ATF Reversal Points Out Absurdity Of Gangster-Era Federal Gun Law

SB Tactical SB15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace (Via SB Tactical)
SB Tactical SB15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace (Via SB Tactical)

SB Tactical has announced that they’ve received word from the ATF that the agencies (frankly insane) 2015 determination that touching the company’s otherwise unaltered pistol stabilizing brace to the shooter’s shoulder amounted to the manufacture of an illegal short-barreled rifle and constituted a federal felony.

SB Tactical™, inventors and manufacturers of the Pistol Stabilizing Brace®, is excited to announce that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) has issued SB Tactical a reversal letter containing a sensible clarification of the Bureau’s position on the lawful use of SB Tactical braces.

The new clarification of opinion letter states, “an NFA firearm has not necessarily been made when the device is not reconfigured for use as a shoulder stock – even if the attached firearm happens to be fired from the shoulder. To the extent that the January 2015 Open Letter implied or has been construed to hold that incidental, sporadic, or situational “use” of an arm-brace (in its original approved configuration) equipped firearm from a firing position at or near the shoulder was sufficient to constitute “redesign,” such interpretations are incorrect and not consistent with ATF’s interpretation of the statute or the manner in which it has historically been enforced.”

SB Tactical, along with the law offices of Mark Barnes & Associates, have worked tirelessly for more than two years to correct what they believed to be an inaccurate interpretation of “redesign,” related to the Pistol Stabilizing Brace. “It has always been our belief that the addition of our Pistol Stabilizing Brace benefits shooters, both disabled and able-bodied, and that neither strapping it to your arm nor shouldering a brace equipped pistol would constitute ‘redesign’ of a pistol to a NFA firearm”, said Alex Bosco, inventor, founder and CEO of SB Tactical. “We are strongly encouraged by the ATF’s reversal of opinion and commend their willingness to continually review policy, including their own opinions, to ensure public safety and the fulfillment of their mission.”

The ATF letter only affects the SB Tactical line of pistol stabilizing braces, and does not have anything at all to do with those manufactured by other companies, so take that for what it’s worth.

Here’s what I don’t understand.

Why would a customer who doesn’t really need a stabilizing brace for one-handed use and who intentionally obtained the brace to short-circuit the National Firearms Act’s silly and arbitrary SBR/Pistol definitions even bother with a brace?

You can either by a SB15 brace and use it as an awkward shoulder stock for $150 on an AR pistol, or you can fill out your Form 1 for $200, wait for the ATF to process it, and then put any real stock on the newly-minted SBR you prefer, or you could simply buy a factory SBR, like the Daniel Defense M4V7S I’ve been drooling over for the past few months.


Is it worthwhile to you to buy a stabilizing brace and use it in a manner that it wasn’t intended to be used, merely to save $50 and six months of ATF processing time, and having the gun on file? Personally, I’m not scared that the government is going to come for my NFA-registered SBR and I’d rather have the ability to use a real stock of my choice, but to each his own.

The ATF letter does accomplish one thing, in my mind: it points out the absurdity of having a federal law artificially defining short-barreled rifles and pistols, making one criminal while the other is legal even though they are nearly identical and function the same way.

Like silencer, SBRs should be removed from the archaic National Firearms Act, a Prohibition/gangster-era law with very little relevance in the 21st Century, or maybe it’s time to repeal the NFA entirely.