History is being made as you read this
For those of you unfamiliar with our nation's various firearm laws, it is legal for a private American citizen to own a machine gun (a firearm that will continue to fire until the trigger is released). However, an amendment to the "Firearm Owner Protection Act" of 1986 said that citizens - specifically "persons" - cannot manufacture new ones past that date.
Recently and unrelated to FOPA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms stated that unincorporated trusts were not "persons." Several people, acting as trustees for their trusts, took this to mean that the FOPA prohibition did not cover their legal entities and applied for a tax stamp that would allow them to manufacture new machine guns.
The ATF processed, investigated and approved those requests.
These citizens proceeded to modify firearms to be able to fire automatically, in accordance with the approval. The ATF then simply changed their minds. Despite having no regulatory or legal authority to do so, they declared the stamps "revoked," demanded that they be returned, and told the trustees that their firearms were illegal and must now be surrendered.
This would seem like nothing more than yet another deplorable example of laws being replaced by legal whim, capriciously turning law abiding citizens into instant criminals. Except this time someone is fighting it.
Mississippi attorney Stephen D. Stamboulieh has filed his first - apparently of several - complaints in Federal court, suing the ATF and Eric Holder to force them to either remove the FOPA restriction entirely or to hold to *their own ruling* that trusts are not covered by it. And, making his effort even more noteworthy, he is using crowdsourcing to fund his fight.
I've had the pleasure of speaking and corresponding with Stephen and hope to have an interview with him posted to our website in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to support his efforts to make Federal law enforcement *obey their own rules* by donating at http://www.gofundme.com/fmxlnk.