Can you add +2 factory extension to the M1014 Limited Edition? I've heard just like the fixed skeleton stock, it is fixed and can't.
Is it correct?
It's an imported shotgun thus is still regulated under federal law as far as features and function.
You could if you put a standard stock on it.
Wow, there is a lot of bad information out there...
To disagree with the above posts, yes you can add a mag extension to you M1014 LE. First of of all, as I've been saying in other posts on this topic, while this armchair "Firearms Importing For Dummies" interpretation is true IN GENERAL, it does not apply across the board. Like all things gov't, there are exemptions and variances for everything. The "Sporting Purposes" clause does not apply to Benelli because of they qualify for an exception by having the licensing requirements AND bonafide state and federal contracts for the firearms they import. You are free to modify your imported Benelli any way you see fit as 922r does not apply either. They were Form 6'd and came in in that configuration, so there is nothing for 922r to legally grab on to. Furthermore, the fact that the mag tube on your M1014 LE arrived with a threaded mag tube and a removeable 5-round limiter would be a violation in and of itself. The 5-round rule for shotguns means that the magazine capacity can be no more than 5 rounds AND cannot be readily restored to hold more than 5 rounds. That M1014 fake mag extension is removed by simply unscrewing it. You can also easily buy the real extension to put in its place, offered by Benelli. Per the GCA, this would be a violation itself as the M1014 is clearly not "permanently" modified to hold only 5 rounds. Benelli would be guilty of several thousand import violations (one per M1014 imported) if they did not have prior approval to do this. For import purposes, having a removable/ mag tube is exactly the same legal animal as having the true extended mag tube already in place as the gun is "readily restorable" because it can be simply unscrewed. The 5 round magazine violation the "sporting purposes" naysayers always scream about is already a violation on any and all Benellis regardless of what size mag tube is on the gun because the it's the "readily restorable" issue that would otherwise violate the law, NOT the actual capacity of the gun. As I explained before, import restrictions are not like the former AW restrictions in that the 5 round limit for importing specifically adds "not readily restored" language, meaning the imported shotgun must be physically and permanently incapable of holding no more than 5 rounds. The AWB never had this language, it simply said the semi-auto shotgun could not have a pistol grip AND more than a 5 round capacity, the mag capacity need not be "unrestorable" under the AWB, which is exactly why your M1014 LE has a simple, unscrewable mag tube limiter as you bought it. So your M1014 did not come in as a 5 round gun because of import restrictions, it came in that way because of the AWB. Benelli now imports and sells to the the general public the actual M1014 that the USMC buys, full capacity magazine, collapsible stock and all.
Shotguns having magazine capacities of more than 5 rounds are generally not importable and cannot be legally restored to do so once imported, but in the case of Benellis (and several other companies), this does not apply. Exemptions are built into the GCA to unencumber licensed importers who are also licensed manufacturers AND have military or LE contracts for these products, which Benelli qualifies for.
Link please. I'd like to see that in typical government legalese. Thanks!
When will this debate end? I'd love to get one of these but I absolutely hate opperating in the "gray" area when it comes to firearms. Call me a sissy if you want, but I do not want to be the test case for any of these arcaine rules.
Sorry, there is no one link to satisfy you on this one. It's the law, the regulations (CFR), Import Branch dealings, and specific Form 6 submissions and approvals.
Also, don't forget the actual language of the GCA for importation: "...particularly suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes..." The simplicity of this should strike you. All Benellis (and most shotguns in general) are a very quick and easy part swap away from becoming a wood-stocked, 28" barreled hunting gun, clearly falling into "readily adaptable to sporting purpose." It works both ways and that is a big part of it. By the "reasonable man standard" a pistol-gripped Benelli M1 Super 90 Tactical or better yet, an M1014 with a collapsible stock is "readily adaptable to sporting purpose" especially when benelli offers the very parts to do so.
Because the GCA gives very broad and vague power to ATF to determine what is and isn't "sporting," you'll get wildly different experiences. You won't specifically see anywhere in the import regs that something is legal or illegal or sporting or non-sporting because that power and criteria is non-specific and at the sole discretion of. Because the criteria used to determine "sporting purpose" is so broad, there are no clear cut yes and no answers like you find in the Brady Law or the AWB. It's very easy to read a reg and feel like an expert, but that's about a far from the truth as you can get in Importation. Check out the ATF Import Branch Guidelines Book available on their website. Reading that, you'd instantly think all Benellis are illegal as they appear on the benelli website, but practical experience and common sense should over-ride that when you see them for sale in your local gun store and on the Benelli website. That should clue you in that there is a lot more going on than what it might seem.
