To the editor: Challenging ‘machine gun’ allegations

Guns.com reader, Jeremy, highlighted an aspect of our reporting on a recent incident involving Stag Arms. We reported on Dec. 22 that the Connecticut-based company pleaded guilty to violating federal gun laws, charges that were filed in September 2014.

From Jeremy: 

I am but one of many people in the United States who have a vested interest in the firearms industry. I am one of many people who also feel that the ATF and Department of Justice go out of their way to paint broad strokes on definitions so they can punish more people and put a tighter noose on gun owners.

Given the title of the site “Guns.com”, you should be an advocate for making sure that the correct information is out there. Asking whether or not the receivers were truly “machine gun” receivers or if the ATF and DOJ mislabeled them to bring a harsher penalty on Stag Arms. You should also be asking if the receivers meet the definition of “machine gun” as stated by US Code 5845 (2). I pointed you in the direction of the Ares Armor vs. The ATF because that is the very heart of the matter. The ATF tried to claim that 80% lowers, which are NOT firearms, were, in fact firearms.

Response to Jeremy:

We have no argument with you over the semantics of the situation, but in this instance, the Justice Department, based on the investigation of the ATF, alleged that Stag Arms violated federal gun laws because it did not serialize the gun parts, including machine gun parts. That has been consistent in court documents and now Stag, and its CEO, pleaded guilty to violating those laws. We cannot and will not change the factual details of the story just because readers and industry types have a semantic argument about the charges. To put it simply, Stag was charged and Stag pleaded guilty to those charges, so that’s how it was reported.

If you have direct comments or questions you want to share with the editor, send them to info@guns.com.