In the next 48 hours the DOJ will publish a letter for a rule change on the Federal Register that will possibly change the public perception of braces and place the ATF in a position to rule on any individual braced pistol to be an illegal SBR. Things like caliber, length of pull, accessories like scopes, forward hand grips, drum magazines and bipods may lead the ATF to deem your particular firearm to be an illegal SBR. However, the letter does not offer any detailed guidance as to the specifics such as the calibers that make it a SBR, the specific length of pull, the weight, etc. it only speaks in generalities. Because the letter does not clearly define what is a legal braced configuration vs. an illegal SBR, it leaves owners to guess for themselves what might be legal and what isn’t.
Owners will have the option of registering their braced pistol on the NFA but the tax will we waived as long as the gun was in said configuration prior to the publication of the DOJ letter. You will also be able to remove the brace, surrender the gun, change the barrel length to 16″ or destroy the firearm. The letter on the Federal Register will be open for comments for 2 weeks. The end of the letter states that the rule change does not carry the force of law. So what does it mean? Only the ATF and DOJ seem to know.
Welcome to the largest gun registration scheme in US history. I hope you’re as pissed off as I am. More to come.
In a 16 page draft copy of proposed rulemaking specifying “Objective Factors for Classifying Stablizing Braces”, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has proposed entering into rulemaking to delineate the objective factors considered when “evaluating firearms with an attached stabilizing brace to determine whether they are considered firearms under the National Firearms Act (‘NFA’) and/or the Gun Control Act (‘GCA)” and the Department of Justice’s plan to “subsequently implement a separate process for current possessors of stabilizer-equipped firearms to choose to register such firearms in compliance with the NFA.”
While the proposed rulemaking has not yet been published in the Federal Register, it is expected to be published in the upcoming weeks and interestingly seemingly in violation of the law ATF is only providing a 14 day comment period, at least, pursuant to the draft copy. “Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must be submitted on or before [INSERT DATE 14 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER].” It would not surprise me if the proposed rulemaking is published on December 24th, so that most interested individuals and businesses will be distracted by the holidays and unable to respond in the two week response period. To prevent against these types of shenanigans, the Gun Control Act mandates a 90 day comment period.
magic get your free tax stamp part
Consequently, following issuance of this notice, ATF and DOJ plan to implement a separate process by which current possessors of affected stabilizer-equipped firearms may choose to register such firearms to be compliant with the NFA. As part of that process, ATF plans to expedite processing of these applications, and ATF has been informed that the Attorney General plans retroactively to exempt such firearms from the collection of NFA taxes if they were made or acquired, prior to the publication of this notice, in good faith. This separate process may include the following options: registering the firearm in compliance with the NFA (described above), permanently AS SUBMITTED removing the stabilizing brace from the firearm and disposing of it, replacing the barrel of the firearm (16″ or greater for a rifle, or 18″ or greater for a shotgun), surrendering the firearm to ATF, or destroying the firearm.