The reg exceptions aside for a moment, getting approvals to import a firearm is a negoation like anything else. You make a case for your particular firearm. "Readily adaptable" is a strong argument. Having local, state, federal and military customers waiting for Import Branch to act is also a strong argument.
Like I said, there is a lot more going on than your own interpretation of "sporting purpose."
The CFR is online. I lived in Missouri, so you're going to have to show me.
Poke around the ATF website, there's a lot there, especially in the FEIB Guidebook. But you're wanting an understanding of something that comes only through filing your own Form 6, dealing with Import Branch and importing guns. You simply won't find a definitive answer from a single source on this. Even the FEIB Guidebook, what was attempted to be the definitive consumer friendly publication on importing firearms, is extremely vague in this area (using words and phraes like "generally," "case-by-case basis," etc) because there are SO many exceptions and so much changing subjectivity.
Really not trying to duck the "prove it" challenege, just that it's sort of a "you had to be there" sort of thing. Too much work for no return.
If you're that interested, call Benelli's legal department, ask them the hows and whys of it. And they might actually tell you.
But in the end, the most satisfying answer should be found in what I said before: Benelli shotguns (because that's what we're talking about) are "suitable AND readily adaptable to sporting purposes." The configuration it is imported under doesn't matter because it's that very adaptability (to change configurations) that allows it in. The M1014 with a fully collapsible stock is approved for importation, not because of some mistake or gray area, but because the collapsible stock can be easily removed and swapped for a straight stock that is suitable for sporting purposes. You see the pattern? Import Branch will not allow them in if they are not either directly suitable for sporting purposes OR "readily adaptable" to such end. It need not be both, but that would certainly be good too. If it's readily adaptable, then it has to be actually adaptable, meaning swappable barrels, swappable stocks. If is can be swapable TO, say, a Skeet configuration, that is enough to allow importation and no further "sporting configurations" need be identified. It can also be swappable to a defense or security configuration (or be imported that way) as long as it can be swappable TO a single, recognized sporting configuration. That is enough and to say you cannot add a mag extension goes against the very thing that allowed it in in the first place adaptability.
There seems to be a "rifle" viewpoint here that causes a lot of misunderstanding. We all know 922r and the parts count well when it comes to rifles, but some of you think this translates to this as well when it in fact does not. 922r prohibits the domestic assembly or reassembly of an unimportable firearm out of imported parts or modification of an imported firearm into unimportable configuration. If the firearm is being imported in that configuration, which all Benellis are, even if you bought a 5 round-straight stocked model, there is nothing to talk about. The fact that they ARE being imported in that configuration does away with 922r immediately. How can you be creating an unimportable configuration by adding a mag extension if they are in fact being imported WITH mag extensions. Call me crazy, but...
To put it very simply: Benelli shotguns come in based on their direct and recognized sporting purpose (a waterfowl gun for instance) or their recognized adaptability to a sporting purpose (an M1014 CAN be easily adapted to that same waterfowl gun). And because Benellis are imported with >5 round capacity mag tubes and pistol grips and collapsible stocks, 922r does not apply and you are free to add these things to your existing Benelli.
An unimportable shotgun would be one that has a permanent, built-in pistol grip or a folding stock that is not "readily adaptable" to a conventional, "sporting" straight stock. The Neostead shotgun is a perfect example of an unimportable shotgun: A pump-action shotgun (good start) with a pistol grip built into the stock (not removable or adatable), a magazine capacity too high (also not adaptable) for any reasonable sporting use. These cannot be imported.
Anyway, hope this helps and doesn't further confuse. Just that a lot of chicken little stuff flies around thesed boards unecessarily.
Homeinvader, what is your opinion of the letter that I received directly from the BATF stating that it is ILLEGAL to add either a mag extension or working telestock to a Benelli M1014/M4 shotgun?
I have the actual letter in my possession right here in my gun room.
You cannot reason with people like him.
They think that by making a case in their minds and formulating a potential courtroom defense, that means that they are doing is legal. You see it all the time.
In spite of the fact that your letter says it all in no uncertain terms, this individual will refuse to see it.
These are people who have never stood inside of a courtroom, and have zero clue about how legal language is interpreted when zero hour is upon. They think that by making little linguistical end-runs around otherwise cut and dry legalese, that makes what they are doing 'legal'.
What he said here is just spectacularly stupid
It's cute how he says 'bona fide state and federal contracts' as if those having such contracts somehow negates 922R.
Like, somewhere in the language of 922R, it says "If you have bona fide contracts with state or federal agencies, this section does not apply to you, and you can sell your imported guns to whomever you want without any regard to the guidelines contained herein".
His posts have been longwinded, remarkably incorrect blowhardisms.
You are totally correct- your letter from ATF really says it all.
