Earlier this month the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) filed a request to keep some of the seized gun parts it took from Connecticut gun manufacturer Stag Arms last year.
According to the Hartford Business Journal, court documents revealed that federal agents seized more than 3,000 lower receivers without serial numbers, which the ATF says is a violation of the National Firearms Act (NFA). Under the NFA, firearm manufacturers are legally obligated to stamp firearms—or certain firearm parts—with a serial number within days of its manufacture. Federal agents first discovered the unmarked receivers during a routine inspection last August and returned in October to seize the parts as well as computer documents.
According to the Hartford Courant, Stag Arms owner Mark Malkowski explained to the ATF that the receivers were unmarked because the employee who engraves the serial numbers was on vacation. Additionally, Stag Arms claimed that some of the blank lower receivers were being stored as replacements for broken parts. These explanations did little to sway US Attorney Dierdre M. Daly, who wrote that both reasons would still leave the manufacturer in violation of federal law.
The ATF investigation into Stag Arms is still ongoing, but the agency has not indicated any evidence of illegal gun sales or criminal wrongdoing. The firearm manufacturer also recently released a statement that clarified the issue as one of timing and recordkeeping.
“Stag Arms, LLC is working closely with the government regarding this issue. Although the allegations relate primarily to timing and recordkeeping, and Stag believes public safety was never compromised, the company takes its obligation to comply with all laws very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “Stag has made comprehensive changes to ensure that similar problems cannot happen again and that best compliance practices are maintained in all of its operations.”
Stag Arms was founded in 2003 and is perhaps best known for its production of left-handed AR-15 rifles. The company is also known for being very vocal in both the state and national gun debate, even once closing down factory operation so employees could protest gun control laws at the state capitol building.
You can see see a brief tour of the Stag Arms factory in the video below: