The conviction of former Marine Hisashi Pompey is the latest reminder of the importance of understanding different states' firearms laws before traveling.
Over six years ago, Pompey, a Virginia resident and Marine Corps military policeman, had visited New Jersey--armed. Unbeknownst to Pompey, the gun he legally owned and carried in Virginia was unlawful to possess in New Jersey. He was arrested after his friend allegedly took Pompey's holstered pistol following an altercation at a night club. Pompey was charged and a jury convicted him of felony possession of an unlawful firearm. He was due to report to jail just over a week ago for a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison. Fortunately, Governor Chris Christie commuted his sentence; however, as a convicted felon, Pompey may not possess a firearm without a pardon by the New Jersey governor.
To learn more about this case, and to see an interview of Arsenal Attorneys' George Lyon, see this video from Channel WUSA-9 in Washington, DC.
People obviously focus on federal law when obtaining suppressors, short barrel rifles, machine guns, etc., because these firearms are regulated by a federal agency (BATFE) under the National Firearms Act (NFA). State law is usually ignored except to confirm NFA firearms are legal to possess in a given jurisdiction. Unfortunately, people often overlook the importance of state law concerning the duration of their NFA trust. What's worse is that most gun trusts are designed to terminate regardless of whether state law would allow a trust to continue.
On April 3rd, ATF announced a major reorganization of the NFA Division. This could be significant news because outside observers have been looking for some indication of what would happen to the NFA Division after it completes its current backlog of applications for NFA firearms.
The backlog is a result of the rush of applicants who submitted NFA registrations before the executive action known as '41F' took effect on July 13, 2016--and thereby avoid fingerprinting and photographs. Industry observers were concerned ATF would reduce personnel of the NFA Division once the 41F backlog declines. Thus, the current low volume of post-41F applications could experience the same slow processing times becuase NFA Division would have fewer staff.
Instead of a reduction, ATF announced the creation of two branches within the NFA Division. The Industry Processing Branch (NFA IPBD) will process applications from the private sector. The Government Support Branch (NFA GSB) will handle SOT applications, government applications, law enforcement, etc. Additionally a new NFA Division Staff Program Office will handle inquiries, data collection, and FOIA requests.
ATF's objectives? Better oversight, reduced processing times, and efficiency. Time will tell.
Currently, the firearms industry, particularly the silencer segment, is experiencing a steep decline in demand. Bargains are becoming more frequent. Once the public observes quicker NFA approvals from ATF, demand for silencers, etc., will increase, and the bargains will disappear. Consequently, this could be the right time to buy NFA firearms to take advantage of lower prices and faster approvals.
We continue to receive questions about 'solvent traps' ostensibly sold as kits attached to a gun's muzzle to catch cleaning materials and debris. In January of this year ATF stepped up enforcement by shutting down solvent trap companies because, ATF alleged, they had intended the solvent traps to be silencers. Like wrist braces, Can Cannons, and silencer wipes, this is another case of ATF flip flopping. The public must stay informed about ATF policies. An item assumed to be legal to buy today, could later be recategorized as an NFA firearm requiring registration.
ATF issued a letter explaining its enforcement was based on 'constructive intent.' Here is an excerpt:
The stated intent of a solvent trap is to catch and trap gun cleaning solvent during bore cleaning operations commonly performed on firearms. Solvent traps do attach to the muzzle of a firearm but do not have any design features intended to allow a bullet to pass through them. Since as originally manufactured they are not intended to silence, muffle or diminish the report of a portable firearm they are not silencers as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(24) and thus also are not firearms as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3) or 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(7).
However, if the solvent trapped was redesigned or utilized to assemble a device for silencing, muffling or diminishing the report of a portable firearm or if intent was demonstrated to use the device for silencing, muffling or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, the solvent trap would be classified as a “firearm silencer” as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(24) and as a “firearm” as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3)(C) and 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a)(7).
This issue demonstrates the burden on the public to keep alert of changes in ATF policy. To stay informed about firearms law and regulations, subscribe to Arsenal Attorneys email newsletter by completing the subscription form at the bottom of our home page. You can also follow us on Facebook.
Arsenal Attorneys' latest newsletter, dated March 28, 2017, is now available online. To subscribe, use the newsletter subscription form on the bottom of our home page. In this issue, we address:
The newsletter can be found online at this link.
Arsenal Attorneys are proud to lead the volunteer committee for the second annual National Capital Friends of NRA (NCFNRA) banquet taking place on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia. The event will feature a VIP reception, entertainment, auctions, drawings, and games.
Honored guests will include Congressman Dave Brat, Delegate Dave LaRock, Gemtech CEO Ron Martinez, Silencer Shop CEO Dave Matheny, National Sheriffs' Association Executive Director Jonathan Thompson, and Liberty Farm's Martha Boneta.
In its first year, NCFNRA broke several records in fundraising for the NRA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization offering grants for public interest grants, including youth shooting sports, law enforcement training, hunter safety, the National Firearms Museum, and more. This will be an even bigger and more exciting event to celebrate the Second Amendment.
Contact Arsenal Attorneys if you wish to volunteer, donate, or sponsor the event.
Tickets sold out last year well before the event, and we're experiencing stronger demand this year. Buy your tickets now at this link.
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