UPDATED! “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces””

See edit below. The ATF is playing games with the docket again Don’t be discouraged. Comment.

The ATF’s proposed rule to make virtually all AR-type braced pistols short barreled rifles has finally dropped. Again. For now. We’ll see what happens.

I say “AR-type” because the proposed rule is rather oddly specific to that platform, ignoring pretty much all others.

You can read it and comment HERE. Comments are due by September 8, 2021.

They took comments, then killed the docket. They’ve done this repeatedly with ATF NPRMs. The point seems to be to get the first docket publicized by the gun world, then hide it from users who find nothing at the original links. This discourages commenting while sorta-semi-kinda meeting the letter of the APA law on proposed rule-making.

The docket is now Docket (ATF-2021-0002). For now.

My comment (kpq-x1fk-uj87, submitted 6/10/2021, 9:07AM EDT)

This proposed rule is a coherently expressed description of an arbitrary, capricious, and incoherent process of classifying firearms.

A purely subjective, as no standards were given, examiner’s guesstimate of “rear surface area” could pass a brace, or put it right on the edge of alleged short-barreled rifle by itself.

“Length of pull” presupposes that all braced pistols are SBRs until proven otherwise. The restriction on brace length would make it a one-size-fits some piece of junk. Brace properly fitted for me would be unworkable for a smaller person.

Also, it appears that the ATF is unaware of braced pistols that are not AR-type. The attachment evaluation assumes an AR-type buffer tube. The weight and overall length exclude the entire class of drop-in pistols braces, such as for Glocks. The rule is silent on those. Is the braced Glock automatically an SBR because it fail the 4999 Section tests? Or would the chassis resembling a carbine NEVER be a rifle?

And why in the world would flip-up iron sights (which one might well want for storage and transport) make a pistol into a rifle?

This mess could have been avoided by adopting a sane definition of stabilizing brace: “A device designed to aid a user in holding a large pistol with one hand, which extends no further than the user’s forearm when gripping the firearm normally, and which conforms to the user’s forearm.”

As usual, the ATF is an incoherent solution in search of a nonexistent problem.

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2A advocate, writer, firearms policy & law analyst, general observer of pre-apocalyptic American life.

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