Nevertheless, people like him will never see it no matter how black and white it may be.
In the confines of their minds, they've convinced themselves what they want and there is no telling them otherwise.
Why don't you just shut up before you blather any more nonsense.
A classic example of this would be a Saiga 12.
This is importable for sale to anyone
Same gun, same receiver- hell, with US parts, you can legally modify the former into the latter.
You cannot, however, modify the former into the latter using all imported parts just because ATF allowed the import and sale of the sporter version.
Conversely, you cannot import S12C's (or Benellis with a certain configuration) for civilian sale just because they could theoretically be modified back into a sporter configuration.
That is just such a stupid claim it takes my breath away.
The EXACT same legal governance that applies to Saiga shotguns applies to Benelli shotguns.
You've already spewed some nonsense that Benellis are 'exempt' from these regulations because Benelli has 'federal and state contracts' which is bullshit so pure that scientists with machines couldn't refine it any further.
Everything you have said thus far is predicated on total fucking nonsense, thus, it is a waste of time for anyone to explain things to you.
Your entire position relies on a compendium of things that you've just flat out 'made up' to suit what you wanted to believe.
It would be one thing if you simply misinterpreted a solitary example of legal language and came to the wrong conclusion, but what you have posted here is an example of an individual who spins things around in his own mind until they're made to fit whatever preconception he wanted from the get go.
Most everything homeinvader has said in this thread is totally and demonstrably wrong by every measure. Don't listen to him.
M4Madness is correct.
His letter from the ATF is correct (bullshit, but correct)
homeinvader is a blowhard who knows nothing of which he speaks.
I'll ignore the guy with numbers for a handle. Totally off base.
But M4Madness, couple things about your letter: First of all, it came from the enitrely wrong division at ATFE. Your letter is from the Chief of Programs Division. Not sure why you addressed such a question to that department or if you did at all, but such questions go to Technology Branch. They make determinations as to importability, not Programs Division. That letter is just a form letter quoting law, but it is helpful to a point. Did you actually read the laws and regs quoted? That's not meant to be snide. If you read those and don't just focus on the word "prohibited" in the letter, you'll see why it IS legal. Benelli M1014s are currently being imported in full military dress, complete with collapsible stock and pistol grip. 922r's caveat is that you are prohibited from building an unimportable firearm out of imported parts OR modifying an imported firearm into a non-importable configuration. Like I said in one of my blowhard blathers upstairs, if it is being imported in that configuration, you are free to modify it to that configuration.
Again, do you really think Benelli doesn't know what they are doing? Do you really think all the thousands of of M1, M2, M3 and now M4 models aoout there with extended mag tubes that were imported and purchased that way are illegal? Or could it be that some people don't understand the complexities. Some of you don't understand and are willing to admit it, that's great. Others cannot compete with knowledge and experience, so they act like my 6 year old daughter.
The reason you won't reply to me is because you can't.
The entire premise of what you're saying relies on this.
Benelli doesn't sell direct to individuals. Benelli sells to wholesalers, who sell to FFL dealers, who then sell to the public. Considering that your typical Title 1 FFL dealer is about as bright as a box of shadows your contention that Benelli is somehow endorsing the downward sale of these guns is just stupid.
I could have introduced you to a number of FFL dealers who insisted that selling "Law Enforcement Only" guns and magazines during the ban years to Average Joe was perfectly legal because (insert reason here).
These reasons were usually a bizarre mixture of half-logic, a scant dash of legal knowledge and something involving some ones cousin who works for the Sheriffs Department who says it's OK.
In short, they were as equally convoluted and dumb as the reasons you are giving here.
Yet, to further address this, ask yourself this.
Why is it that Benelli has a moratorium on selling extended magazine tubes?
Call them and ask. They'll tell you.
ATF requested that they stop because lots of people think like you.
It's OK to be wrong, but being wrong and enthusiastic is annoying as hell.
Why is it that the law says otherwise?
How come you say one thing, yet the law says another?
Let's make this simple.
I will wager you $1000 that I am right and you are wrong.
I will gladly deposit this $1000 with an administrator of this website, or put it in escrow.
You do the same.
We submit an inquiry to ATF Legal (BTW- this is a legal matter, not a technical matter so no, it isn't the arena of the tech branch) and whoever is right gets the $1000.
Since you are so sure that you're correct, you should have no problem collecting this free $1000 I am offering.
Wow, your inexperience is astounding...
Technology Branch IS the authority on importability. Any firearm sumbmitted for import approval is sent to Technology Branch who reviews the firearm and submits a report to Import Branch with a yes or no recco based on the law, the regs and their actual review of the physical firearm. Import Branch then handles the permits. Import branch never sees any firearm.
