While reading the Book of the Face I was stunned to learn that Stag Arms had just lost their Federal Firearms License for a variety of violations including having 62 machine guns (actually just the receivers) that were registered to another entity or not registered at all. More on this in another post.
What I found very interesting was this paragraph from the joint press release from US Attorney for Connecticut Deidre M. Daly and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
A receiver is the key regulated part that is considered a machine gun. All other parts necessary to transform a receiver to a fully functional semi-automatic or automatic machine gun can be purchased over the Internet.On the face of it, this is true. The receiver is the key regulated product of machine guns as well as any other firearm manufactured in the United States. It is the part that is serialized. It is also true that you can get all the normal trigger parts including the auto sear over the Internet to go into a registered machine gun receiver.
However, thanks to ATF Ruling 81-4, drop-in auto sears which allow some semi-automatic AR15s to become fully automatic if they have the other M16 parts are considered machine guns and are regulated under the National Firearms Act.
Regardless of the date of manufacture of a drop in auto sear (i.e., before or after November 1, 1981) the possession or transfer of an unregistered drop in auto sear (a machinegun as defined) is prohibited by the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. § 5861, and the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 922(o).This may be a niggly, little quibble but it was the BATFE's own ruling that decreed the drop in auto sear a NFA item. Since they wrote the regulation they should be held to a higher standard when it comes to the verbiage used in a press release. (Alinsky's Rule No. 4) A drop in auto sear is not just something that you can buy off the Internet to make a receiver into a fully automatic firearm.