ATF Pistol Brace Shenanigans A Sign Of Things To Come?

It’s looking increasingly likely that the ATF is going to be a weaponized tool of gun control activists in an upcoming Biden administration. On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, Alex Bosco, the head of SB Tactical, joins Cam for an update on the continued push by ATF officials to go after pistol braces, the companies that make them, and the millions of legally-purchased firearms that come equipped with the accessory.

The latest twist in the saga of the SB Tactical pistol braces came last week when a 2018 letter sent by the ATF to the company was revealed as part of a FOIA request of the agency. That letter claimed that SB Tactical was advertising pistol braces as “approved by the ATF” as part of their marketing materials, and also alleged that the company had only received approval for two of the nearly two dozen products available for sale.

As The Truth About Guns reported, however, the ATF letter was awfully short on facts.

First, regarding SB Tactical’s marketing of “non-approved” braces, the ATF’s 2018 letter includes images of the language SB Tactical used at the time. The language used did not, as the ATF asserts, say that the braces in question were sold as “evaluated and approved” by the ATF. SB Tactical’s marketing materials describe the braces as “ATF Compliant.”

That’s an important distinction, because as Bosco tells me on today’s show, there’s no real need for a company like SB Tactical to submit every one of its products for ATF approval. In fact, Bosco says that in meetings with the ATF, company officials were specifically told by agency officials that as long as the models were using the same technology as the braces that had already been approved (which Bosco describes as two rubber flaps and a strap securing the pistol brace to the user’s forearm) that they didn’t need to submit every model for review.

After the 2018 letter, however, that’s exactly what SB Tactical did, only to have their submissions disappear into a bureaucratic black hole. More than two years later, the company is still waiting to receive a single determination letter from the ATF regarding the pistol braces that they submitted for review.

Bosco tells me that, as far as he can tell, the agency is basically trying to stall any decisions until the next administration takes power. Once that happens, it’s quite possible that the ATF will move to redefine any and all AR-style pistols that use stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles or “any other weapon,” which require registration and a $200 tax stamp under the National Firearms Act. Possession of an unregistered NFA item can be punishable by up to a decade in prison along with a hefty fine, and the founder of SB Tactical estimates that there are at least 4-million firearms currently in the hands of legal gun owners that could fall into those categories if the ATF decides to launch a gun pan using administrative action.

If that does happen, Bosco says he’s willing to go to court to fight the “arbitrary and capricious” determinations by ATF officials, but he’s also encouraging gun owners to contact their representatives, senators, and the Trump administration to urge them to rein in abuses by the agency. Be sure to check out the entire conversation with SB Tactical’s Alex Bosco in the video window above for even more details about the current situation and where things are likely to go from here.

Jun 20, 2021 11:30 AM ET