ATF’s vagueness on frame and receiver rule harming businesses, gun rights

by Lee Williams

Companies selling 80% receivers and other homemade firearm parts have been getting uncomfortable calls and questions from their credit card firms and payment processors. Their ability to process payments could soon end, they’re being told.

Grid Defense, formerly Ghost Firearms, which is located in Daytona Beach, Florida, got a call from their Mastercard payment processor Wednesday.

“We were told we may be violating some of their policies regarding ATF’s new frame and receiver rule,” said TJ, co-owner of Grid Defense.

To be clear, he does not blame their payment processor or even Mastercard. He blames the ATF for not providing accurate and timely guidance. Of course, his biggest concern is what will come next – when will the ATF tell the financial industry that ARs or even ammunition should not be purchased with credit cards.

“The ATF is not being clear about their frame and receiver rule, which went into effect last month, so they’re causing private companies to be confused about their ruling, and it is going to negatively effect this industry,” he said. “The ATF likes to muddy the waters with confusion, and it’s starting to effect American commerce and the Second Amendment. I hope these large financial companies choose to support the Second Amendment. If they don’t and the ATF will muddy the waters over unfinished receivers, what will be next?”

For his business, the frame and receiver rule is relatively simple, TJ said. The 80% AR receivers he sells do not come with drilling jigs or finishing instructions. As such, they’re considered an unfinished receiver and not a firearm.

“As far as the federal government will tell you – the ways they’ve described the rule – unfinished receivers without a jig or finishing instructions remain fully legal and not a firearm,” TJ said. “Nothing has theoretically changed since the way business was done previously, with respect to the aluminum 80% AR-type receivers.”

Grid Defense has already received several determination letters from the ATF, and recently submitted several more determination requests.

“The ATF is not answering those, which is causing private financial companies to react even though it’s not necessarily the law, because of the ATF’s unwillingness to give further guidance on the matter,” TJ said. “We are fortunate. We believe our payment processor is 2A-friendly and that they are on board with disputing allegations that we are violating the rules. We have worked with them, but we believe Mastercard may not understand it and is not getting the correct guidance from the ATF.”

Grid Defense has reached out to other businesses offering similar products, and was told they, too, are being questioned.

“We can still sell and ship products to customers. We can still do it,” TJ said. “There’s no reason we’re not allowed to take payment processing for them.” ATF Public Information Officers in Florida did not return calls seeking comment for this story.


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