Say WOT? ATF confiscating wide open triggers from gun owners
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has begun an effort to recover wide open triggers (WOT) from gun owners in multiple states.
The WOT is a forced reset trigger (FRT). A forced reset trigger uses the energy from the bolt carrier group to reset the trigger. This action allows the shooter to fire the gun at an accelerated rate. The ATF claims that most FRTs are machine guns. Even though the gun owner must pull the trigger to expel each shot, the ATF claims it is still a single function of the trigger and, therefore, a machine gun. Rare Breed Triggers is facing a lawsuit in New York by the United States government over the selling of FRTs. Rare Breed Triggers has unsuccessfully sued the federal government on multiple occasions and in different districts.
In January 2022, the ATF showed up at the doors of Big Daddy Unlimited (BDU) and other Big Daddy Enterprises businesses to confiscate the company’s stock of WOTs and Rare Breed Triggers FRT-15. The company handed over all the triggers and stopped selling them. In March of the same year, the ATF released an open letter claiming that “some” FRTs are machine guns.
“ATF’s examination found that some FRT devices allow a firearm to automatically expel more than one shot with a single, continuous pull of the trigger. For this reason, ATF has concluded that FRTs that function in this way are a combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and hence, ATF has classified these devices as a ‘machine gun’ as defined by the NFA and GCA,” The ATF letter read.
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In April, AmmoLand News received reports that ATF agents in Texas were visiting select gun owners in an attempt to try to recover WOT triggers from gun owners who purchased the item from the Big Daddy Unlimited website.
Then AmmoLand News received notifications from other gun owners beyond Texas that ATF agents have either visited or called asking that the gun owners voluntarily turn over the triggers. Agents told the people that they “were not in any trouble” and just wanted the triggers, claiming they were machine guns. They further claim that the owners are violating the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) by owning the triggers.
AmmoLand News contacted Tony McKnight, the owner of Big Daddy Unlimited and Wide Open Enterprises, and asked if he or the company had turned over customer information. He adamantly denied that the company had sent any information on their customers to the ATF. He stated that the company “digitally shredded” all transactions of the sale of the triggers. Although there are methods of wiping data that make it hard to recover, there is not a 100% foolproof way of ensuring the data is gone outside shredding the drives where the customer files are stored.
McKnight did state that the company uses Authorize.net to process credit cards. Authorize.net is one of the few payment processors that work with firearms retailers but also has a history of working with the ATF. When Polymer80 customers were being tracked down, it turned out that the ATF asked for and received information from the credit card processor and Stamps.com. AmmoLand News cannot be sure how the ATF got the customer information because companies deny giving over information or not responding to our request for comments. The ATF is not tipping its hand about how it received the WOT owner’s information.
This wave of confiscations isn’t the first time the ATF has targeted owners of forced reset triggers.
Last August, the ATF started showing up at people’s doors across the country, trying to recover Rare Breed FRT-15 triggers. Many owners did surrender the triggers, but others took a more defiant stand. All gun owners that were visited purchased their triggers off GunBroker. This time, all the WOT owners that we have spoken to apparently purchased their triggers directly from the BDU website.
AmmoLand News reached out to the ATF to get an answer as to where the Bureau acquired the information on the trigger owners and what the ATF wants people to do if they have a WOT. ATF Public Affairs Division Deputy Chief Erik Longnecker did not answer AmmoLand’s question about where the government got the list of WOT owners but did refer to the open letter from March of 2022. The letter states that owners should contact their local field office to arrange to turn in the triggers.
“Based on ATF’s determination that the FRTs that function as described above are ‘machine guns’ under the NFA and GCA, ATF intends to take appropriate remedial action with respect to sellers and possessors of these devices. Current possessors of these devices are encouraged to contact ATF for further guidance on how they may divest possession. If you are uncertain whether the device you possess is a machine gun as defined by the GCA and NFA, please contact your local ATF Field Office. You may consult the local ATF Office’s webpage for office contact information,” the letter reads.
Authorize.net did not return AmmoLand’s request for comment if it turned over the information to the ATF.
John Crump is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He has written about firearms, interviewing people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at crumpy.com. Republished with permission of AmmoLand.