Or is he?
I am unclear.
The new BATFE ruling (PDF File here) equates many basic gunsmithing functions with manufacturing, and would seem to force many current Type 01-Gunsmith FFL holders into re-upping ASAP as Type07 FFL manufacturers, or face being in violation of a shipload of regulations. So, without futher racket, here is the text of the letter I sent to ATF, looking for clarification.
Firearms Technology Branch
244 Needy Road
Martinsburg, WV 25405
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to request clarification regarding the ATF’s current legal stance regarding firearm refinishing conducted by a Type 01 FFL- holding gunsmith, specifically refinishing processes performed on weapons brought in or sent in to the gunsmith by the current individual owner for the purposes of rust proofing, Parkerizing, plating, epoxy coating, camouflaging, and/or heat treating.
The ATF ruling “Manufacturing of Firearms” dated August 15th, 2008 (enclosed “attachment A”) clearly states (item 14) that “ATF has determined that both colorization and heat treating of firearms are manufacturing processes The companies performing these processes are required to be licensed as manufacturers.”“firearms or firearms receivers ands send the firearms/receivers out for colorizing (bluing, camouflaging, phosphating, or plating) and/or heat treating. HOWEVER, this response was to a question (also Item 14) which refers to a COMPANY that produces
My concern is that a Type 01 FFL Gunsmith who performs a heat treatment, or a refinishing procedure on a worn or damaged firearm (or receiver) finds themselves potentially misclassified as someone who should hold a Type 07 manufacturing FFL, when there is no viable manufacturing of a complete receiver or firearm occurring.
Without clarification, this ruling might be misinterpreted to reclassify a licensed gunsmith who:
A) Repaints a front sight on a handgun when the paint has worn off, or
B) Changes or replaces a fiber optic insert on a front sight from one color to another, or
C) Heat treats a slide, cylinder, or even a serialized frame or receiver that has been through a fire, for restoration and safety
D) Re-parkerizes the same fire damaged firearm, or
E) Nickel plates an antique family heirloom firearm for a customer, or
F) Camouflages a firearm for duty usage for a local Law Enforcement agency, or
G) Finishes a firearm for a customer who has legally made his own firearm for personal use, having filed the appropriate ATF E-Form 1 (5320.1) or
H) Epoxy clear-coats a rifle to prevent its rusting, or
J) Plates a worn part to increase its thickness and make it serviceable again, or
K) Refinishes a pink “girls” rifle to a blue “boys” rifle, or
L) Refinishes an upper receiver and lower receiver on a firearm so that the colors match.
As you can see by my examples, the possibilities for misunderstanding in this situation are quite numerous.
It is also my understanding that as of the time of this writing (August 20th, 2008) that firearms refinishing is not a taxable event for the purposes of collecting Federal Excise Tax, per
(Below the heading of “Gunsmiths,” exact text of TTB webpage section is included on separate pages as “Attachment B.”)
With the above being true, it would seem illogical for a type 01 FFL Gunsmith to be reclassified as a Type 07 FFL Manufacturer solely on the basis of performing a “manufacturing process”on a firearm/receiver brought in to a gunsmith for repair and/or refinishing. (Much as actual firearms manufacturers will likely need to be or employ gunsmiths and finishers, not all gunsmiths or refinishers being manufacturers; as a person that repaints an automobile is not a full automobile manufacturer, yet an auto manufacturer will surely employ painters.)