“Sipsey Street Irregulars can now confirm the broad outlines of a story first disclosed two days ago,” colleague Mike Vanderboegh reported Sunday from the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville. “Last week, a secret deal involving the National Rifle Association lobbying arm and brokered by politicians of both national political parties was struck in Washington DC that would save the ATF from the political and legal consequences of its own regulatory errors.
“In the process, this deal would broaden the language of the 1968 Gun Control Act regarding ‘sporting purposes’ and allow ATF to extract itself from the potentially catastrophic political damage of enforcing its arbitrary ruling that makes every owner of a pistol grip 12 Gauge shotgun like the Mossberg Cruiser a felon in possession of a ‘destructive device’ subject to the penalties of the National Firearms Act of 1934 — currently up to 10 years in federal prison and a quarter million dollar fine,” Vanderboegh elaborated.
The “crisis” for ATF has been precipitated by its own actions, which are at risk of receiving unwelcome judicial scrutiny, sources told Vanderboegh. “At some point, unless the Congress gives them the cover by changing the law, they are going to have to explain that in open court,” he was told.
The “deal” to provide that cover has three components. The first, broadening “sporting purposes” language, will ensure owners of “pistol grip shotgun-like firearms” don’t get caught up in a net of ATF’s making, Vanderboegh reports. The second part will credit NRA for arranging that, and the third will involve a concession — an ammunition import ban on “specialty ammunition,” to include tracers, Vanderboegh continues, albeit noting the main objective is “knocking a bigger hole in the Constitution by (widening the ‘sporting purposes’ language)…”