Malicious ‘Compliance’

While the Obamas remain on their tax-funded ‘free’ tropical vacation, Internet chatter drones on over what form his reported gun control by imperial diktat will take. Based on unsourced leaks, the most likely initial act will be to redefine those in the business of selling firearms to include darned near everyone. I myself have suggested that โ€• as the FAA did with toy drones, and the EPA did with CO2 โ€• he might even redefine some firearms to include them as NFA items. After all, the ATF once did that very thing with a shoelace.

Possibly the best way to deal with such efforts to render more honest people helpless is simple noncompliance: No. Your move.

And there is malicious compliance. These are just some idle thoughts of my own on the best way to ensure you’ve complied with all the possible rules; certainly not official TZP policy (it isn’t as if I’m an officer of the company).

You’re suddenly a ‘dealer’ in the eyes of the law(less)? You’ll need a six month supply of those free 4473s from the ATF. Naturally, all of you anticipate Cabela’s-scale business, right?

You’ll need to phone in your NICS checks, too. 1-877-FBI-NICS (1-877-324-6427) and selecting Menu Option 2, then Option 5, or by fax at (888) 550-6427. Better safe than sorry; you should call it in every time a ‘customer’ wants to handle a gun (you’ll need to know if he’s a felon before he touches it, you know). And call yourself in when he hands it back. And remember, you’re doing Cabela’s-scale business. Constantly. From “8 a.m. and 1 a.m. ET, 7 days a week”. All of you.

If some devices get reclassified as NFA, it might be a good idea for every single gun owner in America (absurdly lowball estimates of 60 million to a hopeful 120 million) to ensure none of their property is affected. Remember that shoestring.

Send letters demanding clarification to the ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch (Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division 244 Needy Road Martinsburg, Suite 1600 West Virginia 25405 USA, E-mail address:, Voice: 304-616-4300, Fax number: 304-616-4301). One item per letter; you’ll want separate files should you be inspected, to match paperwork with item. Probably you should check on each of your individual magazines, too. Airguns, blowpipes, bows, your potato cannon. Junior’s Nerf guns. All of them. It would be a shame if you made typos so that you had to send multiple letters per item; just timestamp them so the FTB boys can sort out the most recent version.

Stick to snailmail to ensure a legal paper trail.ย  Keep copies.

All 60-120 million of you. As an extra benefit, imagine the coituscluster at the Martinsburg Post Office; you’re providing job security for USPS workers.

Registration is another bugaboo that never quite seems to go away; California, New York, Connecticut… And now we have HR 4269 (the new ‘assault weapon’ ban bill). That one grandfathers some weapons. It isn’t hard to imagine a registration mandate being added by amendment. How else can they be sure that AK-15 you have is one of the legal ones?

Register. Register early. Register often. See typos above, danr my clumys fingesr. Possibly you even own 544,000 of those buggers. With standard capacity magazines in proportion. Don’t forget shoestrings.


Of course, you’ll have to give them your address on all those classification (and maybe registration) letters. If you’re like me, you may get mixed up on your home address. This tool can help you with that.

Heck, while you’re at it, go ahead and register a couple million potentially existent drones with the FAA.

No. Your move,” is easier, but compliance might be more fun.


33 thoughts on “Malicious ‘Compliance’”

  1. You are better than peppermint latte, you are better than chocolate halva! You are better than, well, really the chocolate halva should say it all!

    Excellent column, thank you!

  2. While fun to contemplate that much overzealous “compliance,” I think I’ll stick with: NO. Your move. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just reading about all that paperwork made me a little dizzy. But I’d sure love to be a little mouse in the corner watching…

  3. Bear, nicely written. This sort of compliance would drive them crazy. I know from experience because up here (Canada) this was one of the factors that killed the firearms registry. The administration cost went from a few million to over 2 billion.

    Comply zealously or not is your decision to make. Whatever your move is don’t just roll over, fight them.

  4. I’ve talked/written several times about over-compliance, “just to be safe”, or to intentionally gum up the system.

    “Malicious compliance”. Thank you, Bear, for coining a new term for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    By registering every shoelace, calling in every “transfer” (including exempted ones) no matter how temporary or innocuous, and overloading the USPS, we not only flood the ATF with overwhelming amounts of paperwork, we decrease the signal-to-noise ratio to the point that there’s really no signal to be found. It becomes too expensive and too impractical (or even flatly impossible!) to track any given transfer or monitor any given “dealer”.

    Especially if the enormous response creates a 5-year backlog (which IIRC, by statute, they have to resolve within 60 days).

    Alinsky Rule #4: Make the enemy live by his own book of rules. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. …he might even redefine some firearms to include them as NFA items.

    I looked in vain in the article for some explanation as to what an “NFA” is. So I went to Google. So many possibilities! National Futures Association. National Fire Academy. Norwich Free Academy. National Flute Association (that’s got to be it!). National Franchisee Association. National Fireworks Association. No Fixed Abode. NFA Freedom Alliance. It goes on.

    Maybe it’s just me, but when I read something that spews out acronyms without explanation, I eventually conclude that the author isn’t interested in anybody reading his words who is not already an “insider”.

    1. I’m sorry that I tailored my message to the venue, confusing you with insufficient explanations and links. Since this is The Zelman Partisans, which fights gun control, I assumed that most readers would be have a certain level of knowledge. Also, I expect that those American gun owners who don’t know what the ATF is are not likely to involve themselves in the fight against victim disarmament, through compliance or noncompliance.

      I do wonder what search terms you used, though. “ATF NFA” returns the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms page on the National Firearms Act as the very first result.

      If you confused flutes with firearms then no, you are an outsider and not the clued-in audience for which I wrote.

  6. JdL: The NFA is well-known in the gun culture. It’s an acronym for the National Firearms Act, the 1930s federal statute that required a $200 transfer tax to move a machine gun or short-barreled rifle or shotgun across state lines.

    The NFA was one of the early stretchings of the Commerce Clause, before it became nothing but a joke. Want to pass ANY federal legislation nowadays? Curtsy in the general direction of the Commerce Clause or the General Welfare Clause.

    1. What Bill said.

      JdL, nobody’s trying to exclude anybody. But NFA is a common term in the gun-rights world. If you ever have any doubt about what anyone here means, by all means feel free to ask. Questions from newbies are most welcome.

      But there’s no need to assume that a writer is being either lazy or snottily exclusive just because he’s using terms he expects most of the audience to know.

  7. Two ideas:

    – This might be a good place for the Good Soldier Schweik tactic.

    – If I know gun owners, forcing more of them to become FFLs is going to lead to a LOT more guys buying personal guns that they can get shipped right to their door because, “Hey, I’m an FLL now!” BATFE’s been fighting to reduce the number of FFLs for years now – I’d love to see O’s EO undo all that. How’s that for an unintended consequence?

      1. Also, the BATFE has been dodging the question of “How many guns can I sell a year without you considering me a dealer?” for decades, so they have the “flexibility” to use it in different situations.

        A definition would be REAL handy.

        1. You will never see a written definition.

          Firearm law is part of the tax code.

          If they define a volume or value as “engaged in business,” every accountant in the country will cite that amount on tax returns for every eBay seller in the country.

  8. I’m going to register all of the 1% complete receivers that I have, or might have, ever. It’s not so different from a “file car” that consists of a Title and a drilled-out VIN plate. Of course that’s a 1966 Beetle!

  9. As much fun as it is to imagine drowning the enemy in paper, they will just add every name on the new FFL list to The List… the one titled “Confiscation.”

    Don’t advertise yourself. Don’t comply in any way whatever.

    1. In such an event, I suspect they’ll pull up the metadata and say, “Hmm. oughtsix posted a comment about resisting confiscation to a pro-RKBA site, from Let’s drop an NSL on Windstream to get his name.” With IP and name in hand, they can start seeing where else you’ve posted; maybe a F******k page with more data. Ever mention online — without going through a proxy — what sort of defensive implements you’ve got? Or sold? Maybe they’ll retroactively make you an FFL. (The IP/datamining/cross-referencing scenario isn’t invented; court cases and FOIAs showed the DEA was working with NSA-supplied data to do just that).

      Maybe they’ll cross-refference that to the 4473 they’ve been photocopying during inspections, and list you for immediate attention.

      If you’ve spoken up enough, you’re already listed.

    2. Agree with that. Im under eff bee eye investigation in the bitcoin sphere for speaking about gun rights and libertarian thoughts on bitcoin forums. Nothing bad or extra ordinary and nothing anti-gov. Since Ross Ulbricht, anyone mentioning freedom or liberty connected to bitcoins are being monitored now. The 3 letter agency visited me and said Im not under investigation, although, there they were investigating me.

      Had I never shared my thoughts publicly and only to friends and family, I would not be monitored. But then, maybe we are all in some way, shape or form.

  10. Invoking Cloward-Piven against the enemy is SOOOOO much fun. Which also ties into Alinsky #4 (see above)

    [overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”]

    Now, we’re not looking to overload the welfare system, so much as just trying to overload Teh Big Gooberment System in general, to precipitate a crisis that would put an end to socialism.

  11. I am pretty sure most Americans are on one list or another by now. The question is what will happen if we order a gun from an online gun dealer to be shipped to our house. Will they ship it to us. Will they consider us a dealer if fedgov does?
    I am sure some will, the question then becomes how long before batfe shuts them down, and who will step up to replace them?
    The game is endless, but the out come must be the same. The winner will be the one who doesn’t quit.

  12. If Obama tries to license based on any number of gun sales he is violating the law and the first court that hears it will issue an injunction against his EO. The following is THE LAW, not an ATF regulation or Obama Executive Order.

    3. Dealer in firearms

    a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.
    (18 U.S.C. ยง 921(a)(21)(C)

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