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The ATF and spud guns.... The times they are a changin'....

A place to ask general spud cannon related questions.
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The ATF and spud guns.... The times they are a changin'....

Unread postAuthor: D_Hall » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:35 pm

So we all know that the ATF has historically viewed spud guns as toys and not worthy of their attention. Well, it appears that the continued advances in spud gun technology has gotten their attention. Behold....

http://www.atf.gov/content/firearms-fre ... sification

Any person desiring a classification of a “potato gun,” “spud gun” or similar device must submit a written request (not e-mail) to the Director and include a complete and accurate description of the device, the name and address of the manufacturer or importer, the purpose for which it is intended, and such photographs, diagrams, or drawings as may be necessary to make a classification. A final determination may require physical examination of the device. Such requests for classification should be submitted to: Bureau of ATF, Firearms Technology Branch.
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:05 pm

I wonder, was there a situation where somebody used "...but by your own definition, it's a spudgun!" as a defence forcing them to close the "loophole"?

... or did they stumble across VERA :D
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Unread postAuthor: ramses » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:58 pm

Interesting. I wonder if the NSA has secretly subpoenaed PCGuy yet.

Is there any legal obligation to get classification? Or is it just insurance that they won't later prosecute you for having a 'destructive device' (and manufacturing without license, tax evasion on the tax stamp, etc)?
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Unread postAuthor: evilvet » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:14 pm

When SF members make things like this or this or this ...............
then I would say you could hardly blame them for perking up their interest.

Zeus or I with one of those in the boot of the car and pulled over would be meeting our new friend Bubba for quite some time. You guys who only have to deal with nice friendly ATF officers have got it made.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with any of these magnificent creations, but do any of them really fit the bill of "spud gun" :shock:
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Unread postAuthor: Blitz » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:52 pm

Moral of the story, don't contact the ATF about your projects. They're stupid enough when it comes to firearms.
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Unread postAuthor: MrCrowley » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:59 pm

When I emailed my local PD I got a similar response. Obviously I didn't take it any further as it seems like you're just incriminating yourself if they classify it as an illegal weapon or one that requires some form of licence.

Somehow I doubt they would be like "this contraption falls in a bit of a grey area, but if you get your firearms licence and treat it like a firearm we'll let it slide".
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Unread postAuthor: Blitz » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:13 pm

I guarantee the ATF wouldn't do that. Lol
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:10 am

evilvet wrote:When SF members make things like this or this or this ...............
then I would say you could hardly blame them for perking up their interest.


Since they generally don't control airguns, I don't think those are good examples...

Something like this is a lot more compact, powerful and dangerous than most of the launchers on this site, and what's more it can be obtained by someone without the skill to make it:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gMeqITUYbg[/youtube]
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Unread postAuthor: Blitz » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:20 am

Agreed.

Funny thing though in my state, air rifles that can shoot pellets beyond 700fps are treated as firearms and require the same background checks a typical rifle would. :roll:

Specifically:

"Firearm" means any device, by whatever name known, which is designed to expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas or escape of gas; excluding however:

- any pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun or B-B gun which either expels a single globular projectile not exceeding .18 inch in diameter and which has a maximum muzzle velocity of less than 700 feet per second or breakable paint balls containing washable marking colors
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Unread postAuthor: MrCrowley » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:17 am

So you could legally make a supersonic hybrid paintball gun without a firearm licence? :D
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Unread postAuthor: Blitz » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:28 am

That's certainly how I interpret it... Yeah. :)
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:16 am

Blitz wrote:Agreed.

Funny thing though in my state, air rifles that can shoot pellets beyond 700fps are treated as firearms and require the same background checks a typical rifle would. :roll:
Unless it is bought from a private party?
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Unread postAuthor: Blitz » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:50 pm

jimmy101 wrote:
Blitz wrote:Agreed.

Funny thing though in my state, air rifles that can shoot pellets beyond 700fps are treated as firearms and require the same background checks a typical rifle would. :roll:
Unless it is bought from a private party?


Legally, that isn't supposed to matter. You're still supposed to abide by the one day waiting period and ensure the buyer has a valid FOID card. You are not required to perform background checks for private sales here.
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Unread postAuthor: Solar » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:39 am

National Firearms Act Definitions
Destructive Device

26 U.S.C. § 5845(F)

For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Destructive Device” means:

A missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than 1/4 oz.
Any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may readily be converted to expel a projectile, by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore greater than one-half inch in diameter.
A combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a device into a destructive device and from which a destructive device can be readily assembled.

Various destructive devices including a M79 grenade launcher, grenades, and artillery.

Exemptions:

A shotgun or shotgun shell which is determined by the Attorney General to be generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes.
a device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon,
a device which is designed or redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line-throwing, safety, or similar device,
surplus ordnance sold, loaded, or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to law such as antique, obsolete bronze or iron cannon,
a device which the Attorney General determines is not likely to be used as a weapon.
An antique firearm, or
a rifle which the owner intended to use solely for sporting purposes.
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Unread postAuthor: Solar » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:52 am

The Eclipse launcher has an EAR99 classification from the Department of Commerce which means that there are no licenses required to export it as it does not violate any ITARS(International traffic of arms restrictions) since it is not considered a firearm or a destructive device because it meets the exemption requirement as a pyrotechnic, safety, signaling or similar device.

37mm launchers can be legally manufactured and operated without a license as they are not considered destructive devices. There are however limitations on what you can launch. Individual rounds of HE are considered destructive devices on their own and are subject to a $200.00 tax and you must have a destructive device firearm license which amounts to giving up your right to warranted searches of your home and workplace.

That ATF classification note has been on their site for a few years now I believe. When I spoke to them they did not have any issue with the Eclipse and said that I could submit a formal request to get paperwork from them that states as such.
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Last edited by Solar on Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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