"Sure, understanding today's complex world of the future is a little like having bees live in your head. But, there they are." -- The Honorable Chester Cadaver on "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus," Firesign Theater, 1971.
National Firearms Act DefinitionsAny Other Weapon26 U.S.C. § 5845(E)For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Any Other Weapon” means:* Any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive;* A pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell;* Weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading; and* Any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire.Such term shall not include a pistol or a revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.
I get a lot of questions from customers about the “new” ATF ruling regarding pistol-grip-only (PGO) firearms with 14″ barrels that aren’t considered NFA items.Well, first off, let me say, it’s not a new ruling. It’s the same position that ATF has always taken regarding PGO firearms that fire a fixed shotgun shell that have NEVER had a buttstock attached to them — they’re NOT shotguns! They’re simply firearms. As such, they don’t necessarily need to have 18″+ barrels on them to remain out of the purview of the NFA.You see, the very definition of a “shotgun” requires that it be “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder…” Without a buttstock ever having been fitted to the PGO firearms in question, they can’t be fired from the shoulder and are therefore not shotguns. Hence, with a 14″ barrel, they can’t be considered short-barreled shotguns, as they aren’t shotguns to begin with.
Mossberg 500 Cruiser as it came from the factory.
Let me see if I can explain what this fellow has just done. With the production of a grip that replaces the factory pistol grip of a Mossberg 500 Cruiser, he has just forced the Destructive Device provision that has never been enforced on AOWs out of the closet, because SOMEBODY at ATF won't let this trot-out of a sawed-off to go unchallenged, and it will totally screw with sawed-off shotgun cases in the minds of the sensible people who sit on juries rather than the brain-copulating parsing ATF does with the law.
If ATF declares this item to be a Destructive Device, the fear will quake amongst the pistol-grip shotgun owning hoi polloi about the AOWs with bore diameters exceeding 1/2" --- and ATF will have quite the mess on its hands owing to the anger of the Elmer Fudds who own said "pistol grip" firearms.
The beauty of it from the manufacturers point of view? He's not an FFL. This is an aftermarket part which, even if the ATF decides that, contrary to their own diktats, that use of said pistol grip on a "non-shotgun" with a short barrel violates the law. (Even though it still manages to comply with the law as it stands now.) The part will still be sellable to other folks who decide not to use a short barrel, but rather just mount it on their 18" barrel Mossberg. Q.E.D., it cannot be banned and the manufacturer will still not lose money, no matter how the ATF rules. I love it.