BREAKING:  BATFE set to Expand NFA 1934

Inside sources who wish to remain nameless have reported that the BATFE is preparing to announce a new memorandum. One that will broaden and redefine the National Firearms Act of 1934. Confidential informants state that after consideration, ATF officials have concluded that more detailed guidelines be put in place. This is to further determine what is and is not a “destructive device” or an “NFA ” regulated item.

The NFA gave ATF the authority to define with is and is not a firearm. To define what is and is not a destructive device. To define what is and is not a handgun, shotgun, or long gun, and what is “Any Other Weapon”. As a result, the ATF feels more classifications are necessary.

Given their authority to define and authorize minimum barrel length, minimum overall length for rifles and shotguns, the new memorandum will add a “minimum weight” classification to all firearms. Firearms deemed to fall below the minimum weight standard will become NFA items and require registration and tax stamp applications. No grandfather clause allowed.  One agent working on the new memorandum stated,

“Since the original NFA 34 went into effect, manufacturers have been using new components, such as aluminum and polymer, to reduce the overall weight of firearms. In 1934 they did not anticipate this drastic reduction in weight. Light-weight guns are much easier for criminals to carry concealed on their bodies and lighter guns translate to terrorists being able to carry more ammunition for the same weight.

Not to mention the fact that plastic and aluminum being used to defeat metal detectors. Having considered all of the previous information, the ATF will institute minimum weight requirements for all handguns, rifles and shotguns in order to bring them into compliance with the spirit of the law.”

Memorandum Details

To further elaborate, insiders have informed us that firearms in common use in 1934 are going to be the standard. In addition to the terms “Short-barrel Rifle” SBR and “Short-barreled Shotgun” SBS, a new official term “Light-weight Gun” LWG is going to be an addition to the NFA 1934 list of definitions.

A requirement will be for all firearms to meet the weight standard in original factory condition. That is without ammunition or any magazine or accessory attached. Once filed, the memorandum will apply the following minimum weight standards:

All handguns must meet the M1911A1 weight standard (Colt Mfg)
All handguns must meet the M1911A1 weight standard (Colt Mfg)

Handguns – Colt M1911A1  2.4 pounds (empty / no magazine)

Manually-loaded Rifles –  Springfield M1903 8.7 pounds (empty)

Self-loading Rifles – Thompson M1928A1  10.8 pounds (empty / no magazine)

Shotguns – Winchester Model 1897  7.94 pounds (empty)

Ownership, Possession, and Registration

Calculation of all weights will be at Sea Level standard. BATFE field agents will receive instructions to use calibrated United States Postal Service scales. Any firearm found to be under the minimum weight standard as set forth by memorandum shall be immediately forfeit and confiscated by ATF personnel.

Possession of an unregistered LWG is a felony offense identical to that of illegal possession of an SBR. As a result, owners of LWG items at date of memorandum will have ninety (90) days from said date to register said items. Otherwise, they must surrender them to a regional office of the BATFE or other Federal law enforcement agency.

M1928A1, the new weight standard for self-loading rifles. (Thompson Mfg)
M1928A1, the new weight standard for self-loading rifles. (Thompson Mfg)

Ok, Maybe Not

Okay, you got me, this is a farcical article, a lampoon if you will. However, I must ask you, how many of you believed or still believe that this is possible? I know many out there are yelling at their phones or computers saying how “stupid” or “ridiculous” is the idea of the ATF instituting a minimum weight standard for guns. Sometimes you need to illustrate absurdity by being absurd.

Throughout the history of the United States of America, until 1934, manufactures had engineers determined the length of a firearm. Performance desires and practically is what based the barrel length. Then one day, a newly form government tax collection agency got together around a table. Government bureaucrats arbitrarily decided what minimum barrel length a rifle and shotgun could have as well as the overall length.  A sixteen inch rifle barrel is safe for the peasants to have, but a 15 inch rifle barrel makes the gun insanely dangerous and it requires registration and regulation. Ditto for the shotgun, a 17 inch shotgun barrel turns the gun into a hyper-lethal death machine.

In All Seriousness

Let us be serious for a moment. What legal precedent is there to prevent such a far-fetched idea as minimum weight from becoming reality? The National Firearms Act of 1934 gives carte blanche freedom to the ATF to define what is a legally owned firearm, what is an NFA item, and what is a Destructive Device. The precedent for overreach was set long ago. Such as, if you put a ten dollar plastic foregrip on a pistol, it transforms into an “AOW” by ATF standards. That piece of plastic somehow turns the gun into a super killer death machine.

The LCR by Ruger uses polymer and aluminum, classifying it as a Light-weight Gun/LWG (Sturm, Ruger Mfg)
The LCR uses polymer and aluminum, classifying it as a Light-weight Gun/LWG (Sturm, Ruger Mfg)

In 1994 the BATFE “ruled” that the USAS-12, Striker 12, and Street Sweeper 12 gauge shotguns were all “destructive devices” and thereby prohibited for ownership without registration and a license to possess a destructive device. Up to that date, all three guns had been perfectly legal over the counter firearms. These guns were not made illegal by act of Congress, they were “reclassified” by the ruling of an autonomous Federal bureaucracy.


Do I need to remind you that with the stroke of a pen, 5.45x39mm ammunition that was legal to import yesterday is now banned today? There were no public hearings, no vote, no legislation, merely the whim of a government agency.

Like it or not, in the United States of America, the people (the boss) who are meant to be in charge of the nation have allowed their representatives (the employees) to create autonomous bureaucratic agencies. By creating self-regulating agencies with the power to define and redefine laws, rules, and regulations, the Congress of the United States violated their Constitutional duty as direct representatives of the people.

When you allow a self-regulating agency you do not have the Representative Republic. They do not answer directly to the voters, to de facto create law via rulings and redefinition. Hell, you don’t even have a democracy as uneducated morons are fond of referring to the USA. In fact, what you have is an Oligarchy where an elite class set themselves above the peasant class. Never forget that the rulings and regulations issued forth by the ATF and other government agencies always exempt the State and members of the state. The rules only apply to the peasantry which is the near textbook definition of tyranny.

Before you dismiss a “minimum weight standard” are ridiculous, ask yourself why it could not happen. The history of the modern United States shows that such behavior by government is actually more likely to occur than not to occur. Keep playing your fantasy games and calling yourself a “reasonable gun owner” and a “sportsman”.  When you wake up and that which you care about has been made illegal via memorandum, you will have no one to blame but yourself.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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