The ATF released the list of objectionable features used to determine whether a pistol with a stabilizing brace is designed to be fired from the shoulder hence a short-barreled rifle. However, the document fails to address the issues that people in the gun community want to be answered.
The document is a mere blueprint, without legal authority, and lacks any concrete information to serve any useful purpose. However, it suggests that the ATF is determined to classify pistol braces as NFA items. Essentially, it is a gun registration scheme with a resemblance to public participation.
The ATF acting director Regina Lombardo had disclosed that pistol braces and 80% receivers would be prioritized by the bureau this coming season. Joe Biden’s team was also communicating with the ATF behind the current administration’s back.
Coincidentally, the agency raided Polymer80 regarding 80 percent receivers, demands customer information for buyers, and has now given the clearest signal that AR-15 pistols will come under the NFA regulation.
The new document highlights features used to classify firearms which include the type and caliber, weight and length, length of pull, attachment method, stabilizing brace design features, aim point, secondary grip, sights and scopes, and peripheral accessories.
It seems that, based on the current document, the fate of the AR-15 pistols is sealed.
You can view the full text here but here’s a summary.
Type and Caliber – The ATF says that a firearm that is “impractical to fire with one hand because of recoil or other factors even when fitted with arm braces would be considered as a rifle or shotgun.”
Weight and Length – a firearm fitted with a stabilizing brace would be considered a rifle or a shotgun if it was:
· so heavy that it’s impractical to fire or aim with one hand
· so long making it difficult to balance or fire with one hand
However, the ATF does not provide objective measurements because it operates on the “we will know when we see it” approach.
In the same document, the ATF says:
“shotguns having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length and rifles having barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length and certain weapons made from shotguns and rifles, are ‘firearms’ as defined by the NFA and are subject to registration and taxes.”
The ATF suggests that “AR-15 pistols are NFA items, but some are legal, although we are not going to tell you which ones are.” Gun owners have to wait until ATF agents come knocking at their door.
Length of Pull referring to “distance from the trigger to the point at which a stock meets the shoulder.”
Using this classification, the ATF determines that the “distance between the trigger and the back of the brace is generally expected to be shorter than the distance between the trigger and the back of a stock on a weapon designed to be fired from the shoulder.”
Similarly, “If a brace is of a length that makes it impractical to attach to the shooter's wrist or forearm, then that may demonstrate that it is not designed as brace but rather for shoulder fire.”
Attachment Method. The method used to attach the stabilizing brace would be used to determine if a firearm was designed to be shot from the shoulder.
The ATF says that the attachment methods extend “the distance between the trigger and the part of the weapon that contacts the shooter.” The ATF further claims that the attachment methods extend the stabilizing braces making it impossible to use it “other than from the shoulder.”
Stabilizing Brace Design Features. The objective design features of the attached stabilizing brace itself are relevant to the classification of the assembled weapon and include:
The comparative function of the attachment
The design of the brace compared to shoulder stock design
The amount of rear contact surface
The material used
Any shared or interchangeable parts
Any other feature that improves the effectiveness of the firearm
Still, the ATF does not provide the objective specifications to determine the legality of features and it’s upon the gun owners to guess. The only solution is for the Trump administration to act, FOR ONCE, and reign in the assault on our Second Amendment rights.
We could also keep contacting the ATF and signing petitions and when under the right conditions, file lawsuits. Or perhaps we could just "move along with it" as the NRA once told us about bump stock bans.
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