ATF declares AR-15 and AK-style rifles ‘standard for hunting activities’

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (commonly called the “ATF”) has created a white paper to discuss loosening federal regulations related to firearms. The paper directly addresses hot-button topics such as suppressors, gun show dealers, armor piercing ammunition, assault weapons, and so on. Deregulating suppressors will certainly cause an uproar from the Democratic side of the aisle, but the Bureau’s new view of “assault weapons” will be even more polarizing.

By:  Justin King

This article first appeared at TheFifthColumn

One of the more interesting concepts in the paper is an apparent admission from ATF that rifles deemed “assault weapons” are, in fact, not. The paper cites a change in consumer habits and notes that designs considered “assault weapons” 20 years ago are, today, part of the normal sporting community’s weapon choices. It states that popular weapon designs such as the AK-style and AR-15 are “now standard for hunting activities.”

From the paper:

Since the sunset of the Assault Weapons ban in 2004, the use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as “modern sporting rifles” has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its almost 20-yearold study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is vastly different than what it was years ago. Action shooting sports and organizations such as 3 Gun and the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) have also drastically expanded in recent years. Restriction on imports serves questionable public safety interests, as these rifles are already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States. Low cost foreign made firearms are also still imported and converted into “non-sporting” configurations.

Image Source: brian.ch Flickr, Creative Commons
AK-47

Firearm enthusiasts have long held that the AR-15 is not “high-powered” nor any more dangerous than a standard modern rifle. This is indisputably true. They have also held the belief that AR-15s are more commonly used in mass shootings simply because it’s a popular rifle. This is mostly true. The AR-15 is an extremely popular rifle within the United States, however, so is the Ruger 10/22, which is rarely used in mass shootings. It’s more than just popularity, but not much more. The loosening of firearm restrictions as described in the paper and the discussion that comes with the attempt to do so will certainly shed a lot of light on the propaganda pushed by both pro- and anti-gun lobbies over the last few decades.

You can read the whole paper here.

This article first appeared at TheFifthColumn

  • Thomas Schell

    Please do not put up such misleading articles. At no time did the ATF declare AR-15 and AK-style rifles ‘standard for hunting activities’. This was noting more than a non-official recommendation to redo a study on the popularity and use of these platforms.

    • Kyle Kotlarz

      As a member of the shooting community, I can tell you that AR’s and AK’s absolutely ARE the current standards for general purpose civilian rifles, and used very commonly for hunting, especially by younger hunters who desire their hunting rifle to be useful for more than JUST hunting. AR’s and AK’s are both available chambered in many common hunting calibers, and the availability of parts and accessories for these rifles makes them both appealing and functionally flexible.

      • TennTexan

        Kyle, I do not disagree with you regarding ARs and AKs. However, Thomas is right. The ATF has not taken any official position on such rifles being “standard for hunting activities.” This entire article is incorrect and grossly misleading.

        • Daniel Hammond

          If they made the announcement it’s a done deal

          • TennTexan

            Except there was no “announcement.” “THEY” (meaning ATF) didn’t do anything. Turk allegedly wrote this white paper, which is merely a list of his proposals, and the paper somehow got leaked. ATF has not said anything one way or another. This is solely the work, and opinions, of a single ATF employee.

          • Daniel Hammond

            It’s happening everything he stated in it has been talked about for years now they’re going to do it

          • TennTexan

            You’re free to believe in unicorns if you want. Doesn’t make it so.

            This is all much ado about nothing, and needs to go away…

          • Thomas Schell

            Now they are going to ‘talk about it’. Some of the items on teh white paper are easily administrative issues, like removing old and antiquated regulations and creating a central repository for rulings. Other things like changing the NFA, will require action from Congress.

            It’s a good opening discussion, but I think this release was mostly about Mr. Turk applying to be the permanent head of the ATF more than anything.

        • larryaschro

          Try reading it again:

          http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/national/read-the-white-paper-on-firearms-regulations/2325/

          6. Reissue a New Sporting Purpose Study: Since the sunset of the Assault Weapons ban in
          2004, the use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as
          “modern sporting rifles” has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm
          types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its almost 20-yearold study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is
          vastly different than what it was years ago.

          • TennTexan

            I can read just fine. The words in that white paper are not the official words of the ATF.

