Questions Re: ATF position on pistol grip 'shotguns'

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Drumbo, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Drumbo

    Drumbo Monkey+

    I admit I've yet to read every topic here, but I did several searches and can't find a discussion dealing with this:
    ATF position on pistol grip 'shotguns' creates new danger

    I'm confused, and the comments at the site following the article seem to muddy the water even more.

    I own a Mossburg 500 12 Gauge pistol grip. It's strictly for home defense, but I plan to add a folding stock soon because it will certainly improve my aim at the range, but I don't want a fixed stock because I purchased it specifically for close quarters defense.

    Putting aside the arguments about whether the BATF has the authority to legislate such "rulings", I guess my question is, is my weapon legally a shotgun or as the article alludes: "A destructive device" per BATF ruling and does it matter? Will adding the folding stock, change the definition?

    I found the discussion fascinating, but I'm not sure whether this is something to be concerned about. The opinions range from "it's a shotgun"; "it's a destructive device", and at least one poster (who makes a good case, imho) says "it's neither, it's a defensive weapon". That's clear as mud.

    I know from experience that it doesn't matter what I think the ruling says, what matters is what the LEOs think it says. The article itself raises implied concerns as to the current and/or future legality of these weapons and the possibility that owning pistol grip "shotguns" may not be kosher. Should I bother writing my good-for-nothing-flip-flopping newbie Senator/former Governor (who won the election by running a commercial of him shooting a firearm)? Should the ATF be pressed to clarify or rescind the ruling? Is this just hype to spook newbies like me and make me post a dumb topic my first time at bat here at the Monkey?
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    From my own interpretation and experience, I would say it's whatever the ATF and local law enforcement decides, as with ANY laws. Some states may have no real enforcement, but one small town in Nebraska might find the local news riddled with some story about a "dastardly evil man" who has "conspired to harm others" with some vague "destructive device".

    I own the same shotgun with pistol grip -I also have the attachable buttstock and slug barrel if I choose to use those. These laws don't make sense, and they don't have to. The plan is to criminalize EVERYTHING they can in incremental fashion until only the FED has the weapons and the serfs blindly OBEY.

    Perhaps others on the forum can elaborate about the "particulars" of the "law" on this issue. I for one, have already opted to expect the worst to come.
  3. Drumbo

    Drumbo Monkey+

    Thanks for the reply although it's hardly comforting, eh? One comment at the gun rights blog quotes Atlas Shrugged and I wondered how many of us fall into that camp. There seems to be a new set of Federal rules handed down on a daily basis which bypass legislators and the constitution and its impossible for the average citizen to keep up with it all. I'm beginning to believe that the end result is to regulate, tax and/or criminalize everything.

    I was seriously thinking this should be posted in the "Tin-Foil Hat" forum, but your opinion confirms what I was thinking about the ambiguity of the BATF classification. The whole trend toward outlawing evil looking guns seems to be alive and well and your 2¢ makes as much sense as any other opinion, in fact, more so from my point of view, but I tend to see sinister motives behind every seeming malefaction of gub'ment bureaucrats. I used to think the molɔ̀n labé crowd were the fringe, but these days I'm firmly in that mindset - it's just that saying it is one thing but actually living it is crazy town.
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    As an FFL, for many years, I have watched ATF get themselves into legal Hot Water, many times, with conflicting Rules, and Opinions. The basic Rule on Shotguns, becoming Destructive Devices, is if you have a barrel length LESS than 18 inches. This Pistol Grip deal, will likely never make it into a Court of Law, considering the SCOTUS Heller and Chicago Rulings, making 2ND Amendment, a PERSONAL Right, and the Law of the LAND, in ALL States and Territories. In Heller, they held that Self-Protection was a VALID reason to own a Firearm, and changing from a ButtStock, to a PistolGrip, does not substantially change the function of the weapon in question. If you really want to be ABSOLUTELY Safe, just get a 20Ga. with a PistolGrip, 18" Barrel, and extended Mag. and you will be under the 1/2" bore, of this new Opinion.
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Seems I read somewhere that not only barrel length, but overall length determines legality. Gotta meet the minimums for both, or hot water results (if found out.) That would put the collapsible stock in question, would it not? (Can't imagine the pistol grip being a problem, but that's just me.)
  6. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    The overall length of the weapon also has to be over 26" if i remember correctly... other wise it's a weapon of mass destruction....
  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    It's all about as valid as Rumsfeld and crew calling out Hussein for owning weapons of mass destruction when all he had were a few bottles of bleach for cleaning the crapper.

    We KNOW we are being conned, and it's just as legitimate as any other alphabet agency operating under colorable law and maritime rule; as unconstitutionality dates back to the inception of illegality, the entire system turns out to be one big mafia pyramid scheme, complete with smoke and mirrors to fascinate the mundane and embolden the tyrant. The bottom line is this: how much more will the people take before we reach a melting point?
  8. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    If you read the newsletter from BATFE, pistol grip shottys are not a destructive device. The only thing that changes is that you must be 21 and the dealer must list the firearm as pistol grip firearm.

    All the definitions have been interpreted using the NFA. That is the way it's been for years. Hence SBRs, destructive devices and AOWs. You have to fit a barrel length, OAL, and have a stock. Otherwise, it's a pistol. the kicker is this.... once a rifle, always a rifle (or it becomes an SBR). If you register as a pistol, you can exchange the barrel for a 16" and install a buttstock. That's the reason why TC has gotten away with it for so many years.

    This will never hold up in court. It's been tried before. I can't recall the case, but a guy had a forward pistol grip on a HK MP5 clone (registered as a pistol). According to BATFE, that makes it an AOW.... court disagreed. If you read the definition of pistol, it says designed to be fired by one hand... does anyone actually fire a handgun with one hand anymore? No one I know except for guys missing a hand.Technically, we are all in violation and are using and carrying AOWs. The court saw right through that BS and ruled correctly. I believe the same would apply to a pistol grip shotgun. Despite the court ruling, though, BATFE still considers a forward grip on a pistol an AOW. How do they enforce it? Fear. No one wants the trouble of going to court even though a two-bit lawyer as green as baby sh*t could get you out of that one. One could sue to change the BATFE enforcement and interpretation. Had that been me, I would have counter-sued, but if I recall correctly, the BATFE charges were add on charges to an already screwed individual.
  9. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    The Federal Government of North America no longer gets a vote on what I have to defend myself with; after all, it may well be them that I am defending myself from.
  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Also, my mossy 500 has an 18" barrel and is 28+" overall if I set it up with the pistol grip. Looks to be well inside the requirements to not qualify as a "destructive device".
  11. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Exactly. You are totally legal.

    If you check the shelves, you can still buy a mossy with a pistol grip and 18" barrel. I bought one circa 2008.
  12. Drumbo

    Drumbo Monkey+

    Mine has the 18.5" barrel as well as the welded aluminum muzzle brake that extends the barrel quite a bit so it's over 28" overall. If I had it to do over, I'd opt for the Cruiser series without the heat shield and all the mall ninja rails and stuff, but I got a great deal on it 2 years ago just because no self-respecting West Virginian would buy such a Hollywood looking toy off the shelf. Despite the fact that I was born south of the Mason-Dixon, they saw me coming and pegged me as a clueless Yankee and made me an offer I couldn't refuse.

    I really like the Mossy 590A1 with the 14" barrel, that's a true scatter gun I could love, but I couldn't deal with the Class III Regulations, fees and hoops. Gratuitous Gun Porn:


    I appreciate the opinions and comments and realize now that there's no crisis unless I actually have to use it on someone. As one poster on another site said, that's the last ugly black gun he'd want the prosecutor parading in front of a jury. If I get a chance to sell it or trade it I will, but for now it's a sweet little shotty that reliably goes bang and sends ordinance down range as well as any pump.

    If anyone has an opinion on a side folding stock vs. top folding I'd appreciate your advice.
  13. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I have had zero experience with any folding stocks for a shotgun, so I can't be a help there. I have used them for rifles, especially the AK, and I can safely say that from MY experience, the folding stock is great when you have it packed away...but if you intend on carrying it in your hands or on your back, you had better have it unfolded and ready to be used or it will lose its primary purpose, which is to provide a cheek weld and shoulder rest so that proper aiming can be established. Since the AK is not nearly as effective at longer ranges as an M4 variant or especially the .308 (sorry guys, do the math; and I didn't mean to upset AK lovers, I own a couple and love them), I suggest that the user take every opportunity to utilize all accuracy capabilities if possible. SO, in short, a folding stock on an AK is BUST (but that is just my silly opinion). If it can be used successfully for a shotgun or not and still have a use, I don't know. Perhaps the "spray and pray" technique works well in the movies and perhaps for scaring the un-initiated to take cover...but, I will choose accurate fire over that avenue any day. Call me crazy.
  14. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Not to be a rebel but I decided to stop reading the fine print on what configurations I was granted the privilege to posses some time ago. It happened about the time I read this: "All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void."