Go the james bardwell's website, look at all the ATF letters he has posted there and notice they are all from Technology Branch, not Programs, not Licensing, and certainly not the non-existent "Legal Dept."
Do your homework my friend.
I notice you are totally unwilling to put your money where you mouth is.
Figured as much... The Internet is fertile ground for people such as yourself.
Yes, this indeed a 'legal' matter and not a technical one. This isn't a question of 'importability' based on sporting features that need to be determined by the tech branch.
This is a legal matter of who can own what guns based on the laws as they're written.
When ATF needs to determine what a magazine tube is, if a safety sear really is a machinegun or if a firearm is suitable for import based on mechanical features and attributes, that's a tech branch matter. They examine the mechanics of things.
When ATF needs to interpret the laws and issue rulings, that is a 'legal' department matter.
Let me make it into a little analogy that you can understand.
When you need someone to determine if your engine is a 4 Cyl or a V6, you send that to a mechanic.
When you need someone to determine if you broke any laws when you ran that red light, you take that to a lawyer.
In spite of the fact that both matters have to do with automobiles, they are handled by different specialists.
The amazingly incompetent ATF Tech branch (who can declare a FAL a machinegun in spite of being totally unable to disassemble one- See the Glover case) handles the 'engine' aspect while the lawyers at ATF interpret the laws.
Really, it's how things work over there with those douche bags.
You can say that I don't know what i'm talking about, but you are the one who has made some of the most absurd claims i've ever read. Your sort of long winded dialogue filled with (laughably wrong) assertive claims and hot air that might confuse the peanut gallery into thinking that you're right, but everyone who actually knows what the fuck they're talking about sees you as a totally clueless individual who talks and talks and talks to cover up the fact that he really has no basis for what he says.
Again, I have $1000 that says I am right and you are wrong...
Care to take me up on this?
I gotta go with Homeinvader on this one. Makes a lot of sense. I have looked everywhere for specific information for the M4/M1014 that "declares" it to be nonsporting, and there is nothing. If anyone knows otherwise, please advise. Until then...
The letter M4Madness has from ATF pretty much lays it out in black and white.
That said, 922R is the real basis for this whole discussion.
homeinvader claims that since Benellis are imported for use by Mil and Domestic LE, that they're exempt from 922R.
The real question you should be asking is for Homeinvader to show you why/where the Benelli is exempted from 922R, for whatever reason he might give. He maintains that you can import a Benelli sporter and configure it with pistol grip and extended tube without the addition of US compliance parts.
Following this logic, I should be able to take a Saiga 12 sporter and configure it into a Saiga 12C without the addition of US compliance parts.
We all agree that 922R is clear as a bell when it comes to what can be imported and what can't.
Ask homeinvader to provide you information that outlines why this specific gun is exempt.
So far, his only real claim is that since it's imported for Government use, it's legal to sell to anyone and legal to reconfigure any way you want.
Asl homeinvader to provide you proof of this.
The real burden of proof here lies with homeinvader.
922R isn't in question. That's very clear.
Homeinvaders claims that the Benelli is magically exempt from it's purview is the main issue.
Tell us why a Benelli can be 'assembled' into a non-sporting configuration in spite of the terms laid out in 922R for imported shotguns.
Show me the exemption.
Black and white? Please read the letter and the applicable statutory provisions again, then let's discuss.
"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 [my note: this means a machine gun] 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; or"
M4Madness' letter from ATF says it is "prohibited" under 925(d)(3), but offers nothing other than a legal conclusion with no rationale. 925(d)(3) REQUIRES ("shall authorize") the A.G. to authorize importation if it meets the criteria. Does ATF ignore: (1) the mandate on the A.G, (2) the M4/M1014 is adaptable to a sporting purpose, and (2) the Attorney General has NOT made any statement at all concerning the importation of the M4/M1014? What about it being a "surplus military firearm"? The letter sent to M4Madness is tantamount to saying, "Oh yeah, those M4's? Those are illegal, you can't modify 'em." The letter is woefully lacking in a full explanation of the applicable law, conspicuously void of factual basis, and of no legal effect whatsoever. I mean, given the complex statutory framework here, you'd think that the federal agency charged with the responsibililty to promulgate regulations and provide advisory opinions in this field would (could?) give people a more reasoned response? In short, I call bullshit.
922(r) regarding assembly (what we end users will be doing) doesn't add anything to this, because it relies on determinations made under 925(d)(3) that the firearm is prohibited from importation to begin with.
I believe Benelli's importation of these shotguns with a fixed stock and 4+1 configuration is erring on the side of caution, but that unless the A.G. specifically names the M4/M1014 as being "nonsporting", then citizens of the U.S. are free to modify their Benelli M4's accordingly.
