BREAKING: ATF to Issue Guidance on “Stabilizing Braces”

Gun News

Your FPC team is in receipt of a draft notice from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) regarding how the agency will be evaluating weapons with “stabilizing braces.” Based upon our initial review of this notice, we offer these thoughts for your consideration:

1) The draft document does not appear to reflect a new “ban” on pistol braces or firearms with such devices. The ATF, evidently, is not indicating that the mere presence of a brace on a pistol automatically converts the firearm into one under the purview of the National Firearms Act (“NFA”). (Indeed, the ATF has no authority to declare accessories like pistol braces to be NFA components, though the agency’s previous conduct provides little reassurance.)

2) The draft document instead purports to be intended to inform the public on how brace-equipped firearms will be examined in the future. Based on the criteria set forth in the draft document, it appears that the ATF would take something of a ‘totality of the circumstances’ approach in determining whether a specific brace-equipped pistol is a ‘short-barreled’ firearm regulated under the NFA. These criteria include: the firearm’s type, caliber, weight, and length, the design of the brace itself, whether the firearm can be properly aimed when using the attachment as a brace, and whether an optic that cannot properly be used one-handed is present (i.e., something that suggests intent). The agency also indicates that it will observe the marketing of firearms and accessories, as well as other more subjective factors.

3) Importantly, the draft document recognizes that most people with braced firearms have acted in good faith. It suggests that the agency seeks to establish a procedure by which people who already have firearms that may fall under the purview of the NFA, and who wish to take advantage of registering them as NFA firearms to obtain the legal protections of such, may potentially do so without payment of the associated tax.

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FPC believes that the NFA is an unconstitutional infringement of the People’s rights, that the ATF should be abolished, and that any policy or practice enforcing the Act is unconstitutional and immoral. 

With that said, the policies in the draft document do not appear to be a significant departure from previous publicly undisclosed agency policies, some of which were discovered through criminal prosecutions, FOIA requests, and other sources. Your FPC team will be monitoring the situation closely. If anything changes we will let you know as soon as possible.

We have and will continue to work for the People and the protection of your rights and liberty. Your FPC team is already working to protect YOU, your rights, and your property in many important cases across the country. Check out FPCLegal.org for more information about litigation on “80%” non-firearm objects, “assault weapon” bans, and more.

REMINDER: IF YOU ARE CONTACTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT: 

1) DO NOT TALK WITH THEM!

Politely say you want to speak with a lawyer–then SHUT UP & call a lawyer! Anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you. You cannot ‘talk your way out’ of any situation. You CAN talk your way into a felony (or many felonies, including false statements. Ask Martha Stewart.). DO NOT talk to law enforcement except through your lawyer. Law enforcement agents are there to *enforce the law* — that means jail/prison.

2) DO NOT OPEN DOORS, and DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOME OR GO OUTSIDE

Stay where you are! Speak through doors if you need to. If they have a warrant then they must say so (and don’t worry–they WILL breach/come through the door without your consent if they want to).

3) DO NOT CONSENT TO SEARCHES!

Don’t give them permission to “look around” or ANYTHING ELSE. You may be able to fight an unlawful search, but consent makes it virtually impossible.

NOTICE — POTENTIAL PLAINTIFFS NEEDED!

FPC is urgently seeking individual and FFL plaintiffs for a number of lawsuits that are being prepared to challenge laws and policies that infringe on fundamental rights, including (but not limited to):

  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from purchasing and/or possessing so-called “assault weapons” (semi-automatic firearms with standard characteristics) and “high-capacity” magazines (standard magazines that hold more than 10 rounds)
  • Laws and policies that prevent 18-20-year-old young adults (under age 21) from obtaining handguns from FFLs and carry loaded, operable arms in public for self-defense
  • Laws and policies that prevent individual adults (over the age of 18) from carrying loaded handguns and other arms outside of their home
  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring and/or possessing handguns and other arms without first acquiring a “purchase permit” 
  • Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring or possessing firearms due to a conviction for a non-violent crime, or mental health adjudication that did not involve an involuntary commitment  
  • Laws that prevent honorably discharged veterans from acquiring or possessing firearms because they have been classified as “a mental defective” due to the agency’s determination that they “lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs” because they need assistance managing VA benefits and have a fiduciary

If someone you know meets the criteria above, or if you would be interested in participating in litigation as a supporting FFL, please contact us:

If you would like to support FPC’s many pro-Second Amendment lawsuits, legal action, and research, please chip in $5, $10, $25, or whatever you can at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/donate or Join the FPC Grassroots Army at JoinFPC.org.

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