As many of you know, on December 16, 2019, the Pennsylvania State attorney General (PA-AG) unilaterally determined that any part or combination of parts that is designed to or can be converted to discharge a projectile through the force of an explosion is now a firearm and must be transferred as such. Without going into how ridiculous this definition is, we have been severely impacted by the intentional timing of this decision. US Rifle made a significant investment in the Oaks, PA year-end gun show that the PA-AG chose to target.
The change to the interpretation of state law was issued on the afternoon of the 16th (Tuesday), two days before dealers were to leave for the show. The Pennsylvania State Police immediately changed the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) to classify these items as firearms, however they declined to implement a process for them to be transferred. They decided they will get to it later, sometime, perhaps after the holidays, but certainly after the largest show in the region has passed and small dealers such as we are crippled by their scheme.
To further complicate issues, the AG’s office had been telling industry sources that the law wouldn’t be enforced the weekend of the show, but the State Police told dealers that they are firearms and to proceed accordingly. It seems like the leadership of Pennsylvania’s law enforcement community are trying to set up lawful dealers for failure, both legally and economically.
By classifying these products as firearms, but then not providing a way to legally transfer them, the PASP has effectively performed an end-run around the PA Legislature and banned these so-called ‘firearms’ indefinitely. To combat this egregious example of legislation by decree, US Rifle LLC has joined with Polymer80 Inc., the Firearms Policy Coalition, and the Prince Law Firm to seek an injunction against Attorney General Shapiro’s order and to prevent the PA State Police from enforcing it until it can be reviewed.
This overly broad opinion could be expanded to include upper receivers or other firearm parts, thereby choking off those commerce channels through which our customers legally purchase spare parts or accessories to customize their firearms.
These arbitrary decisions have a real-world impact on law abiding business owners like US Rifle. As we are on the cusp of fully launching our brand and bringing our own products to market, a setback as significant as this could derail our entire year. Any reasonable person can see that this ban by decree was deliberately timed to create the most economic harm possible to those who deal in these legal products.
Although many people might shrug their shoulders, unconcerned about the restrictions being placed on non- firearms, the question is – what’s next? A block of aluminum from a hardware store can be machined into a firearm. Where will the line be drawn? Will there be background checks at Home Depot?
Today it is Pennsylvania. tomorrow it may be Virginia, New Hampshire or your home state.