Finally, please note that I have participated in this thread without making any personally disparaging remarks about any of the contributors to this discussion.
ETA: Aren't the Saiga 12, Benelli M1, and Benelli M3 specifically identified by the A.G. as nonsporting? M4/M1014 is nowhere to be found....
This debate is almost a good as the "m16 bolt carrier in an ar15" one.
I tend to agree with ipguy and homeinvader.
This is my question:
Where does it state that once a shotgun is imported, it must remain
in that imported configuration for the life of the gun??
amuroray's M1014 is already imported and assembled.
I had to cut out a whole lot of nonsense there...
In short, what you are saying is that the ATF is wrong.
Good. Take them to court and prove it.
Till then, they have the authority to make such determinations, like it or not.
I mean, I am not saying I agree with this shit. I am simply repeating the facts.
"Assembly" of a firearm that is prohibited from importation is totally illegal.
The whole US parts thing is a fortunate loophole.
Nevertheless, it's the law as it stands.
Again, if you want to convert a Saiga 12 sporter into a Saiga 12C configuration, you have to add US parts.
homeinvader claims that Benellis are exempt from this.
I ASK HIM TO SHOW ME THIS EXEMPTION IN THE LAW.
Again, can you show me this magical exemption the Benelli has from 922R?
Can you show me this please?
I don't care about your 'feelings' on things.
It doesn't matter what you 'wish'.
922R is clear.
A Benelli shotgun configured in a certain way is a prohibited weapon from importation for civilian sale.
There just isn't any debate here.
Since you people apparently know so much about the law, I would suggest you contact Century Arms International and inform them that no, you don't need to add US parts to those CETMEs, AK47's, FAL's, etc. All you need to do is import them without a pistol grip, then just 'add it all on' later...
Get real, get a clue- go get something.
Base your opinions on things that you can demonstrate and prove.
Base them on reason and logic.
So far, the sum total of the 'Benellis Are Exempt' side of the argument is a grand total of ZILCH in the way of fact.
Lots of 'opinion', lots of 'feelings', lots of conjecture, but when the rubber meets the road and I ask yet again for you to show me this exemption from 922R for Benellis, you can't.
Well, you are agreeing with the wrong people.
Their position shows how little they know about 922R.
922R has to do with imported firearms of a certain configuration, and the amount of imported parts it contains.
There is a list of the parts in question. Barrels, frames, receivers, triggers, sears, etc....
For the sake of ease, we will just address shotguns.
922R says that an imported semi-automatic shotgun cannot have a pistol grip and a magazine capacity that exceeds 5 rounds.
This doesn't matter if it's a SPAS12, a Saiga 12 or a Benelli M1 Super 90.
Furthermore, the law is very clear in that you cannot 'assemble' a non-importable firearm from 10 or more of the listed imported parts. (In this case, 'assembly of a non importable firearm' would be the end user adding the features to teh gun that would prohibit it's importation in the first place)
What is happening with these 'Non Sporting" configured Benellis is that FFL dealers (who themselves are allowed to purchase restricted firearms for sale to LE) are selling restricted Benelli shotguns thinking that they're legal in doing so 'since da assault weapunz ban expired..."
Furthermore, people are assembling their 'sporting' Benelli shotguns into 'non sporting' configurations for the same reasons.
"Duh assault wepinz ban expired..."
Just like the FFL dealer in Central Mississippi who was selling Law Enforcement Only AR15's in 2001 to anyone who wanted to buy one since "there was no law... Once he logged them into his bound book, he could sell them to whoever he wanted..."
These people totally fail to understand that imported firearms are governed under a totally separate criteria. You cannot just 'configure' them any way you wish and stay within the bounds of the (stupid) laws.
The very, very condensed version of this matter is that we all agree that Semi Automatic shotguns with pistol grips and magazine capacities over 5 rounds are prohibited from importation.
The ATF is clear as a bell that it is similarly illegal to 'assemble' such a non-sporting gun from a sporting model.
They are saying the Benelli is exempt from this.... because
They're just flat out wrong.
I mean, look at what logical auspicies they are using to support their position.
"Yeah, Benelli imports these guns with blocked magazines because they're erring on the side of caution..."
How fucking stupid is that....
One more addition to this whole debate...
Why is it do you think that the 'factory' pistol grip stock for the imported, Italian made Beretta FP1201 was an American Choate stock?
Why do you think it is that they imported these guns sans stock and magazine extention, but added them here stateside once Beretta USA parts were added?
Whatever I buy new from Benelli is how Im going to take it. Plain and simple.
No, it doesn't. 922(r) says this:
"It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925 (d)(3) of this chapter as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes..."