    YMMV but I've made my choices based on the highest law of our land, which is also the Romans 13 Authority I recognize: The Constitution for the United Sates of America.
  15. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    I really want to try one of these:
    Knoxx COPStock Recoil Reducing Folding Stock Maverick 88, Mossberg 500, 590, 590A1, 835 12 Gauge Synthetic Black - MidwayUSA

    Supposedly reduces felt recoil tremendously. The reviews seem good.

    I had a side folder on an HK shotty. Hated the thing. I never was a fan of a side folder. I had a Romanian side folding AK too. After a while, I got rid of both. I agree on a folding stock being pretty worthless folded when you need it. It is great for compact storage or shooting from a vehicle. Not as ideal as say an SBR, but better than a fixed stock variant. I'd say that if you plan on using a shotty as a secondary weapon, a folding stock isn't a terrible idea. A lot easier to carry on your back like that.
  16. Joseph Thomas

    Joseph Thomas Monkey+

    Not to be a rebel but I decided to stop reading the fine print on what configurations I was granted the privilege to posses some time ago. It happened about the time I read this: "All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void.

    Pretty much says what all of us should be thinking and doing.
  17. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Well said Melbo :) I too am familiar with Am. Jurisprudence.

    That stock looks kinda cool, Al...but I don't know which will break first -my wallet or my wrist! *ouch*
  18. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    The OAL is what they got Randy Weaver on. The ATF informant got him to saw the barrels on two shotguns. He refused to saw them off beyond the 18" legal limit, so the stoolie gave him one that had the stock shortened, probably for a youth to use. When he sawed the barrel to the legal 18" limit it made the OAL 25 3/4". He lost his wife, son, and years of his life over 1/4" of missing wood.
  19. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    That's a great point. Ruby ridge will never be forgotten.
  20. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Nor should it be B. I have had the priviledge to meet and visit with RW FTF on a handful of occasions and I can't describe to you the look of perpetual sorrow in his eyes.

    Many of my closest friends are combat vets. Men who have seen death up close and personal, seen lives ended and ended lives. They have that fabled 1000 mile stare of a warrior but it is nothing compared to the agonised aura that Randy puts off.

    To know that your decisions, your beliefs, while not directly responsible, but nonetheless contributed to the deaths of those you love the most. What a burden to bear.

    So many on these boards go on about what they would do in this situation or that. The fact is that 99% would roll over, whimper, and lay down thier guns without ever firing a shot.

    Mark Koernke is quoted as saying that if they outlawed guns tomorrow, and you would go to prison for owning one, then 9 out of 10 people would turn theirs in immediately.

    There is a movement today called the 3%'s. I think they should knock a couple of bars off of that flag. I believe 1% is overestimated.

    When it comes down to the lives of your loved ones, your children, are you prepared to stand your ground? Are you prepared to defend your rights? Will you stand in the gap or will you stand aside?

    Many who refused to stand aside were killed, or thier family members, while many others sit in federal prisons today. It is estimated that there are around 3100 people currently imprisoned for federal firearms violations. Many who stood up and refused to lick the boots of an unconstitutional law and it's enforcers.

    Men like Bob Anderson who had the gall to make and sell a .50 bmg rifle as an 80% kit. Bypassing federal infringements on the 2nd amendment. Hollis Wayne Fincher who took a stand and produced a well researched paper on the unconstitutionality of fedeal laws. People who become to vocal in their opposition are silenced. Mark Koernke served every day of a 7 year sentence because he refused to admit he had done anything wrong. 11 survivors of the Waco massacre, after being found not guilty of any crime in state court were arrested leaving the court house and sit today in federal prison for "gun law violations".

    G. Gordon Liddy said at a pro gun rally in Washington in the early 90's that any law that violated the constitution is no law at all so "just don't obey the damned law." But I would add that if you don't you should be prepared to stand your ground no matter what. You must be willing to face the consequences.

    Too many I believe, don't have the courage to stand in the gap. It's all talk on an anonymous internet site but when it comes down to the jackboots kicking down your door there aren't too many who are willing to risk that. They will roll over and lick the boot that leaves the footprint on the face of humanity.

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