Is ATF Moving to Confiscate Forced Reset Triggers?

Gun Owners of America, one of the largest pro-gun organizations, has just published what appears to be a leaked internal ATF email documenting their plans to start seizing lawfully-owned, forced-reset, and wide-open triggers beginning immediately.

Gun Owners of America have credibility when it comes to finding out what the ATF is doing before going public. If you remember, they were some of the first to break the news on the ATF considering braced pistols to be short barrel rifles, a very similar situation.

GOA’s video (linked here) discusses how the ATF has just given their Field Agents the go-ahead to start demanding the forfeiture of Rare Breed’s Forced Reset Trigger and BDU’s Wide Open Trigger, which the ATF considers to be a “machine gun.”

The interesting thing about these items is that (as we’ve covered before) they’re not machine guns at all. Anyone in possession of a bump stock violates the Hughes Amendment and the National Firearms Act and is subject to harsh penalties. This situation is very similar to the Bump Stock situation in 2019, where a firearm accessory increases the rate of fire yet does not convert the gun itself to “automatic.” The ATF, of course, cared little for these nuances and ended up considering bump stocks themselves to be “machine guns” in 2019. They’re now seemingly looking to do the same for Forced Reset Triggers.

In the leaked email, these plans for confiscation are detailed further. We can see that the ATF is planning to “take possession of any documents and FRTs” that retailers and manufacturers have. Additionally, it’s detailed in the leaked email that if said manufacturers, distributors, or retailers refuse to comply, the field agents can “seize them for forfeiture.”

One of the most interesting parts of the leak is how the word “defendant” is used. In the email, it reads, “FMS will be collecting the number of FRT’s recovered and number of defendants found in possession of these devices.” It seems that the ATF has already declared those in possession of FRTs to be guilty.

The FRT was an amazingly popular device with wide circulation among gun owners. This leak is disturbing news. But this is just another example of the ATF changing the law on a whim and criminalizing millions overnight. Who knows how many gun owners may be affected by this change in policy?

There’s another aspect to this policy change that is even more sinister, though. The Forced Reset Trigger technically still is a semi-automatic trigger. Even though it may allow the operator to increase their fire rate, the trigger is still being actuated per shot. There’s a reset of the trigger each time it’s pulled. All the Forced Reset does is force the resetting of the trigger to happen.

So, by all logical standards, that trigger is semi-automatic. Gun owners should be very concerned about this. When the ATF banned bump stocks, many people thought they were silly devices that were more of a novelty than anything else, and while that might be true, how they were banned has opened up the path to banning all semi-automatic firearms.

To ban the bump stock, the ATF could only use laws already on the books. That law is the NFA (National Firearms Act). The NFA subjected certain firearms to a regulatory tax and background check for the purchase. Those items are suppressors and short barrel rifles/shotguns. In 1986, the Hughes Amendment was added to FOPA or Firearms Owners Protection Act. This amendment banned possession of all new production machine guns after 1986 altogether. So how did the ATF “ban” bump stocks? By considering them to be machine guns, no bump stocks were made before 1986. So, all bump stocks were effectively banned using the NFA, GCA & FOPA. The ATF is using this same process to ban and criminalize possession of Forced Reset Triggers.

Now here’s why gun owners should be concerned. These devices are not machine guns. They only increase the rate of semi-automatic fire. How long until single-stage triggers are considered machine guns? Then semi-automatic triggers in general- Have you ever seen Jerry Miculek shoot?

For those reading now that think that maybe I’m being paranoid, I’d highly encourage you to read “Legal & Lethal,” an article for Giffords written by none other than failed ATF nominee David Chipman.

In Section 9 of Legal & Lethal, Chipman details his idea that semi-automatic firearms with “large-capacity magazines” in his mind are the same as machine guns, and considering a semi-automatic trigger like Rare Breed’s FRT is another inch closer to that goal.