North Dakota Trigger Manufacturer Sues Dept. of Justice
It all depends on how you define "automatic".
In July of 2021, officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives notified Rare Breed Triggers that their "forced reset triggers" (FRTs) are considered to be machine guns under federal law. The agency got tougher in January 2022.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ordered Rare Breed Triggers to stop selling its forced-reset trigger, according to a Jan. 13 cease-and-desist letter to the company. The ATF also has launched a criminal investigation into Rare Breed's triggers.
Florida-based Rare Breed Triggers moved its operations to North Dakota.
Why the move to North Dakota? Where else (besides Montana), would you find a majority in the State House of Representatives that would actually back something as fundamentally flawed as this? Take a read of House Bill 1272. It passed the ND House back in February of 2021. Here's just a portion if you don't feel like clicking to read the whole thing...
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF NORTH DAKOTA: SECTION 1. A new section to chapter 62.1-01 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows: Firearms - Manufacture - Prohibition.
1. A personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured commercially or privately in the state and which remains within the state is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration as those items are not subject to regulations related to interstate commerce. This section applies to a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured in the state from basic materials and which can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state.
You may have read my last year's story on this subject. It has nothing to do with guns or gun control, it instead addresses the unusual air it seemed the legislators must have been breathing at the time. Seriously, how do you keep any items from leaving the state? It's not a naive thought those legislators had...I just don't know if they thought anyone else would care to ask- how in the heck that was going to be accomplished?
I can only imagine that a manufacturer under fire might find that mindset appealing.
According to Secretary of State records, Rare Breed registered as a North Dakota business in November of 2021. If you want to discover what a Rare Breed FRT is all about, including company videos and rebuttals, please click here on their website. Although it appears Rare Breed's beef is with the ATF, they are also suing the United States Department of Justice. It would appear they have the ideological support of at least 20 US Senators including our Senators Hoeven and Cramer, who signed this letter to the DOJ in March of 2022. It included this passage...
In addition to the ATF’s threatening letters, it has recently come to our attention that ATF has formulated secret internal guidance documents “to assist ATF personnel tasked with differentiating so-called ‘solvent-traps’ from firearm silencers” and to assist “with identifying certain machinegun conversion devices commonly referred to as” FRTs.
5 These documents contain summaries of the standards that the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division purportedly uses to classify items.
6 Disturbingly, ATF made these documents available only to those tasked with enforcing the law, rather than those who strive to comply with it. Indeed, ATF marked these documents as “Law Enforcement Sensitive” to conceal them from the firearms industry and the American public.
So facing penalties of up to ten years and $10,000 for selling the FRTs, Rare Breed's profits have dropped 85% and the $350 FRT in question is listed on their website as out of stock. So with their newly found friends in North Dakota, Rare Breed is confidently stepping up to the plate to do battle with some pretty big government entities.
Rare Breed filed a lawsuit on Monday, May 16, against the ATF and U.S. Department of Justice, asking a federal judge to void the cease-and-desist order, force the agencies to withdraw their classification of the trigger as a machine gun and award any relief the court sees fit.
Clearly, recent gun violence in Texas is not going to solicit new supporters for their product. In 2018 it was the Trump Administration that banned "bump stocks" which were firearm alterations used in the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay massacre in 2017. I'm just not sure if North Dakotans are aware that a major battle for gun control is about to take place surrounding a company now based in our state.