So, you have to go through 925(d)(3) and conclude first that the shotgun is not importable, just as I mentioned. But, you said I was "totally wrong". What gives?
Where we differ is 925(d)(3) and what it means.
I'll agree with you that 922(r) prohibits me from "assembling" a shotgun (using imported parts) which is "identical" to a shotgun which is "nonimportable." That's what 922(r) says. So, let's figure out what "nonimportable" means in 925(d)(3).
Please provide us with a cite to the federal statute or regulation that states unambiguously that "semi-automatic shotguns with pistol grips and magazines holding over 5 rounds" are not importable. Because that would seem to trump any determination made by the AG or BATF, right? That would make 925(d)(3) a non-issue, right? But, if there is no such statute or regulation, we're left with 925(d)(3) and some process under which a determination is made by the AG (not the BATF) that such firearms are not importable.
I hear all the talk about writing to BATF and asking for advice, but there is a way to do this without letting BATF propound a blanket statement like M4Madness' letter. Remember, this is the same BATF that was doing "residency checks" on gun buyers at gun shows recently based on information from Form 4473's. As far as BATF was concerned, that's perfectly legal right? Read and weep: ATF "checks"
Maybe the best thing to do is to write a letter to the AG asking specifically whether the AG has made any determinations under 925(d)(3) with respect to the Benelli M4/M1014 as "nonsporting."
Thank you on both points. That's exactly why the discussion is taking place. What's a law-abiding citizen to do when the laws are not clear, but (a) research the best way you can, (b) discuss with other knowledgeable folks, and (c) make written requests for information to the agency that enforces the laws? Benelli has been absolutely no help on this issue.
Here is the text below of the letter I sent this afternoon to BATF. Note that I am asking for documents and information regarding determinations and rulings under 925(d)(3). I am not asking for advice as to what is legal or illegal.
August 24, 2005
Averill P. Graham, Acting Division Chief
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
650 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 8400
Washington, DC 20226
Re: FOIA Request
Dear Mr. Graham:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552.
I request that a copy of all documents containing the following information be provided to me:
Documents (such as determinations, 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/M1014 Super 90 semiautomatic shotgun
In order to help determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am an individual seeking information and it is not for a commercial use.
My request is based entirely on the desire for clarification as to the importability of the above referenced firearms under 18 U.S.C. §925(d)(3), and the right to assemble “identical” firearms under 18 U.S.C. §922(r).
I am aware that I am entitled to make this request under the Freedom of Information Act, and if your agency response is not satisfactory, I am prepared to make an administrative appeal. Please indicate to me the name of the official to whom such an appeal should be addressed.
I am also aware that if my request is denied I am entitled to know the grounds for this denial.
I am also aware that while the law allows your agency to withhold specified categories of exempted information, you are required by law to release any segregable portions that are left after the exempted material has been deleted from the data I am seeking.
I am willing to pay whatever fees that are required to obtain copies of the requested information. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Hopefully, I will receive some helpful information that sheds further light on this issue. If so, I will share it on this forum. Best (or worse) case scenario is that BATF provides some kind of ruling from the AG which states that the Benelli M4/M1014 is "nonsporting" under 925(d)(3).
While some may get the impression that I am flirting with felony violations by questioning how these laws are interpreted, you've got it completely wrong. This entire discussion is intended to gather information so that decisions can be made with confidence, especially in view of Benelli's marketing of the very same retrofits that seem to be the focus of this discussion. It's not like we M4/M1014 owners are trying to obtain contraban parts from out of the country; they're available directly from Benelli in the U.S. specifically for this shotgun. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but when it's unclear, you have to dig deeper to make sure there's nothing else out there.
The letter is from John A. Spurgeon, who is the Chief of the Firearms Programs Division.
I found this on the BATF's website, and mailed it to the address they requested for legal questions:
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives cannot respond to e-mail inquiries relating to technical, policy and/or legal questions. Inquiries of this nature can only be addressed through a letter outlining your questions to the following address:
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Office of Public and Governmental Affairs
650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20226
Benelli heard that I had the letter and requested a copy of it, which I provided to them. Notice that they are still not offering a full-feature civilian version. The only full-feature ones are the LE-marked shotguns. If they could legally sell the full-featured shotguns to civilians, they'd all come in that configuration. 922(r) states that you cannot assemble a firearm that would otherwise be unimportable. Well, since Benelli obviously cannot import a full-feature shotgun for civilians (non-LE marked), we are prohibited from assembling one ourselves. The only loophole is to add the correct number of U.S. parts for it to be considered domestic. And no one makes U.S. compliant parts for Benelli shotguns.
Didn't you send one in late last year?
Is he the guy who handles BATFE FOIA requests?
They are importable, just not for sale to the public at large.
