With the leak of a new letter showing that ATF is opening up a public comment period ahead of finalizing their “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with Stabilizing Braces” document, there is renewed fear of an impending pistol brace ban. That isn’t happening.
However, ATF is absolutely attempting to crack down on what it will consider a pistol, and what it will not. Basically, what type and configuration of firearm the rogue bureaucracy gives its blessing for adornment with a pistol stabilizing brace, and what type it claims is just a short barreled rifle in pistol clothing.
First, let’s not miss this gem from the document:
The planned “Objective Factors” document isn’t a brace ban and it isn’t a law. ATF’s claim is that it’s simply detailing in a clear, objective fashion the metrics by which it does, will, and has judged pistol braces. You know, for our benefit. So that the firearm industry and the public understand exactly what is and is not kosher when it comes to a pistol brace.
Unfortunately, in full-on Princess Bride fashion, I do not think “objective” means what BATFE thinks it means. Perhaps it’s more like the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Explosives Confusion Elimination and Subjugation (or BATFECES)? For example:
So this is, like, a rule that’s based on each individual person’s arm and wrist strength? You’re telling me that ATF’s fancy new “Objective Factors” document is comprised almost entirely of “we’ll know it when we see it” sort of generalizations? Yes, yes it is.
While you and I might believe an objective “so heavy that it is impractical” weight is 80 ounces and up, ATF somehow believes that these vague rules of thumb are “Objective Factors.” Hard to believe this sort of subjective vaguery could possibly hold up in court.
Or that somehow this wouldn’t simply be shot down under Equal Protections when, presumably, a woman wouldn’t be allowed to use a pistol brace on a “so heavy” gun that a stronger man may well find perfectly controllable. I mean, isn’t increased control the entire purpose of pistol stabilizing braces in the first place? It’s precisely because large format, heavy pistols such as AR-15 pistols are difficult to control with a single hand that ATF approved braces in the first place. Which they not only know, but explicitly state in this very letter:
To be clear once again, pistol braces are NOT being banned:
We’ve dealt with restrictions on what an acceptable brace format is in the past, such as the 13.5-inch “length of pull” limit. ATF is now “informing” the public of other factors that it considers when determining the validity of a braced pistol, such as choice of optic:
Effectively, all of these factors are intended to determine, well, intent. Was this firearm built with the intention of using it as a pistol or as a rifle? That’s the question that ATF is attempting to prosecute. Errr, answer. Or at least define. “Objectively,” only not so much.
. . . More to come tonight! (I have to jump to have dinner with the wife and kids, but will be back to finish this up) . . . Further updates, more information from the letter such as tax-free SBR registration and leniency, and, when available, a link to the specific page at www.regulations.gov where this document will exist for two weeks, open for public comment. Let’s make ourselves heard. Not just there, but with our representatives.
In the meantime, give the document a read and post any questions in the comments.
The industry IS going to fight this.