or other primary component designed to block or seal the breach prior to firing.”

Variant: “A weapon utilizing a similar frame or receiver design irrespective of new or different model designations or configurations, characteristics, features, components,

accessories, or attachments.”

The ruling clarifies that the definition of a firearm includes the parts kit for which it “is designed to or may readily be completed, assembled, restored, or otherwise converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.”

Essentially, what the updates to these terms means for law abiding citizens is that they will no longer be able to purchase 80% lower receivers without a background check. Because they are now regulated as firearms, a background check must be completed. 

Privately Made Firearms

A PMF or Privately Made Firearm is “a firearm, including a frame or receiver, completed, assembled, or otherwise produced by a person other than a licensed manufacturer, and without a serial number placed by a licensed manufacturer at the time the firearm was produced. The term shall not include a firearm identified and registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record pursuant to chapter 53, title 26, United States Code, or any firearm manufactured or made before October 22, 1968 (unless remanufactured after that date).”

The definition of PMF was added, retroactively, to a previous law in order to make a distinction between firearms made by manufacturers and firearms made by non-licensees. The purpose of the amendment is to require that all “PMFs” sold to FFL license holders must be serialized upon acquisition through transactions. 

While the ruling does not state that non licensees may still manufacture their own firearms, it criminalizes the sale of “80% lowers,” something most DIY gun builders used to make their firearms. While the ATF has freely been able to accumulate over 1 billion firearms transactions since the background check process was implemented, the ATF Final Ruling will also increase regulations on licensee-stored records. According to this ruling, manufacturers must keep paper records for 20 years in an ATF approved warehouse. These records are subject to inspection by an ATF agent at any time. 

For More Information, visit these ATF resources:

ATF Website – Definition of “Frame or Receiver” and Identification of Firearms: https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/definitionframe-or-receiver

ATF eRegulations: https://regulations.atf.gov

ATF Rulemaking: https://www.atf.gov/rules-andregulations/rulemaking 

Federal Regulation: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR2022-04-26/pdf/2022-08026.pdf

Also Read: Are Ghost Guns Dangerous?