Go fill out a Form 6 and try to import a Sig 551 or a Benelli M1 Super 90 for private use and see what happens.
Furthermore, the Unsoeld Amendment of 1990 makes it "it is illegal "to assemble from imported parts any semi-automatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation" which is what people are doing when they add pistol grips, extended magazines, etc... They're 'assembling' a weapon that is otherwise prohibited from importation.
As is the case with all of these laws, importation for 'official use' is exempt.
What they are addressing when they say 'importation' is the importation for sale to you and I.
So, Uncle Sam can indeed import as many Benellis as he wishes.
Benelli USA can import them all day long- they just cannot sell them to unqualified individuals.
The issue here isn't 'can they be imported under certain circumstances'.
Yes, they can just as machineguns or nuclear material can be imported 'under certain circumstances'.
The issue here is 'can they be imported and sold to anyone'.
The answer is no, they can't.
The next question in this debate is "well, can they be imported as sporters (meaning no pistol grip, collapsable/folding stock, extended magazine tube) and then when it gets here I can just assemble it with those features" and the answer is still no per the Unsoeld Amendment
I understand your logic. Why isn't Benelli selling "full-featured" M4's to civilians? Because it's illegal under 925(d)(3). So, therefore, our assembly (using Benelli's imported parts) is also illegal. But, I wonder if Benelli has refrained from selling "full-featured" M4's because they do not want to push the issue with the AG or ATF, perhaps as a strategic decision, or maybe even as part of an informal agreement with the AG or ATF. If it's the latter, that may explain why Benelli is so close-mouthed about all this other than to say, "We worked it all out; don't worry." Follow me here...
In other words, if they sold the "full-featured" M4's to civilians, this might push the envelope and prompt a full-fledged ruling or determination on the M4's by the AG under 925(d)(3). Once such a determination is made, all importation and sale of "full-featured" M4's would have to cease. Then, when Benelli limits its sales to only the "civilian" version of the M4, end users who want to modify their "civilian" M4's with telestocks and mag extenders would clearly run afoul of 922(r), because a formal "determination" has already been made on the M4 under 925(d)(3). That would mean substantially decreased sales of M4's, and NO sales of telestocks and mag extenders.
Consequently, I can envision a situation where Benelli "agrees" to refrain from selling the full-featured M4's, ostensibly to avoid a 925(d)(3) determination. With no determination, subsequent modifications to those civilian M4's by end users with imported parts cannot (by definition) violate 922(r), because the modified (now full-featured) M4 is not identical to a shotgun that has been specifically prohibited from importation. Almost like a don't ask, don't tell policy, but both sides know what the situation is.
This theory may seem a bit far-fetched to some, but how else can you explain: (a) Benelli's sale of M4's without all the bling, (b) Benelli's verbal-only assurances that everything is kosher with ATF, and (c) Benelli's apparent willingness to sell as many of the telestocks and mag extenders for civilian M4 retrofits as they can? Some of the more cynical among us may conclude that Benelli's sale of such parts is simply corporate America's way of saying that they don't care about the criminal culpability of their customers. However, Benelli stands so much to lose by such behavior that it just would not be a good business decision. If my theory is true, then I'll bet I get virtually nothing from the ATF on the FOIA request, because there probably won't be anything to get.
As for the last FOIA request I sent, ATF regarded me as a commercial requestor, because it was sent on my firm's letterhead. So, they wouldn't send anything unless I pay commercial fees for the information. That was my mistake. So, I am resending the request (slightly modified) on my own personal paper to avert that from happening again.
FOIA's directed to ATF
Good to know.
I have a few FOIA's that I need to make to them myself regarding the NFA registry.
Well, my understanding is that the Unsoeld Amendment (the federal act) is codified as 922(r) so we're talking about the same thing. It still begs the question of whether the M4 is importable for ultimate sale to civilians. I agree that Benelli can import just about anything as long as it's going to the government. As for Benelli importing and selling "sporter" M4's, see my earlier post and to M4Madness on what I think is really happening here.
Remember, after the United States government murdered Randy Weaver's dog, son and wife, it acquitted him of Federal charges.
Hell of a test case.
So instead of bitching about it over countless pages on ARFCOM, who is the first person we can send letters to to try and reverse the 922r while we still have a republican congress and president?
All your points are good ones. I am the Average Joe, too. And I want to know for certain whether a full-featured Benelli M4 will violate the law. So, I am asking around, and doing my best to interpret the law so that I can get that level of confidence. The shotgun is just as much fun to shoot (almost) without the telestock and extended mag, so those parts are not essential.
