The ATF has never been the favorite federal agency of the Second Amendment crowd. That tension was inevitable. After all, the ATF regulates the industry we’re all involved in defending. That is going to lead to a certain degree of antagonism, even in the best of circumstances.
However, at the direction of President Joe Biden, the ATF is looking to take a long step back on yet another previous ruling. While pistol braces were fine, now they want to change that.
And a whole lot of people are looking at paying the price for that.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has published a notice outlining their plans to update regulations on stabilizing braces.
Originally developed to help those with disabilities shoot comfortably, stabilizing braces have become a popular firearm accessory used to legally adapt AR-style pistols into guns that can be shot from the shoulder, like the highly regulated short-barreled rifle.
This isn’t the first time the ATF or the DOJ have attempted to regulate this popular accessory. A similar reclassification was proposed back in December, but it was shot down due to uproar from lawmakers and the firearm community. However, after pistol-braced firearms were used in two recent, high-profile mass shootings, the ATF has circled back to the issue and seems more motivated than ever.
Of course, this isn’t news. However, the folks at the Foundation for Economic Education don’t just end there with this story.
They go on to note how the new regulations are so needlessly complicated, it’s likely to confuse many gun owners who will be unsure if their weapons are legal or not under the new rules.
At 52 pages, the intricate proposal is so lengthy and establishes such specific requirements that law-abiding citizens will have no idea if their firearm is still legal.
“Certain prerequisites,” the proposal reads, such as weapon weight and the overall length, “will be applied to determine if the firearm will even be considered as a possible pistol or immediately determined to be a rifle.”
Furthermore, “design factors that are more likely to demonstrate a manufacturer’s … intent to produce a ‘short-barreled rifle’ and market it as a ‘braced pistol’ accrue more points than those that reveal less evidence.”
A stabilizing brace that has accumulated too many points based on these criteria will be deemed a rifle, and therefore unlawful. Not only is this formula complicated, but there seems to be another hitch.
“The new factoring system,” remarks the NRA-ILA, “seems designed to ensure that few, if any, firearms can meet the criteria.”
Therefore, by classifying these braced pistols as Short Barreled Rifles, one of the most highly regulated guns on the market, the federal government is forcing10-40 million law-abiding gun owners to surrender, destroy, or register their legal firearms … or face felony charges.
So we may be looking at as many as 40 million potential felons if they refuse to bow down to the ATF’s new requirements. Assuming they’re adopted, of course.
And let’s be honest, this is Joe Biden’s ATF. They will be adopted to some degree.
This means the onus rests on gun owners to either give up their guns, register them as short-barreled rifles, or remove the pistol brace. Many won’t, though. They purchased these braces in good faith based on the ATF’s decision that these were, indeed, legal and didn’t turn a pistol into an SBR. Millions of dollars have been spent on these braces, by my rough guestimate, and a lot of people aren’t interested in rolling backward.
See, the thing you have to remember is that gun owners are law-abiding citizens…up until you push them too far. Everyone has a line in the sand, and when it comes to the gun crowd, that line may well be right here and now.
Should the ATF decide to change the rules yet again, don’t be surprised if a lot of people simply decide not to comply Sometimes, the only difference between an honest man and an outlaw is how much pushing they can take.