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Posted: 10/18/2004 5:38:43 PM EST
I received the following reply from the BATF today regarding the Benelli M1014 / M4 super 90 shotgun:

Dear Mr. *****:

This refers to your letter of September 21, 2004, to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in which you ask about adding a telescoping stock and a magazine extension to a Benelli M1014 shotgun.

A shotgun with a telescoping stock or a magazine greater than 5 rounds is prohibited from importation into the United States under the provisions of section 925(d)(3) of Title 18, United states code (U.S.C.). Assembly of such a shotgun from imported parts is prohibited under 18, U.S.C. Section 922(r). The implementing regulations in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 478, Section 478.39 (formerly Part 178, Section 178.39) prohibit assembly of such a shotgun that contains more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of the regulation. Please see the enclosed brochure for further information. Assembly of such a shotgun using 10 or less of the listed import parts is not prohibited. The shotgun is also subject to whatever State laws and local ordinances may apply.

We thank you for your inquiry and trust that the foregoing has been responsive to your request.

Sincerely yours,

(signed)
John A. Spurgeon
Chief, Firearms Programs Division


The brochure contains the following:

(c) For purposes of this section, the imported parts are:

1. Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings, or stampings.
2. Barrels
3. Barrel extensions
4. mounting blocks (trunnions)
5. Muzzle attachments
6. Bolts
7. Bolt carriers
8. Operating rods
9. gas pistons
10. Trigger housings
11. triggers
12. Hammers
13. Sears
14. Disconnectors
15. Buttstocks
16. Pistol grips
17. Forearms, handguards
18. Magazine bodies
19. Followers
20. Floorplates


According to the above letter ruling, adding either a telestock or mag extension to the Benelli M1014 / M4 Super 90 shotgun VIOLATES the law, unless the correct number of U.S. parts are added.

Looks like my plans are screwed...

I will try to scan the original letter soon and provide it to anyone interested.
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 6:02:21 PM EST
Damn, with that strict interpretation, a bunch of people on the Benelli forum are committing felonies.
I wonder why Benelli is handing the stocks out for sale then? And why is the Benelli 11707 for sale to civilians if illegal in that config?
This is why I HATE gun laws.
-Steve
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 8:28:32 PM EST
Do LE departments have an exemption from 922(r)? I've seen M4s with working tele-stocks for sale in gun shops, and they are all marked "LE" right below the ejection port.

Also, based on that interpretation, you can't even add a full length magazine tube to a Benelli (more than 5 rounds, making it a non-importable shotgun), M4 or otherwise. But my Benelli M1S90 was imported after 1989 (but before 1994) and it has a capacity of 9 rounds. Wouldn't it still have to comply with 922(r), or did they add the 5 round restriction as a consequence of the AWB? I want an M4, but it HAS to have a full capacity tube. I could care less about the tele-stock, although it would be nice for storage....

Things that make you go "hummmmmmm."
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 2:48:30 AM EST
M4Madness,

Could you please post this to the Benelli board to see if it gets a response out of Benelli?

Benelli has been conspicuously silent in response to any post that contains a legal question. Perhaps if there is a BATF letter posted to the forum, they will be forced to address it.

Thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 4:53:27 AM EST
Damn, the 922(r) law strikes again!

This is a well-known and irritating cross borne by SKS lovers...
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 7:38:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By ipguy:
M4Madness,

Could you please post this to the Benelli board to see if it gets a response out of Benelli?

Benelli has been conspicuously silent in response to any post that contains a legal question. Perhaps if there is a BATF letter posted to the forum, they will be forced to address it.

Thanks in advance.



I posted this on their site. I'm going to PM one of their staff.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 10:31:16 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/19/2004 11:41:50 AM EST by Master_Blaster]
Someone's got their damned wires crossed on this. I hope the factory can trump this or it'll have some 'splainin' to do.

UPDATE EDIT: Alright. It didn't make sense to me that a well-known, reputable mfg'er would fly blindly into a legal torrent. So, rather than waiting for an official response from them, I called the factory directly & point-blank put it to them. Here's what I got:

The woman on the other end of the line was very helpful & unequivocally stated that Benelli had, indeed, worked w/ the BATF on this to ensure that it would be legal to market the M4S90 telestocks for installation onto the M4S90. She did add that, "...depending on who becomes president, this could change," but that otherwise, as it currently stands, this mod is legal. I did inform her that an internet-posted letter from BATF seemed to indicate otherwise, but she was still adamant as to the legality. I'm hoping they may officially respond, or maybe call BATF w/ a WTF-esque inquiry if they were duped, or if the BATF is just publicly duping itself.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 11:08:37 AM EST
Whoever tacked this, THANKS!

M4,
As for scanned copies if I IM you will you email it to me. I'd like to blank out your name and post it.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 11:39:47 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/19/2004 11:41:04 AM EST by mike103]
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 11:43:05 AM EST
bump
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 12:20:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/19/2004 12:21:28 PM EST by ipguy]
See my response on the Benelli board at:

www.benelliusa.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/1/932.html?
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 12:39:52 PM EST
ipguy,
Your response is wishful thinking. Sorry but it is. The gun is illegal with a telescoping stock or a capacity of 5 rounds or greater UNLESS you have the required number of domestic parts. Unfortunately, I know of no parts manufacturors for Benelli like there is for AKs.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 12:42:46 PM EST
so can you modify it to only hold 5 rounds?
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 12:50:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By dport:
ipguy,
Your response is wishful thinking. Sorry but it is. The gun is illegal with a telescoping stock or a capacity of 5 rounds or greater UNLESS you have the required number of domestic parts. Unfortunately, I know of no parts manufacturors for Benelli like there is for AKs.



See Benelli board post. I'm only working from what I know in the statutes and regs. Since we're talking about criminal culpability here, it has to be crystal clear and then strictly construed. Is there any other writing you can point to that further covers the M4 situation? In the case of the AK's, I believe that such firearms were specifically prohibited under 925(d)(3), so all bets were off with AK's. But, our M4/M1014 case is distinguishable; it is not specifically prohibited. That makes all the difference. Let's flush this out further. Bring it on.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 12:56:35 PM EST
First of all, I can only find M4s that hold five rounds due to the faux mag extension and the plug. The only imported Benelli shotgun I can find that holds more than five rounds is specially designed for competition. I think it's time for Benelli to step up. I have seen post-ban Benellis with a standard stock and a high cap magazine, but I've not found any online tonight.

ipguy,
What are we alternating boards? I was just over there. You're right, it helps if the ATF would give a list or some kind of configuration, but they don't. I guess you can only have the configurations offered by the manufacturor.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 1:03:35 PM EST
Yep, I'm switching back and forth. Should be working.... but this is more fun.

Any agreement with BATF and Benelli would likely come in the form of a letter ruling that might be public, but I don't know how to find that. Sometimes, agencies provide private letter rulings too. Sure would be nice for Benelli to let us see that.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 2:00:56 PM EST
I just fired off a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to BATFE asking for any and all:

Documents (such as rulings, private letter rulings, correspondence, and the like) relating to either or both of Benelli Armi SpA (Italian company) or Benelli USA (its US affiliate) and the legality of importation, assembly, or modification of the following firearms:

(1) Benelli M1 Super 90 semiautomatic shotgun
(2) Benelli M3 Super 90 semiauto/pump shotgun
(3) Benelli M4 Super 90 semiautomatic shotgun

Let's give this 20-30 days and see how they respond. Not sure whether private letter rulings are exempt from access, but I would think this should turn up something. If not, then nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 2:06:14 PM EST
Unfortunately, a telephone interpretation from Benelli doesn't offer much in the way of defense against a 922(r) charge.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 2:12:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/19/2004 2:40:29 PM EST by Master_Blaster]

Originally Posted By ipguy:
Yep, I'm switching back and forth. Should be working.... but this is more fun.