Second paragraph. Totally agreed. No gun is worth that much. Problem I have is that when you look at other guns and other laws, when is ANY gun under ANY laws worth that much? During the AWB, was it worth it to have a post-ban AR-15? What if local cops and ATF agent "believed" erroneously that you were in possession of an "assault weapon"? How many minutes would it take to explain to the same non-ARFCOM jury that it's really a "nice" gun when it looks exactly like an M-16? You see the point, because this rationale would keep me firearm-free for the rest of my life. Isn't that part of the agenda of the Brady Campaign?
ok guys here some scoopage for you......called Benelli today and spoke to a rep(who said she is going to look into this thread and post some answers) asked what is the ruling on owning an M4 with collapsing stock and mag extension....response it is 100% guaranteed legal to own.....I told her there is a person on these boards with a letter from the BATF stating otherwise....response was what state are you in? followed by AGAIN it is perfectly legal in my area to own a M4 with collapsing stock and 2 shot extension.......what she did say is that the BATF have respectfully asked to stop selling the 4shot extensions FOR NOW. The rep told me they actually got the ok and the 4 shot mag extensions will be on sale soon again but a new bill will be released soon and there just waiting on that to come into play (have no idea just what she told me) also asked about M4s out there that are LE marked...again no ISSUES what so ever before the ban if a civi would have owned one there could have been an issue but now there is no problem......but you can not have an M4 with the collapsing stock or mag extension in CALI NY ETC.........ALSO asked on M1s M3s with pistol grip stocks and mag extensions told her there is talk on that as well and how many say there is alot of people out here running around with illegal configurations....RESPONSE......she broke out laughing at me...asking me where the hell am i getting my information??? it is perfectly legal to have the pistol grip stocks and mag extensions also......back to M4 the shotguns CAN NOT be imported she stated with collapsing stock and mag extension on BUT once in US if you own one and want to add the parts it is PERFECTLY LEGAL TO DO SO.....depending on your state rules and regulations.......she also told me that there legal team discusses issues with the BATF all the time and they would NEVER DO ANYTHING to put this multimillion dollar corporation in any sort of jeapordy OR sell ANYTHING illegal.........well guys there it is I dont know about you but im gonna have to go with what she has told me. I said it once before there is no way in HELL that benelli is going to risk any bullshit and sell stocks or mag extensions if it wasnt ok to do so.........and if it WAS illegal dont you think we would have heard tons of stories of people being busted left and right with these illegal configs??? enough said im tired and my brain is hurting lol
Again, I'll take the BATF's word over the word of some civilian woman who answered the phone at Benelli.
If it cannot be imported, it CANNOT be configured in an unimportable set-up after it is in the country.
Guys, I'm not trying to come off as a defeatist. I sincerely wish that it was legal, as I'd be doing the mods to my shotgun immediately.
I understand....but let me ask you how long has benelli been in business???? I am pretty sure they know what is legal and what isnt.....also if it was illegal to own the parts and config your shot gun why does it say right on there website COLLAPSABLE STOCK LEGAL FOR CIVILIANS TO OWN not to mention the mag extensions....dont you think the BATF would have been notified of this LONG AGO and done something about it?? its CLEAR as day AND out in the open along with ALL the other benelli shotguns I have seen with pistol grips and mag extensions(7 plus one I may add) and have NEVER heard of anyone being busted or arrested for it
Benelli supplies the parts so you can configure your shotgun in a way which they can not do from the factory. Bravo Benelli.
The stock & may be legal for civvies to OWN, but not to put on the shotty UNLESS IT IS 922r compliant.
Read the Letter M4M got back.
I have read M4Madness’s letter and have pasted it here.
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.
John A. Spurgeon
Chief, Firearms Programs Division
Let take a look at the letter line by line.
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.).
I think we can agree on this one. Benelli imports the M4 in compliant configuration.
ASSEMBLY of such a shotgun from imported parts is prohibited under 18, U.S.C. Section 922(r).
Let’s say I go to my local gunstore to buy a new M4. They have one and it is NewInBox.
It has been imported by Benelli. It is in the USA. (This is not overseas, I’m not filling a Form6)
It is factory ASSEMBLED by Benelli. (This is not a Century receiver and a surplus parts kit)
The BAFT wants you to believe that you are the ASSEMBLER by swapping out a part on an already imported shotgun.
Some here agree and some here disagree.
What the letter DID NOT say: Adding a tele-stock or a mag greater than 5 rounds is forbidden under 922R.
Why didn’t the BATF give you a direct answer to your direct question??
They gave you the polital double-talk answer.
Without the 94 AWB, they don’t have much law to rule with.
(NOTE: I am not a lawyer, don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t stay a the HolidayInn either)
Odd there is no mention of the pistol grip in the BATF letter. So I am to assume a straight stock M4 with a mag extention is also illegal?