Editor’s Note: at the time of writing the brace rule was just released yet not officially published. The nearly 300 page regulation is still being combed through by lawyers and gun rights groups. Chances are it will go through the courts as well. Check for updates at FishGame.com.
SINCE THE RELEASE of the pistol brace around a decade ago, millions of braced pistols have been manufactured and sold to the public. The ATF has issued several technical approval letters to multiple companies in numerous variations confirming that these braces are indeed just pistols and not regulated as SBRs. However, in January 2023 the ATF released 2021R-08F, a “ruling” declaring all previous approval letters null and void therefore making millions of gun owners potential felons.
At the time of this article being submitted to publication, the pistol brace rule is not yet officially published. However at SHOT Show 2023 the ATF was answering plenty of questions and raising just as many concerns about the upcoming brace Armageddon.
The short summary is that all braces are now considered stocks by the ATF. If you have one installed on a firearm that has a sub-16” barrel, it is declared an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) and possession of such requires approval and tax stamp from the ATF. This tax stamp is the same process as owning a suppressor or full auto machine gun in the form of a background check, months of waiting for the approval process, along with a $200 tax. This infringement on your constitutional right has been in place since 1934 and violation of such can carry a penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The ATF has declared an amnesty registration period (which somewhat reminds me of what they did when they declared “Street Sweeper Shotguns” to be a “Destructive Device”) of 120 days from rule publication where you can register your braced pistol with the ATF tax free.
The other options given to you by the ATF are to remove the brace completely, which should also be disposed of since possession of it within the area of a short barreled firearm can be ruled as “constructive intent” of an illegal SBR. Or you can ensure your barrel is at least 16” in length per NFA Act of 1934 or destroy/surrender your braced pistol to the ATF.
To register your braced pistol you will have to file a “Form 1” (Application to Make and Register a Firearm) which, if approved, would include your personal information such as passport photo, photos of your firearm, fingerprints, firearm information, as well as personal information in the NFRTR (the central federal registry of all NFA items). Further, the ATF’s NFA branch is so inefficient at processing tax stamps that it was calculated if the millions of assumed brace owners registered their braces, it could take 80 years for them to be approved.
Hopefully by the time of publication this issue is a bit more clear. However readers need to know that they might soon be considered felons by their government by purchasing something recently approved and perfectly legal. The best solution is to abolish the unconstitutional and antiquated National Firearms Act of 1934 which regulates barrel length in the first place. Contact your government representatives and voice your concern about this.
Email Dustin Ellermann at [email protected]