            The headline to this “piece” is wholly inaccurate. ATF has not declared ANYTHING with respect to ARs or AKs being “standard for hunting activities.” ATF hasn’t declared shit!

    • Daniel Hammond

      Kentucky by statelaw has AR15s as legal for hunting with a ten round magazine

      • Debbie

        What happened to the manufacturers 30 round mags? So do they walk around in the woods counting the rounds in your mags now?

        • Daniel Hammond

          You simply buy a ten round clip for hunting that was the only restriction

        • Thomas Schell

          In Maryland, the only requirement for a rifle is that it develop 1,200 ft/lb of energy at the muzzle. There are a couple .223 rounds that qualify for whitetail. You can also get this in the AR-15 platform using .300 Blackout, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel and any number of wildcat cartridges. Each state makes up its own regulations for hunting.

          Magazine size is irrelevant, but you are limited to the number of rounds you are allowed to have in the mag while deer hunting. You can walk the woods with a 100 round drum mag, as long as it only has 8 rounds in it.

          The Dept of Natural resources doesn’t “walk around in the woods” but they do come into contact with people, primarily on public lands, where they do compliance checks ~ license, etc.

    • larryaschro

      Did you even read the article? Read the link provided by the ATF called White paper Page 5 clearly it states:

      “6. Reissue a New Sporting Purpose Study: Since the sunset of the Assault Weapons ban in
      2004, the use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as
      “modern sporting rifles” has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm
      types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its almost 20-year-old study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is
      vastly different than what it was years ago.”

      • TennTexan

        Did you even read the damned white paper? It specifically states that “[t]he opinions expressed within this white paper are not those of the ATF; they are merely the ideas and opinions of this writer. They are provided for internal use within ATF and DOJ and are not intended to be public.”

        ATF has not declared shit! GOD people are dense…

  • TennTexan

    This article is complete and utter horse shit, and a retraction should be issued PDQ. Let me make one thing clear. ATF HAS NOT declared ANYTHING regarding ARs or AKs being hunting rifles. A few days ago a white paper from the Associate Deputy Director of ATF, Ronald B. Turk, was leaked. The white paper, which is merely a set of PROPOSALS, specifically states that “[t]he opinions expressed within this white paper are not those of the ATF.” Associate Deputy Director Turk recommended, among other things, a reevaluation of ARs and AKs in view of their popularity explosion since the Clinton AWB sunset. THAT IS ALL. ATF has not taken any official position on the matter.

    Read it for yourselves… http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/national/read-the-white-paper-on-firearms-regulations/2325/

    • Daniel Hammond

      If he said it and it was leaked it’s gonna happen you know these leaks are always how they break the news

      • TennTexan

        Yeah, no… This in no way indicates that ANYTHING is “gonna happen.” People need to stop spreading rumors and innuendo.

        • Daniel Hammond

          It’s happening there’s already bills for silencers in congress hearing protection act and a redefinition of so called assault rifles to sporting rifles under the definition that’s what they are anyway

          • Daniel Hammond

            The federal change will undo California’s definition

          • larryaschro

            Lets hope so

          • TennTexan

            HPA is going nowhere. It’s at least 20 votes short in the Senate, and that information is direct from long-time lobbyists.

          • Daniel Hammond

            Keep wishing if it’s not done one way it’ll be done thru regulatory rule change

        • Daniel Hammond

          It’s gonna happen it’s been talked about for years and now it’s going to happen!

          I wouldn’t doubt we can get the 1986 automatic weapons ban repealed

  • TennTexan

    This headline is a blatant lie.

    ATF. Has. Not. Declared. Anything. Period.

    From the white paper: “The opinions expressed within this white paper are not those of the ATF; they are merely the ideas and opinions of this writer. They are provided for internal use within ATF and DOJ and not intended to be public.”

  • FatZero

    Doesn’t mention what you might be hunting (protecting yourself from). Personally, a regular 308 hunting rifle will reach out farther and do much more damage than an AK or AR. All a matter of perspective. I have an AK UF as part of my bug-out kit, just in case the $#!t hits the fan. (and a 9mm and a Mossberg 930 tactile shotgun – never know) As much as the libs have been asking for war and becoming more violent in civil disobedience, you can’t be too careful these days.