California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

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California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

Postby jdege on Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:53 pm

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/10/12/a-california-man-sold-illegal-ar-15s-feds-agreed-to-let-him-go-free-to-avoid-hurting-gun-control-efforts/
A California man sold illegal AR-15s. Feds agreed to let him go free to avoid hurting gun control efforts
For more than a year, Joseph Roh illegally manufactured AR-15-style rifles in a warehouse south of Los Angeles.
[...]
But five years after raiding his business and indicting him, federal authorities quietly cut a deal with Roh earlier this year and agreed to drop the charges.

Why?

The judge in the case had issued a tentative order that, in the eyes of prosecutors, threatened to upend the decades-old Gun Control Act and “seriously undermine the ATF’s ability to trace and regulate firearms nationwide.”
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Re: California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

Postby Holland&Holland on Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:45 pm

Interesting read but doubt it really changes anything.
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Re: California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

Postby Lumpy on Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:03 pm

As I understand it, the case was over at what point a "build party" crossed the line into being a gun manufacturer. Doubtless Roh tried to stay just this side of the law, and trying to prove differently would have blown up in the prosecutors' faces.
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Re: California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

Postby jdege on Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:17 pm

Exactly.

F-Troop has trying to push the idea that letting others use your CNC machine to finish 80% receivers meant you were a manufacturer, and the judge clearly disagreed.

They dropped the case, rather than lose.
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Re: California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

Postby jdege on Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:34 am

This is the ruling:

https://armsandthelaw.com/Roh%2C%20Ruling%20on%20AR-15%20receivers.pdf

The definition of receiver under the ATF regulations requires four component: a “housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.” (27 C.F.R. § 478.11; emphasis supplied.) The evidence at trial was uncontroverted that a finished AR-15 receiver does not contain a bolt or breechblock and is not threaded to receive the barrel. (E.g., Tr. Feb. 21, 2018, pp. 111-13 (Jackson); Tr. Feb. 24, 2018, pp. 65-67 (Hoffman).) Indeed, the Government concedes the point in its opposition. (Opposition, p. 23.) The plain conclusion is that the finished receiver is not a firearm.

The Government’s theory of conviction rests on proposition that the AFT had “classified” finished receivers as firearms, notwithstanding the conflict with the definition published by the ATF in its regulations. Examination of Government expert Daniel Hoffman revealed that there is no “objective classification scheme or system in place.” (Tr. Feb. 24, 2018, p. 44.) ATF personnel simply make a determination in response to individual inquiries. (Id.) Usually, there is no consultation with ATF counsel. (Id., p. 50.) More significant for present purposes is that there is no way for the public to learn the particulars of the classification system. (Id., pp. 44-45, 55.) The only way a person can learn of an AFT classification is to make direct contact with the AFT. (Id., pp. 48-49, 55-56.)

It is clear that the ATF’s classification of articles as firearm does not comply with the rule making process which brought into effect the public
definition for firearm found in Section 478.11. The rule making process under Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551, requires promulgation of a rule and eventual publication of the rule in the Federal Register. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a).
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Re: California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

Postby Ghost on Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:24 pm

Seems to me, them pulling back will be the same as opening the door to more of it and incremental expansion until someone pushes too far later on.
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Re: California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

Postby Lumpy on Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:08 pm

What's stopping them from "defining" any damn thing they want as an illegal weapon?
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Re: California man sold illegal AR-15s Feds agreed to let him go

Postby jdege on Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:25 pm

Lumpy wrote:What's stopping them from "defining" any damn thing they want as an illegal weapon?


More from the opinion:

In United States v. Jiminez, 191 F. Supp. 3d 1038, 1045 (N.D. Cal. 2016), the court found that the definition of receiver in a parallel provision of the regulations, 27 C.F.R. §479.11, was unconstitutionally vague. Just as here, the court focused on the language of the regulation:

Tellingly, the Government makes no effort to parse the statutes or the CFR for proof of notice or clear standards. In effect, it concedes that the plain language of the law does not answer the vagueness challenge. This is tantamount to acknowledging that even if Jimenez had read the rules and regulations, he could not have known that the lower receiver of the AR-15 would be covered by them. That alone is a strong blow against the Government's position.



This vagueness issue isn't going away, so long as we have jurists who abide by the law. Any competent lawyer is going to raise it.

I wonder, sometimes, if the leftist panic over letting Trump replace RBG had more to do with this, with courts that will limit the arbitrary power of government bureaucrats to do whatever the hell they want, than with concerns over abortion.
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