I’m sure most of you have read the horror stories about developers submitting their application to the Apple App Store only to have it rejected based on unpublished requirements that seem arbitrary. Wouldn’t you know it, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) have a very similar system for determining whether or not a manufactured firearm is legal for production:
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is in charge of determining whether a gun model is legal, but the agency won’t say much about its criteria.
Despite overseeing an industry that includes machine guns and other deadly weapons, ATF regulations for the manufacture of weapons are often unclear, leading to reliance on a secretive system by which firearms manufacturers can submit proposed weapons for testing and find out one at a time whether they comply with the law, critics say.
Much like the Apple App Store the ATF is also inconsistent with their rulings:
The ATF recommends that manufacturers voluntarily submit weapons for case-by-case determination. But those judgments are private and, it turns out, sometimes contradictory. Critics say nearly identical prototypes can be approved for one manufacturer but denied for another.
One major difference exists between rulings of Apple App Store reviews and ATF reviewers, if the ATF declares something verboten it is illegal and grants men with guns the power to enforce the decision. Anybody with the capacity to think can also see the huge opportunity for abuse arbitrary regulations grant. A manufacturer not only has to submit to the ATF’s rulings but must remain on their good side for pissing off an agent may lead to every submitted prototype being rejected, which eventually would force the manufacturer into bankruptcy.