Any agreement with BATF and Benelli would likely come in the form of a letter ruling that might be public, but I don't know how to find that. Sometimes, agencies provide private letter rulings too. Sure would be nice for Benelli to let us see that.



Well, just call me "Double wield", then 'cause that makes it 3 site jumpers (They never sent me my password, so I had to re-register under another name).

ip - does the content of 922(r)? prohibit "evil" configuration of SG's specifically by name, or does it cast a blanket prohibition for firearms that would be interpretted to fall w/ in the "shotgun" classification? My suspician is that the former is the case, which would make the situation legal & support Benelli's assertion.


Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
Unfortunately, a telephone interpretation from Benelli doesn't offer much in the way of defense against a 922(r) charge.



What part of my post uses phrases like "telephone interpretation"? Consider a scenario: If a team of lawyers conducts research into specific regulation on the books & said team proceeds to consult w/ the gov't agency/body charged w/ intepreting & enforcing said laws, is there "telephone interpretting" going on, or is it legal clarification on the part of a knowledgable group of professionals & authorities? If I then consult these authorities as to their finding, am I engaging in "interpretation", or am I consulting them for a direct answer?

As I said, the Benelli rep. repeatedly stated that their attorneys had scrutinized this very issue w/ BATF to ensure legality before proceeding w/ telestock importation & sales. The only restriction she mentioned pertained to state law prohibition - Kalifornya was mentioned specifically. That's not my "interpretation". That's a direct statement from the factory, in plain English, as far as I could gather. No "interpretation" needed. But don't take my word for it. Call them direct & see if you can get them to say otherwise. I'll happily (I won't be happy, but I'll do it) digress if you find otherwise.

To this point, however, they need to clarify the matter w/ BATF to ensure compliance. I suspect that BATF & U.S. Customs would strictly control importation of said stocks if there was an issue. I've also spotted M4S90 "package deals" - gun + stock + feed extension - online, so this would be a rather big issue for BATF & Benelli to be ignoring - assuming they haven't already digested & resolved the matter beforehand.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 2:53:51 PM EST

Originally Posted By Master_Blaster:

Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
Unfortunately, a telephone interpretation from Benelli doesn't offer much in the way of defense against a 922(r) charge.



What part of my post uses phrases like "telephone interpretation"? Consider a scenario: If a team of lawyers conducts research into specific regulation on the books & said team proceeds to consult w/ the gov't agency/body charged w/ intepreting & enforcing said laws, is there "telephone interpretting" going on, or is it legal clarification on the part of a knowledgable group of professionals & authorities? If I then consult these authorities as to their finding, am I engaging in "interpretation", or am I consulting them for a direct answer?




You misunderstand me. The only thing I am saying is that advice over the phone from a private company, or even ATF for that matter, is not an adequate defense against a criminal charge. The "interpretation" part refers to what Benelli said on the phone. The "interpretation" is on their part, even if made in consultation with ATF. Unfoturtunately, that interpretation may be looked at differently by different people, including the US Attorney's office or any court.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 2:55:58 PM EST
I'd like to see where anyone asked for an over-the-phone ruling?

Looks like everyone wants to see something in writing to me.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 3:12:46 PM EST
Having it in writing - w/ specific reference to the M4S90/M1014 - from the BATF would be the way to go.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 3:27:57 PM EST
Well, guys, I just got home from a 12-hour work day and see that this thread has received quite a few responses.

I'd really like to see Benelli work something out with the BATF in order to exempt this shotgun from 922(r). I'd even settle for someone making compliance parts here in the U.S. in order to get the correct parts count, though that would be quite a longshot.

But for now, it is pretty evident that adding EITHER the mag extension or working telestock at this time would be illegal.

I don't have access to a scanner until at least this weekend, but will try my best to get the letter scanned as soon as possible.

Link Posted: 10/19/2004 4:05:27 PM EST
Here's the letter in living color.

Link Posted: 10/20/2004 4:48:27 PM EST
Just a quick observation about the letter - it says that making it from IMPORTED PARTS is illegal - so, as far as the mag extension goes - if it is not imported it would be legal to add to the M1/M3/M4.

5Shot
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 5:01:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By 5Shot:
Just a quick observation about the letter - it says that making it from IMPORTED PARTS is illegal - so, as far as the mag extension goes - if it is not imported it would be legal to add to the M1/M3/M4.

5Shot



Where are you going to find US-made parts for the Benelli shotguns? You have to get the number of foreign parts on the shotgun down to 10 or less to legally add a mag extension or telestock.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 7:16:33 PM EST
I guess that is up to interpretation - I wouldn't say you assembled anything - you modified an existing weapon.

And I am sure that someone here in the goood old USA could make a mag extension for a Benelli if they wanted to.

5Shot
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 9:31:53 PM EST
Section 925(d)(3) of Title 18 USC states:
(d) The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof if the firearm or ammunition—
(3) is of a type that does not fall within the definition of a firearm as defined in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes, excluding surplus military firearms, except in any case where the Attorney General has not authorized the importation of the firearm pursuant to this paragraph, it shall be unlawful to import any frame, receiver, or barrel of such firearm which would be prohibited if assembled;

Nowhere does it say that shotguns cannot have more than 5 rounds or a tele-stock. What it comes down to is an interpretation of the AG (Ashcroft) as to the "sporting" suitability of an individual weapon. It is quite possible that Ashcroft has determined that a full capacity, tele-stock Benelli M4 is suitable for "sporting" purposes, and thus allowed to be imported, modified, etc. I cannot find anything on the AG website that talks about any firearms, so I don't know where to search to find a ruling, one way or the other.

The ATF is NOT the branch that gets to decide what is or is not "sporting." They only get to apply what the AG has determined. It is quite possible that the ATF droid that sent the letter may have just assumed that it wasn't granted an exemption from 925(d)(3) because it is an imported shotgun.....
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 5:23:13 AM EST

Originally Posted By 5Shot:
I guess that is up to interpretation - I wouldn't say you assembled anything - you modified an existing weapon.

And I am sure that someone here in the goood old USA could make a mag extension for a Benelli if they wanted to.



You clearly don't understand how 922(r) works. It has nothing to do with whether the evil part you want to add is made in the US, it's whether the gun itself has ten or fewer imported parts. The set of parts from which this domestic/import list is derived is well defined. You would be hard pressed to get a Benelli down to the ten or less configuration since almost no one in the US is making compliance parts. It is hard enough to make an SKS compliant and yet there's a huge domestic SKS aftermarket.

And assembly means making a prohibited firearm where one did not exist before, no matter how you get there. Including by modifying an otherwise compliant firearm.

This might be a new problem for shotgunners, but as I said before 922(r) is well-understood by the SKS and AK communities.

With regard to this thread, here are a couple observations:

1) It is irrelevant what Benelli USA thinks or what some Benelli rep told anyone over the phone (or even in writing). The only advice that matters here is what the BATF offered, and the BATF has said in writing that it is non-compliant. Not surpising, either, since 922(r) is pretty clear-cut and the BATF letter jibes with it pretty well.

2) To my uncertain knowledge, no one has ever been convicted of a 922(2) violation.

So you takes your chances.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 9:30:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By Mesa_Tactical:

Originally Posted By 5Shot:
I guess that is up to interpretation - I wouldn't say you assembled anything - you modified an existing weapon.

And I am sure that someone here in the goood old USA could make a mag extension for a Benelli if they wanted to.



This might be a new problem for shotgunners, but as I said before 922(r) is well-understood by the SKS and AK communities.



Mesa,

Are the SKS and AK-47's clearly identified by ATF as non-sporting firearms in some written document?

Are the Benelli M4/M1014's clearly identified by ATF as non-sporting firearms in some written document?

No one seems to be able to point me in the direction of a clear written statement from ATF as to the non-sporting nature of the M4/M1014. If there is no such designation, it is not prohibited, and modifications to a non-prohibited firearm does not implicate 922(r).

I understand all about drawing wrong conclusions and "taking chances", but I am just trying to understand why so many people are quick to say that the M4/M1014 was, at some point, prohibited from importation under ANY configuration, whether with extended mag, pistol grip, or telescoping stock. I can't find it. And until I do, I can only conclude that it is a non-prohibited firearm, and that modifications to it of ANY type (barring NFA concerns) are perfectly legal.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:00:15 PM EST
The ball is rolling. Benelli has requested a copy of my letter from the BATF and I just faxed it to them within the last hour. Now they'll need to put their legal team to work...
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:16:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By ipguy:
No one seems to be able to point me in the direction of a clear written statement from ATF as to the non-sporting nature of the M4/M1014. If there is no such designation, it is not prohibited, and modifications to a non-prohibited firearm does not implicate 922(r).



The reason you can not find any, is that there are no Federal Statute, Regulation, or Ruling defining what firearms are not sporting, and thus not importable. That is why there have been no convictions for 18 USC Section 922(r) violations.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 2:17:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By Ekie:

Originally Posted By ipguy:
No one seems to be able to point me in the direction of a clear written statement from ATF as to the non-sporting nature of the M4/M1014. If there is no such designation, it is not prohibited, and modifications to a non-prohibited firearm does not implicate 922(r).



The reason you can not find any, is that there are no Federal Statute, Regulation, or Ruling defining what firearms are not sporting, and thus not importable. That is why there have been no convictions for 18 USC Section 922(r) violations.



My conclusions EXACTLY. And inasmuch as any criminal culpability must be proven by "strict construction" of the statute, there can't be any conviction, because the alleged defendant cannot determine with any certainty whether he is in violation. U.S. attorneys and the ATF probably know this already.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 3:43:37 PM EST
This keeps getting wierder by the day. When I queried Benelli USA directly the other day, I was told that their coprorate attorneys had ironed this out w/ the BATF. If that is indeed true, then the answer to this predicament is going to embarrass someone.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 7:45:28 PM EST

Also, based on that interpretation, you can't even add a full length magazine tube to a Benelli (more than 5 rounds, making it a non-importable shotgun), M4 or otherwise.


So - excuse my ignorance (I guess from some of the other replies to my earlier posts I am more ignorant than most), but what about the M1 "Practical" with an 8 + 1 capacity? Certainly 8 must be more than 5 (I can do simple addition and subtraction). That would seem to allow one to add a mag extension to an M1 (at least one with a standard stock), so some of the BATF argument would seem to be off target a hair.

5Shot
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 8:25:07 PM EST

Originally Posted By ipguy:

Originally Posted By Ekie:

Originally Posted By ipguy:
No one seems to be able to point me in the direction of a clear written statement from ATF as to the non-sporting nature of the M4/M1014. If there is no such designation, it is not prohibited, and modifications to a non-prohibited firearm does not implicate 922(r).



The reason you can not find any, is that there are no Federal Statute, Regulation, or Ruling defining what firearms are not sporting, and thus not importable. That is why there have been no convictions for 18 USC Section 922(r) violations.



My conclusions EXACTLY. And inasmuch as any criminal culpability must be proven by "strict construction" of the statute, there can't be any conviction, because the alleged defendant cannot determine with any certainty whether he is in violation. U.S. attorneys and the ATF probably know this already.



Yeah, you were saying the same thing in more words and beating around the bush. The ATF can truly enforce 922(r) any time they want, all they have to do is to put out a Ruling (note that is a capital R) in the Federal Register defining what is not "sporting" for purposes of importation. Once they have done that 922(r) can be enforced with the full effect of a US Statute.

Interesting observation; have not seen this 922(r) point made on the net prior to the Benelli issue. Seems the Benelli crowd is a bit sharper then say the AK, SKS, and FAL guys.

And a prediction; Benelli will cave, in that the ATF has set up enforcement of 18 USC Section 922(r) to beat up on importers/manufactures/dealers and such at thier whem.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 8:32:49 PM EST
Ekie, on a purely personal level, if ATF were to "rule" on the "nonsporting" nature of the M4/M1014 tomorrow, I would still be in the clear, because I've already got my gun and made my mods. But, I think that Benelli will prevail on this. ATF will likely take notice of the widespread use of these guns for competition, such as with the M1 Practical with its 8+1 capacity. Barrel's too long for carrying it around, so that gun also needs a telescoping stock like the M4!
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 9:15:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By Ekie:

Yeah, you were saying the same thing in more words and beating around the bush. The ATF can truly enforce 922(r) any time they want, all they have to do is to put out a Ruling (note that is a capital R) in the Federal Register defining what is not "sporting" for purposes of importation. Once they have done that 922(r) can be enforced with the full effect of a US Statute.




That is incorrect. Only the AG can determine the suitability for sporting purposes, as clearly stipulated in the law, with regards to 922(r), not the ATF. That is not to say that the AG wouldn't necessarily back up the ATF if they made such a determination.

As for the Benelli M1 Practical, that is a great point. That to me means that any Benelli shotgun can be modified to increase shell capacity. Since an 8+1 Benelli IS importable, then creating a Benelli shotgun with that capacity cannot be in violation of 922(r).
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 5:06:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By ipguy:
Ekie, on a purely personal level, if ATF were to "rule" on the "nonsporting" nature of the M4/M1014 tomorrow, I would still be in the clear, because I've already got my gun and made my mods.



Had not thought of that angle. Don't think they could rule it to be "nonsporting" effective since 1989?


Originally Posted By ipguy:
But, I think that Benelli will prevail on this. ATF will likely take notice of the widespread use of these guns for competition, such as with the M1 Practical with its 8+1 capacity. Barrel's too long for carrying it around, so that gun also needs a telescoping stock like the M4!



We will soon know, hope your right, but don't see that happening.

Link Posted: 10/22/2004 5:33:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By Scollins:

Originally Posted By Ekie:

Yeah, you were saying the same thing in more words and beating around the bush. The ATF can truly enforce 922(r) any time they want, all they have to do is to put out a Ruling (note that is a capital R) in the Federal Register defining what is not "sporting" for purposes of importation. Once they have done that 922(r) can be enforced with the full effect of a US Statute.




That is incorrect. Only the AG can determine the suitability for sporting purposes, as clearly stipulated in the law, with regards to 922(r), not the ATF. That is not to say that the AG wouldn't necessarily back up the ATF if they made such a determination.

As for the Benelli M1 Practical, that is a great point. That to me means that any Benelli shotgun can be modified to increase shell capacity. Since an 8+1 Benelli IS importable, then creating a Benelli shotgun with that capacity cannot be in violation of 922(r).



The difference is the M1 Practical has a regular buttstock. The M1014/M4 have a pistol grip. I'm sure an M4 with a regular stock and an extended magazine is legal.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 6:05:25 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/22/2004 6:22:21 AM EST by Ekie]

Originally Posted By Scollins:

That is incorrect. Only the AG can determine the suitability for sporting purposes, as clearly stipulated in the law, with regards to 922(r), not the ATF. That is not to say that the AG wouldn't necessarily back up the ATF if they made such a determination.



You are actually reading the Statutes, very good, but It is all ready done. I will provide you with an example of a implementing Regulation. Check out the statute granting the Attorney General the authority to limit importation of "nonsporting" firearms, barrels, and receivers/frames. It is 18 USC Section 925(d)(3). The BATFE is the enforcement agency, and some of their implementing Regulations are found in 27 CFR 478. For example, look at 27 CFR 478.113a:


478.113a
Importation of firearm barrels by nonlicensees. (a) A permit will not be issued for a firearm barrel for a handgun not generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes. No firearm barrel shall be imported or brought into the United States or possession thereof by any nonlicensee unless the Director issues a permit authorizing the importation of the firearm barrel.

I will also provide you with a example of the BATFE implementing 18 USC Section 925(d)(3) thru Ruling. Check out ATF Rul. 80-8. You will have to do a google search on that one, I could not copy the text from the document.

So, the BATFE has the authority to write Federal Regulation and Rulings in order to implement 18 USC Section 925(d)(3) and does so. BATFE has not clarified what is and is not "sporting" thru Regulation or Ruling, but do have the authority to do so. Instead it is more fun for them to make it up as they go along, and to enforce it thru denial of Form 6's, thru intimidation of license holders, and by sending out nasty letters to scare gun owners.

Link Posted: 10/22/2004 7:34:10 AM EST
Here is how this power is delgated to the BATFE:

3. AUTHORITIES, FUNCTIONS, AND POWERS OF THE ADMINISTRATOR. The Administrator shall exercise the authorities, perform the functions, and carry out the duties of the Secretary in the administration and enforcement of:

a. Chapters 51 and 52 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
b. Sections 4181 and 4182 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and
c. Title 27, United States Code.

You can read the whole thing here:

www.treas.gov/regs/to120-01.htm

Link Posted: 10/22/2004 3:49:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By dport:
The difference is the M1 Practical has a regular buttstock. The M1014/M4 have a pistol grip. I'm sure an M4 with a regular stock and an extended magazine is legal.



According to the BATF letter, this isn't true - it says a telescoping stock OR a magazine greater than 5 rounds is prohibited. So, it is pretty obvious that even they don't know their own rules.

5Shot
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 6:26:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By 5Shot:

Originally Posted By dport:
The difference is the M1 Practical has a regular buttstock. The M1014/M4 have a pistol grip. I'm sure an M4 with a regular stock and an extended magazine is legal.



According to the BATF letter, this isn't true - it says a telescoping stock OR a magazine greater than 5 rounds is prohibited. So, it is pretty obvious that even they don't know their own rules.

5Shot



If you read the whole letter it refers to adding either of these items to the M1014, which from the factory comes with a pistol grip stock. Please do try to keep up.
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 6:29:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/22/2004 6:33:28 PM EST by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By stevenb:
Damn, with that strict interpretation, a bunch of people on the Benelli forum are committing felonies.
I wonder why Benelli is handing the stocks out for sale then? And why is the Benelli 11707 for sale to civilians if illegal in that config?
This is why I HATE gun laws.
-Steve



Because they also fit the M1 Super 90 (or whatever their pump-only tac shotgun is)?

Also, does Benelli make shotguns here in the USA (IIRC, they are owned by Beretta... Or is that Franchi?)? Or are they just imported?
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 7:59:19 PM EST

A shotgun with a telescoping stock or a magazine greater than 5 rounds is prohibited from importation into the United States



Originally Posted By dport:
If you read the whole letter it refers to adding either of these items to the M1014, which from the factory comes with a pistol grip stock. Please do try to keep up.



Can you show me where it says adding a magazine extension to a M1014 is illegal? - The letter clearly says that a "Shotgun" with a magazine of more than 5 rounds is prohibited from being imported and thus adding an extension to any imported shotgun, M1014 or otherwise, is illegal. This is contradicted by the "Practical" model - which IS imported. I think I am doing just fine in "keeping up" and I don't appreciate the response.

5Shot
Link Posted: 10/22/2004 10:14:44 PM EST
Is it because the Practical has a standard stock instead of a pistol grip stock? I thought that was assault weapon ban BS that went away?

-Steve
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 4:16:16 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/23/2004 4:31:43 AM EST by dport]

Originally Posted By 5Shot:
Can you show me where it says adding a magazine extension to a M1014 is illegal? - The letter clearly says that a "Shotgun" with a magazine of more than 5 rounds is prohibited from being imported and thus adding an extension to any imported shotgun, M1014 or otherwise, is illegal. This is contradicted by the "Practical" model - which IS imported. I think I am doing just fine in "keeping up" and I don't appreciate the response.

5Shot



I don't care what you do and do not appreciate. I'm tired of trying to explain this situation to people over the internet. If you want to know what is and is not legal then WRITE THE ATF like M4madness did and quit asking people over the internet.

The standard stock with the mag extension is OBVIOUSLY a legal configuration because not only is the M1 practical imported but the FN autoloader is and so are a few other shotguns. They are all in that configuration.
Fabarms
FN

This letter from the ATF specifically addresses the issue of the M1014, which comes with a pistol grip.

If you want to know what is and is not legal for an imported shotgun or semi-automatic rifle you might as well use the now dead AWB. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that's what they use as a guide. But don't take my word for it, write or call the ATF yourself.

ETA: M4's letter to the ATF was specifically about the M1014 and two particular mods to the shotgun, the telestock and the mag extension. Both were addressed in the letter. No legal configurations were discussed, neither was any other shotgun. If you write the ATF about a specific question, they will give you a specific answer. No more no less. To try to decipher the ATF's inport policy about shotguns from one sentence in a letter specifically addressing the M1014 is foolish at best. This one sentence was worded poorly, and the proof of that is in the guns that the ATF is allowing in the country. It's not a matter of knowing or not knowing their own rules. It's a matter of one poorly worded sentence in a letter specifically addressing the M1014.

If you don't believe me, which I wouldn't trust my freedom to someone over the internet, then write the ATF specifically asking what configuration is legal with an extended magazine. Be sure to cite the three known examples of already imported shotguns-M1, FN, and Fabarms. When you get a response I'll host a copy of the letter and post it here for all to see. It's a standing offer. All that is needed is for someone to IM me for my email address.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 4:18:05 AM EST

Originally Posted By Dave_A:
Because they also fit the M1 Super 90 (or whatever their pump-only tac shotgun is)?

Also, does Benelli make shotguns here in the USA (IIRC, they are owned by Beretta... Or is that Franchi?)? Or are they just imported?



Their only pump-only design is the Nova. The receiver and the buttstock is molded together, so none of the other stocks will fit.

Benelli guns are all imported.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 4:33:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By stevenb:
Is it because the Practical has a standard stock instead of a pistol grip stock? I thought that was assault weapon ban BS that went away?

-Steve



Not really, the importation ban of 1990 is still in effect. I never sunsets. So just be aware that modifying imports without the correct number of US made parts is technically illegal.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 9:10:01 AM EST
dport,

I disagree with your analysis of the ATF letter, and I believe the ATF letter is simply wrong. But then, that's why we have these forums so that readers can draw their own conclusions after we fight it out over this. Your are a cautious man, and understandably so. I should probably be more cautious myself. However, I will say once again, there is nothing concrete that ATF is using to support its declaration that the identified modifications to the M4/M1014 are illegal.

925(d)(3) requires a determination that allows a comparison between what is "prohibited" with something that is "identical". That presupposes that there is some specific firearm, either by name or with reference to a complete feature set, that is prohibited from import because of a determination that it is non-sporting. You are of the opinion that ALL imported semi-auto shotguns with pistol grips, extended mags, and telescoping stocks are illegal. I have to ask: where are you reading this? And don't tell me M4Madness' letter, because that ain't law, either in statute or regulation.

I know of nothing in writing that prohibits the importation of the M4/M1014 with all the "evil" features. Until I hear otherwise, I am of the opinion that the ATF either: (a) doesn't know what it's talking about, or (b) is blowing smoke, because it knows it can influence firearm purchases and use merely by the power of a simple letter that completely lacks the most critical piece of information that we need, i.e. a specific determination of "non-sporting" for the M4/M1014.

As for 5shot's comments, I believe they were right on point, and that your comments about him not "keeping up" were condescending. No need for all that. 5shot's comments, and my own and perhaps many others are because we want something legally specific about the M4/M1014, because we have exhausted our reading and analysis of 922(r), 925(d)(3), and regulation 478.39, and we are left with a gaping hole in the ATF position. Are they holding something back? Why? If not, then it's simply not there, and our modified M4's are perfectly legal, because they're not "prohibited" under 922(r).

I suppose there's nothing more to say on the issue other than "time will tell."
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