The Auto Key Card and the ATF
Early in March 2021, Kristopher Ervin, a resident of Florida was taken into custody by the agents as a part of a joint operation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the United States Postal Inspection Service. […]
Early in March 2021, Kristopher Ervin, a resident of Florida was taken into custody by the agents as a part of a joint operation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the United States Postal Inspection Service. According to ATF, Ervin used to sell auto sears, components that are used to transform semi-automatic AR-15s into fully automatic rifles, these are illegal without the appropriate paperwork.
In this post today, we are going to talk about the Auto Key Card disaster. We will talk about it all, what is an Auto Keycard, why ATF is not happy about it, and explain similar cases that might be helpful to Ervin in his legal battle. Whatever information is provided in this post is not supposed to be used as legal advice. It is only for information and entertainment purpose.
What is an Autokey card?
To be specific and in simple terms, these were metal bottle openers that are business card sized and are sold through websites such as AutoKeyCard.com and AutoKeyCards.com. These websites belong to Ervin. These cards were laser engraved which also showed the parts of an AR-15 automatic connector, which is popularly understood as a “lightning link”. When massed from its separate components and equipped in an AR-15, the lightning link could convert it to completely automatic and it will not require any additional changes to the firearm.
Due to this reason, the ATF considered that the cards were pretty much close to auto sears to come under the restrictions of a machine gun, under the National Firearms Act amendment’s Firearms Owners’ Protection Act. So, as a part of a sting operation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents and ATF bought a few of these metal bottle openers.
Later the agents decided that Ervin was selling auto sears illegally since buyers who bought these keycards would be able to get the product and transform semi-auto AR-15s into completely automatic rifles. The agents of both of these agencies took Ervin into their custody and sized all of his business websites.
Are auto key cards legal?
The retention of any device that could turn a machine gun into automatic rifles sold on the web domains is a serious felony and it is a serious violation of federal law, which has a penalty of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 per count.
Auto key card dimensions
The size of these Auto Key cards was similar to the business card and looked like metal bottle openers. They showed the parts of an AR-15 automatic connector. When assembled from its components and arranged in an AR-15, one could change it to an automatic rifle without any other changes made to it.
Auto key card review
These were metal bottle openers that are business card sized and are sold through websites such as AutoKeyCard.com and AutoKeyCards.com. These websites belong to Ervin. These cards were laser engraved which also showed the parts of an AR-15 automatic connector, which is popularly understood as a “lightning link”. When massed from its separate components and equipped in an AR-15, the lightning link could convert it to completely automatic and it will not require any additional changes to the firearm
How auto key card works?
Ervin’s websites such as AutoKeyCard.com and AutoKeyCards.com carried these business card-sized metal bottle openers. There was laser engraving on these cards that showed the parts of the automatic connector of AR-15, known as a lightning link. This can be used to convert an AR-15 to a fully automatic rifle without any changes to the firearm.
Why are car keys so expensive?
Standard or basic keys and fobs do not come with advanced mechanisms and can easily be forged with simple tools or machines. Advanced programming, transmitters, and codes can be found in the modern keys, which is why they are very expensive because they take a lot more time to duplicate and the expensive hardware is used in them.
GOA (Gun Owners of America) has released several documents that charge the case against Kristopher Ervin and Matthew Hoover by the Government in the Autokey Card case. The (ATF) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents arrested Kristopher Justin Ervin for selling a metal card or AutoKeyCard with an engraving of the lightning link’s outline, a device that can convert a semi-automatic rifle into a fully functional machine gun. This was being sold on Ervin’s website as a novelty item.
According to ATF, since there was a picture of a lighting link drawn on the metal piece of AutoKeyCard, someone could cut that device, mold it into shape and utilize it to transform a semi-automatic AR-15 into a functional machine gun. The Bureau also believes that if a device can be used for this, the device itself can be considered a machine gun. AutoKeyCard is not such a tool, the engraving on the metal piece makes it a tool to convert.
The time when Ervin started to sell the AutoKeyCard, he made a contract with Hoover to promote the product through his CRS Firearms YouTube channel. Hoover never sold the device, but he talked about these cards in his videos. In turn, Ervin’s company sponsored Hoover’s YouTube channel.
When Ervin was arrested, and his website was shut down, Hoover initiated a legal defense fund for him. He was able to raise more than $60,000 which helped with the legal bills. Hoover did not promote the product after Ervin’s arrest.
After a year of Ervin’s arrest, the ATF executed an arrest warrant against Hoover in April 2022. He was also charged because of conspiring with Ervin to sell AutoKeyCards. Though Hoover never sold any product directly, he promoted the product and so was guilty. ATF also thinks that raising money for the legal defense of Ervin was also part of the conspiracy on the theory that, if Ervin wins his case, Hoover would be again promoting the card on his YouTube channel.A federal magistrate has ordered Hoover released from jail on bond. The judge also ordered him not to contact witnesses in his case and not to promote questionable firearm products in his videos. The charges stem from the company’s website and marketing efforts to spread awareness of its products, the Auto Key Card. This indictment was issued in February, and the company hopes to reapply for a new trial date soon. While it’s too early to say whether or not the defendants will win their cases, they can both expect a lengthy stay in prison.
While the ATF may not prosecute those who possess a faulty AutoKeyCard, it does recommend that you turn it in. In addition, it may be a good idea to contact your local ATF office to find out how to get your firearm and autokey cards back into working order. However, simply contacting the agency doesn’t mean that you’re going to escape prosecution. According to AmmoLand News, you should always consult a lawyer before contacting the ATF.
The ATF considers possession of an AutoKeyCard as a felony, and if caught, the owner may face up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine per device. Those penalties can add up quickly. Therefore, it is best to contact the ATF if you have an AutoKeyCard, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t be prosecuted. To make sure that you aren’t a target, consider consulting a lawyer to protect your rights and your interests.
In the end, the AutoKeyCard is a felony for the ATF, and its owner faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for every illegal device. The consequences are expensive, so the ATF is urging owners to turn in their device. The ATF hasn’t said if an amnesty will be granted to those who have committed this offense. The AmmoLand News recommends hiring a lawyer before contacting the ATF.
If you’re caught with an AutoKeyCard, you could be facing criminal charges. The ATF views it as a felony, and owners can face up to ten years in prison if found guilty. If you’re arrested for possessing an AutoKeyCard, you are violating NFA rules, and you can expect to pay a fine of $250,000. ATF also recommends contacting a lawyer if you suspect you’re using the card illegally.
While the ATF does not have any legal grounds for an amnesty, possessing an AutoKeyCard is illegal. The ATF considers these devices to be a firearm. If you own an AutoKeyCard, you’re violating the NFA regulations and could face a fine of up to $250,000, and you must surrender it to avoid criminal charges. If you’re caught with an AutoKeyCard, you should contact the ATF immediately to avoid prosecution.