Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, April 03, 2006

When the Serial Number is Stamped on It, It's a Firearm, Dammit.

Religious discussions aside, this is supposed to be a firearm and rights-oriented blog. I've been following Michael Bane's coverage of the recent BATF persecution of gunsmiths through the typical behavior of regulating bodies - changing the rules without warning, then going after everyone now "in violation."
When does customization of a firearm become manufacturing? That seemingly simple question is occupying the near undivided attention of the firearms industry. Observers say it is a question with the potential to become a firestorm that could put custom gunsmiths out of business; if not behind bars.

The controversy began with a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms inspection of Competitive Edge Gunworks in Bogard, Missouri. BATF and tax agents appeared and began examining the company's records. When they finished, owner Larry Crow was told he potentially faced felony charges for manufacturing firearms without a license.
So the BATF'ers want to make customizing a gun on which the excise tax has already been paid a crime? The guy that built my AR-15 up from a bare Bushmaster lower is a manufacturer? The 'smith that rebarrelled my 1896 Swedish Mauser is a manufacturer? I'm a manufacturer for putting a new barrel, scope, stock, and Volquartsen trigger group on the already taxed 10/22 receiver myself?

Here's the deal: When the original manufacturer stamps a serial number on the portion of the gun the BATF deems "the firearm," the frame of a 1911, for example, or the receiver of a bolt-action rifle, or the lower of my AR, then it is legally a "gun." If the manufacturer completes the assembly of the firearm - barrel, trigger group, stock - they pay the Internal Revenue Service an 11% tax on the value of the entire weapon. If they sell just the receiver, they pay the tax on the value of the receiver.

It sounds as though the BATF wants to claim that custom gunsmiths who start from a bare frame or receiver should be paying the 11% tax on the completed gun they deliver to the customer. It's a case of "We've never required this before, but we do now! And it's retroactive to whenever we say it is!" It sounds as though they're saying "The American public is being bilked out of thousands in tax money!"

They're not after the taxes, they're out to shut down licensed gunsmiths. Changes in how the rules were interpreted - not changes in federal law - resulted in the number of licensed firearms dealers declining from 245,000 in 1994 to 54,902 in 2005. Now they want to put gunsmiths - another licensee - out of business, and possibly into jail.

They want to change the rules? Fine. The tax is on the firearm - the part with the serial number. Period.

Write your congresscritters. Call them.


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