A fight over the sale of ghost guns and parts to make them has come to Western Pennsylvania as a Butler County gun parts supplier on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The complaint, filed by Not an LLC, which operates as JSD Supply on New Castle Road in Prospect, alleges that the ATF is improperly interpreting the Gun Control Act of 1968 and illegally enforcing policies not set to take effect until Aug. 24.

The lawsuit includes allegations of harassment and abuse of discretion in how ATF regulates the sale of gun parts. The suit also has claims for violations of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and due process.

It seeks an injunction against the federal agency for enforcing a cease-and-desist order it served on JSD on May 12.

A message left with an ATF spokesperson late Friday was not immediately returned.

According to the complaint, shortly after 9 a.m. on May 12, two ATF agents knocked on the store’s door to hand-deliver the order, which demanded that JSD halt sales of gun part kits and “80% lower receivers,” which are incomplete and unfinished firearm frames, or receivers.

“The [cease and desist order] claimed that ATF is aware that JSD Supply is selling and transferring all the components necessary to produce a fully functional firearm to a single customer in one or multiple transactions,” the complaint said.

The ATF order instructed the store to stop the sale of firearms without a license, and to stop the sale of the full set of component parts to produce a fully functioning firearm.

The letter went on to say that the ATF has held that kits, which includes all components necessary to produce a functioning firearm, are classified as firearms under federal law. The letter said selling those components in multiple or structured transactions is equivalent to selling a complete kit, which circumvents the Gun Control Act and is illegal.

However, according to the lawsuit, the Final Rule issued by the ATF classifying the kits as firearms does not take effect until Aug. 24.

In April, the Biden administration announced that the rule will serve to rein in the proliferation of “ghost guns” — privately made firearms without serial numbers — which law enforcement officers increasingly find at crime scenes.

Last year, the administration said, about 20,000 suspected ghost guns were reported to ATF as having been recovered in police investigations.

The Final Rule bans the manufacturing of ghost guns. The ban includes “buy build shoot kits” that can be purchased without a background check and can be assembled into a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes. It also clarifies that those kits qualify as firearms under the Gun Control Act.

In announcing the Final Rule, the administration said it will further require commercial manufacturers of the kits to become licensed and include serial numbers on the frames. Commercial sellers must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to a sale.

However, because the Final Rule has not yet taken effect, and because under the Gun Control Act of 1968, an 80% receiver is not considered to be a firearm and is not subject to regulation, JSD Supply claims the ATF has overstepped its authority.

The store alleges that in December 2018, without any change to statute or regulation, ATF “began to implement a series of secret and unannounced policy changes regarding the sale of ‘80% frames and receivers,’ the tools used to manufacture them, and the firearm parts used in the assembly process.”

“Without judicial intervention, ATF will be rewarded in its unlawful action against plaintiff as a seller of ‘80% frames or receivers’ and be encouraged in its efforts to, without any statutory authority for doing so, incrementally move the goalposts to effect policy change (at the behest of the current administration which repeatedly has expressed hostility to the Second Amendment rights of Americans, and announced its intention to enact gun control policy without Congress.)”

The complaint calls ATF’s policies directed at the firearms industry and gun owners vague and arbitrary. It says they often carry “explicit or implicit threats of criminal prosecution, seeking to bully Americans into yielding to its unlawful actions through use of intimidation, harassment and threats.”

The lawsuit accuses the ATF order of providing no clarity or guidance to the company — making it impossible for JSD Supply to be compliant, except for shutting down all retail sales, which it did.

JSD Supply employs more than a dozen people.

It has stopped all online retail sales, refunded pending orders and canceled gun show appearances from last week, losing tens of thousands of dollars in sales every day it is shut down, the complaint said.

Paula Reed Ward is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paula by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .