The ATF Is Knocking on Your Door – Here’s What You Should Do

By Attorney Marc J. Victor

Recently, there has been a significant amount of attention regarding FRT triggers. This has resulted in increased scrutiny from ATF agents. FRT triggers, or “Forced Reset Triggers,” have gained popularity among firearm enthusiasts due to their unique functionality. However, it’s crucial for owners of FRT triggers to be aware of potential legal implications and the importance of handling interactions with ATF agents carefully.

Understanding FRT Triggers:

FRT triggers are aftermarket devices designed to modify the trigger mechanism of certain firearms. These triggers can enhance the rate of fire to simulate automatic firing, mimicking the functionality of fully automatic firearms. FRT triggers have become a subject of interest for the ATF due to the legal ambiguity surrounding their classification and how that relates to existing firearm regulations.

ATF has previously determined such triggers qualify as “fully automatic weapons” based on the rather broad definition of a fully automatic weapon. To be clear, there are good legal arguments that FRT triggers should not be classified as fully automatic weapons. Moreover, in the wake of the Bruen case (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen) , legal questions remain about the constitutionality of whether Congress has the legitimate authority to regulate the FRT trigger in any event. That said, these legal issues remain unresolved. The question remains whether you want to fight ATF’s conclusion or avoid the issue by complying with ATF’s demand to surrender the trigger.

Reasons for ATF Visits to FRT Owners:

ATF’s focus on FRT owners stems from their responsibility to enforce federal firearm laws and regulations. Because ATF has determined that an FRT trigger is a fully automatic weapon, most people who currently possess them are, in ATF’s opinion, violating the law. Such a violation could subject the person to years in prison. While it is possible that ATF could refer such people for criminal prosecution, based on our experience that does not appear to be the current focus of ATF’s efforts. Indeed, we have assisted many FRT owners who have opted to surrender their FRT Trigger without incident. I have discussed this issue with legal counsel for the ATF in two separate federal districts. In both discussions, ATF legal counsel indicated no charges will be sought for the otherwise law abiding FRT owner who promptly seeks to surrender the FRT trigger.

Currently, ATF agents are attempting to contact FRT owners to request the surrender of the FRT trigger. If you purchased an FRT trigger and have not yet been contacted by the ATF, you should prepare for the likelihood that ATF will be contacting you soon. ATF will likely seek to inform the FRT owner that the ATF has determined that the FRT trigger is a fully automatic weapon. ATF will also likely request for the FRT trigger to be surrendered.

If the ATF Knocks on Your Door, Here is My Advice to You

Decline To Make Any Statements:
When approached by ATF agents, it is crucial to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. Remember that anything you say during these encounters can be used against you. Politely decline to engage in conversation and refrain from making statements without the presence and advice of your attorney. Your attorney can make a statement on your behalf after consultation.

Avoid Discussing Political Philosophy:
While it may be tempting to share your political views or argue about the interpretation of firearm law, it is best to avoid engaging in any conversation. Focus on protecting your legal rights by maintaining a respectful and non-confrontational demeanor.

Remain Civil and Polite:
ATF agents often have lots of discretion. Do not do anything that would cause them to be upset with you or desire to seek criminal prosecution. Remain respectful at all times.

Remain Civil and Polite:There are risks involved in surrendering the FRT trigger to ATF. Afterall, surrendering the FRT trigger is evidence that you were in possession of it. However, your mens rea, or your knowledge of the FRT trigger’s legal status could be an important factor. Your attorney should discuss the issue with you in advance and prescreen the issue with ATF to ensure a smooth transaction.


As FRT triggers continue to gain attention within the firearm community, it is important for owners to stay informed about the legal implications associated with these items. The presence of ATF agents at an FRT trigger owners’ door is a result of ATF’s determination that the FRT trigger is a fully automatic weapon, and ATF’s belief that the person is currently in possession of one. The person in this position should take the situation seriously.

By understanding the nature of FRT triggers and following the guidance of legal professionals like myself, individuals can navigate these encounters with law enforcement effectively, safeguarding their rights and legal interests. Remember, in such situations, maintaining composure, exercising your right to remain silent, and seeking legal counsel are key steps toward protecting yourself during ATF visits. If you are a responsible gun owner, you may consider becoming a member of The Attorneys On Retainer Self-Protection Program.

If you want reliable legal defense without all the unnecessary exclusions, be sure to check our Attorneys on Retainer – Self-Protection Plan. If self-defense can legally be argued to the jury and the matter is a felony that arises AFTER you signed up, you will be covered with the Attorneys On Retainer Plan. Contact the Attorneys On Retainer Sales and Support Team or call (866)-404-5112.

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