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ATF Determines That The Rare Breed FRT-15 Trigger is A Machine Gun

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

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ORLANDO, FL –-(Ammoland.com)- Rare Breed Triggers received a letter from the Tampa branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) stating its FRT-15 trigger is a machine gun.

The Rare Breed Triggers FRT-15 is a force reset trigger. When a trigger is pulled, the FRT-15 trigger’s sear forces the trigger to reset. The trigger dramatically speeds up the rate of fire of an AR15 style of firearm. A machinegun is a gun that fires more than one bullet with a single function of the trigger. The shooter has to pull the trigger for every round that is fired, the company correctly believes that the FRT-15 trigger is not a machine gun. But much like the bump stocks, the ATF disagreed with the company’s assertion.

From Rare Breed Triggers current lawsuit:

23. In other words, ATF may promulgate and enforce rules under this section of the United States Code, but ATF has no authority to change the Code or the Code’s definition of what constitutes a “machinegun”.

Rare Breed Trigger LLC did not submit a trigger to the ATF for an opinion letter, the company relied on the legal opinions of attorneys and experts outside of the ATF. The company has several videos on its website with these experts explaining why the Rare Breed FRT-15 trigger is not a machine gun. Even if the company had an opinion letter from the ATF, it could have just reversed its decision much as it did with bump stocks.

AmmoLand News learned that the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) acquired a few Rare Breed Triggers FRT-15s a few months ago and proceeded to test the devices. The Firearms Enforcement Officer (FEO) that examined the trigger determined it to be a machine gun, much like the ATF considers a Drop in Auto Sear (DIAS) or a bump stock a machine gun. The Tampa Field office was notified by FATD and drafted a letter to the company on July 26, 2021.

The letter informing Rare Breed Triggers, LLC of the ATF’s determination was addressed to Kevin Maxwell, who owns the company. The letter states that the ATF considers the FRT-15 a machine gun. The ATF disagrees with the company on the “single function” of the trigger. They believe that the FRT-15 only requires a single function of a trigger to fire.

On August 3, 2021, Rare Breed Triggers, LLC and Mr. Maxwell filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Department of Justice, the ATF, ATF Acting Director Marvin Richardson, and Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) Craig Saier of the Tampa Field Division. The case was brought in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida Orlando Division. The court denied an ex parte (emergency) temporary restraining order and set a court date of August 18.

Rare Breed is asking the court to rule that the FRT-15 is not a machine gun. The company argues that a machine gun is defined by a single function of a trigger and not how fast a gun can fire. The company also claims that the ATF doesn’t have the authority to change the definition of a machine gun under the Gun Control Act.

The company claims that the FRT-15 is not an auto sear. Rare Breed states that its trigger just speeds up the reset of a trigger and functions like any other semi-automatic firearm. The operations the company list for a semi-automatic gun is Firing, Unlocking, Extracting, Ejecting, Cocking, Feeding, Chambering, and Locking.

The lawsuit list four experts that Rare Breed consulted on the legalities of the FRT-15. Dan O’Kelly is one of the legal experts that the company consulted and is a former ATF agent that has acted as an expert witness in multiple court cases. Rick Vasquez is a retired ATF employee from FATD. He has also worked with the gun industry on compliance issues since leaving the Bureau.

Mr. Maxwell, who is also a lawyer in addition to the company owner, will be acting as an attorney for Rare Breed Triggers.

Rare Breed Triggers has not returned AmmoLand’s request for comment.


About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

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