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Polymer80 Responds to “Unprecedented” ATF Open Letter

You may have heard by now that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) made a sudden change last week to its so-called “Final Rule” regarding unfinished frames and receivers. That’s the rule that goes after what the Biden administration calls “ghost guns.” The change was announced in a December 27 open letter to all federally licensed firearms dealers (FFLs).

Loran Kelley, Jr. and Loran Kelley, Sr.
Polymer80 co-founder and CEO Loran Kelley, Jr., (left) has responded to the ATF’s December 27 open letter. (laptrinhx.com)

If you haven’t seen it yet, here are the high points:

  • The ATF’s Final Rule, as clarified in the ongoing Vanderstok v. Garland lawsuit, allowed the sale of 80% frames and receivers so long as the sale did not include “non firearm objects” (NFO), defined as “associated templates, jigs, molds, equipment, tools, instructions, guides, or marketing materials.” In other words, the unfinished frames are “firearms” if sold with all that stuff. They are not “firearms” if sold alone. I know, it makes no sense to me either.
  • The open letter abruptly changed that policy to make those frames and receivers “firearms” in and of themselves, whether they include the NFO or not. ATF justified the change by explaining the definition of “readily” as in “readily converted.”
  • The sudden change seems to have been prompted by a motion in the Vanderstok case challenging the “Final Rule” as usurping Congressional authority and violating the First Amendment over the literature necessary to finish the frames. ATF looks to be trying to make the First Amendment charge irrelevant. It may do so, but it does seem that the charge of overstepping Executive authority will have to be adjudicated.
 kit with jig
Polymer80 was allowed to sell blanks without the jigs until the ATF suddenly changed its mind. (reddit.com)

The Mag Life published an entire article dealing with the open letter, which you can find here.

Polymer80 Responds

Polymer80 founder and CEO Loran Kelley responded with his own open letter two days later:

DAYTON, Nev. (December 29, 2022) 

Polymer80 Family,

As you may have seen or heard, on Tuesday ATF published an open letter to FFLs declaring that certain Polymer80 blanks are considered “Firearms” under their latest – and unprecedented – interpretation of Final Rule 2021R-0F5. I wanted to personally address this with all of you, our loyal customers, many of whom have been with us since we started in a rundown old maintenance shop on Callen Street in Vacaville, CA.

Over the past several years, Polymer80 has shouldered a considerable amount of legal expenses fighting egregious, unwarranted, and naked assaults on us, our products, and the natural and inalienable rights embedded in the Second Amendment and enshrined in our history.

I want to make three things VERY clear.

1. Polymer80 is not – and I am not – taking the bait. While Polymer80 vehemently disagrees with the open letter, we will take appropriate steps to ensure we continue to remain in compliance with applicable laws or regulations.

 2. In addition to continuing to produce quality products and innovate, we are also modifying existing product lines taking into careful consideration – as best we can given ATF’s constantly changing interpretations of its own rules – ATF’s various positions, statements, and guidance, as well as the Final Rule and challenges to it across the country.

 3. Finally, we are going to fight, as vigorously and fervently as ever, using every resource available to us in the legal system, against the open letter and reclaim our rights.

My ask: Polymer80 has been beyond blessed with the best customers in this industry, hands down, bar none! Out of our respect for you, we have never asked you to donate to assist us or crowdfunded to support our mounting legal expenses. We have always felt that we will prevail because people buy our products and believe in their quality and the outstanding service and support we provide. I stand behind that philosophy – and continue to put you first – to this day.

 In the coming days, you will see more promotions and activity from our retail website than usual, and I ask that you support us by buying our products and being active and engaging customers. In return you will get great products at great prices, and we will use those funds to fight each of the outrageous attempts made to shut us down, including the open letter. I am calling this sales campaign “The War Chest,” because it will enable us to continue to fight and take legal action.

Please join us. Buy our products and support Polymer80. Together, we can take lawful action to stop the continuous encroachment on our lives, the American way of life, and the Second Amendment.

Thank you all and may God bless you all.

Loran Kelley
Founder, CEO

Polymer80 kit without jig
Current Polymer80 kits abided by the rule, but ATF gonna ATF. (polymer80.com)

Moving Forward

How this will all shake out remains to be seen. Kelley is correct to state that Polymer80 will abide by the law. Getting busted by the feds does no one any good. But I’m glad to see that he will continue to fight, and I have some hope that the Vanderstok case will bear fruit for the good guys.

Polymer80 Ar-15 lower receiver with jig
The Vanderstok case might just overturn the ATF’s Frames and Receivers Rule. Maybe. (thefirearmblog.com)

Whichever way the case goes, there will be an appeal. The plaintiffs have a strong case under the Supreme Court’s Bruen Decision, as well as last summer’s West Virginia v. EPA Decision, which limited federal agencies’ ability to make sweeping rules that carry the weight of federal law.

It’s a good time for gun rights advocates. We are winning more than we lose, and even our losses aren’t so bad, considering the appeals process looks favorable to putting many anti-gun laws to bed for good.

2023 looks to be a bellwether year for gun rights. We’ll keep you up to date as we move along.

#Polymer80 #Responds #Unprecedented #ATF #Open #Letter

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