Friday, January 16, 2015

And Speaking of Turds in the Punchbowl...

This is an Open Letter on the Redesign of "Stabilizing Braces" from Max Kingery, Acting Chief, Firearms Technology Criminal Branch, BATFE. Rich Grassi of The Tactical Wire received this Open Letter this afternoon. Forgive me if it's been published earlier. Here's the "nut graf," as it were:
The pistol stabilizing brace was neither “designed” nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock, and therefore use as a shoulder stock constitutes a “redesign” of the device because a possessor has changed the very function of the item. Any individual letters stating otherwise are contrary to the plain language of the NFA, misapply Federal law, and are hereby revoked.  
Any person who intends to use a handgun stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock on a pistol (having a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length or a smooth bore firearm with a barrel under 18 inches in length) must first file an ATF Form 1 and pay the applicable tax because the resulting firearm will be subject to all provisions of the NFA.
What does this mean? On first reading, it seems the ATF has completely walked back the approval of the Sig brace and other subsequent versions. Hopefully, Adam Kraut at will weigh in pretty quickly...they've been on top of the whole ATF waffling issue from the beginning.


Anonymous said...

Insane "ruling" if it's even that. Seems to suggest that it's legal to sell, own and buy as long as you play by their rules but if you raise it to shoulder even once, you're a felon. Would that include home alone in front of mirror? And how would they possibly enforce it? Drones orbiting above ranges? That would seem to be the only way, and gosh, I for one would welcome this sensible expenditure of public monies.

Robb Harbaugh said...

This ruling seems to make sense to me. The ATF originally wanted to ban the T/C contenders because someone could put a shoulder stock on a frame with a short pistol barrel. The court ruled that as long as no one mounted the short barrel and shoulder stock at the same time, everyone could own all the components. I would hate to give up having the wonderful functionality of my Contenders because I couldn't resist the urge to make a SBR, just as the owners of the brace would hate to give up the ability to shoot tighter groups because someone wanted to skirt the SBR regs.

nj larry said...

The power of the state is not to be questioned. Ever. Repeat after me. Je suis New Jersey. Again please. Je suis New Jersey.

Has a nice ring to it eh?

Michael Bane said...

In fact, the NFA rules on SBRs are purely insane. SBRs (and SBSes) are "legacies" in the NFA from their original intend to control handguns the same as machine guns. The ATF ruling today is, frankly, yet another BHo attempt to trip up gun owners.


Anonymous said...

BATFE proves once again, they serve no purpose but to oppress the citizens of the US...

Vince Warde said...

Unless yet another letter has come out (which is certainly possible) the letter referred to the intent AT THE TIME OF CONSTRUCTION. If you build an AR "pistol" yourself, intending to use it as an SBR, then you need to go the NFA route. Presumably, they would know your intent based upon how you used it.

On the other hand, if you buy an AR pistol with a brace, then the intent of the manufacturer would be the deciding factor - not the use by the end user.

The "mistake" ATF made as approving the brace at all. They should have simply ruled that it was a buttstock. That position would be easier to defend.

Anonymous said...

I think the BATF royally screwed up by announcing this before SHOT not after. Piss off everyone in the gun world days before they're set to pow-wow for a week, Perfect time to organize pressure on the new Congress for some good old fashioned defunding.

CJ said...

The ATF is just covering their butts. Intent would have to be proven for any case they took to trial. The repeated "YouTube" videos, showing people shooting "pistols" with the arm braces shouldered like a rifle, has had the effect of making it seem like the ATF is ok with SBRs that were intended as pistols. As long as the arm braces are out there, we'll see periodic letters such as this. Sort of like an old dog letting out a woof now and then.

clark myers said...

I rushed out and bought a Tavor for similar applications - not planning to stick my neck out.

Agreed that the GOP owes gun owners something. Making sense of this mess should be but isn't easy. Gun grabbers are willfully ignorant and so immune to logic and facts on so simple a thing as rationalizing bad laws.

YouTube and open carry are sore spots. I am upset and undecided about the public exercise of rights as in Olympia WA - can't tell anybody not to but I sort of wish they wouldn't at the same time I'm sort of glad they can and did.

Anonymous said...

So. Braced against forearm--OK. Bicep? Well a bicep isn't the shoulder.Middle of the chest? Not an un-common position for the butt of the gun in armored up situations. Upside down with the brace against your forehead? Not the shoulder, and the video should get some hits!

But let that piece of plastic touch your shoulder and fire a shot--bang,Federal Felony. I believe Bugs Bunny had the correct comment for this situation.

George said...

It seems to me if you shoulder your pistol brace in front of a knowledgeable ATF agent or cop, and you can not furnish your tax stamp, they are obliged to arrest you and charge you with a felony.

It is time to mount a campaign to get rid of the SBR, SBS, and silencer nonsense once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should pay the $200 and file a form 1 on their shoulder.

Be interesting to see if somebody challenges this NFA designation in court arguing that per the Heller decision shouldering an ATF approved pistol stabilizing has become a common use(due primarily to the ATF's previous determination allowing the shouldering of pistol stabilizing braces) and is not subject to the NFA under the common use clause:

"(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation.
Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor
Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individualrights
interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not
limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather
limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by
the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes
. Pp. 47–54.

We may as well consider at this point (for we will have
to consider eventually) what types of weapons Miller
permits. Read in isolation, Miller’s phrase “part of ordinary
military equipment” could mean that only those
weapons useful in warfare are protected. That would be a
startling reading of the opinion, since it would mean that
the National Firearms Act’s restrictions on machineguns
(not challenged in Miller) might be unconstitutional,
machineguns being useful in warfare in 1939. We think
that Miller’s “ordinary military equipment” language must
be read in tandem with what comes after: “[O]rdinarily
when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were
expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves
and of the kind in common use at the time.”

The traditional militia was formed from a pool of
men bringing arms “in common use at the time” for lawful
purposes like self-defense. “In the colonial and revolutionary
war era, [small-arms] weapons used by militiamen
and weapons used in defense of person and home were one
and the same
.” State v. Kessler, 289 Ore. 359, 368, 614
P. 2d 94, 98 (1980) (citing G. Neumann, Swords and
Blades of the American Revolution 6–15, 252–254 (1973)).
Indeed, that is precisely the way in which the Second Amendment’s operative clause furthers the purpose announced
in its preface. We therefore read Miller to say
only that the Second Amendment does not protect those
weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens
for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.
That accords with the historical understanding of the
scope of the right, see Part III, infra.25
We conclude that nothing in our precedents forecloses
our adoption of the original understanding of the Second

Not to mention, that this is setting a dangerous new policy precedent for BAFTE enforcement expansion into largely uncharted(by the BATFE's own admission) territory of new (unauthorized?, unconstittutiioonal?) authority:

"FTB classifies weapons based on their physical design characteristics. While usage/functionality of
the weapon does influence the intended design, it is not the sole criterion for determining the
classification of a weapon. Generally speaking, we do not classify weapons based on how an
individual uses a weapon

I will be contacting my members of Congress to request an investigation/hearings to look into this matter to provide some much needed Congressional oversight on an agency that seems to be growing a government bureaucracy power grab and is engaging in a backdoor expansion of their enforcement authority into new unchartered frontiers without any congressional scrutiny.