ATF Director Was Wrong About Pistol Brace! Detaching the Brace Is Not Enough to Avoid Prosecution!

Last month, the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Steven Dettelbach, faced questions from a House Judiciary Committee about the ATF’s new rule concerning pistol braces.

Dettelbach told Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) that a firearm owner merely needed to detach the brace from the weapon to comply with the new regulation.

He asserted, “We wrote the rule to make it easy to comply with. If somebody at their home detaches the weapon from the brace and keeps them apart, they do not have to register anything. They can keep the brace, they can keep the business end of the gun.”

Rep. Massie, seeking clarification, asked, “So you’re not going to do some kind of constructive prosecution where you say, ‘You had this, and you had that and you intended to connect them?’”

Dettelbach’s response implied that simply keeping the parts separate would suffice, a point Rep. Massie noted was not clearly articulated in the existing rules.

“They can just keep them separate.  Okay, because that’s not clear in your rules,” said Massie.

SEE ALSO: ATF Director Dettelbach Can’t Define ‘Assault Weapon,’ Wants to Ban Them Anyway

However, it appears Director Dettelbach’s explanation is not accurate.

In a social media post three days ago, the ATF presented more comprehensive compliance options (emphasis added) if the firearm with the stabilizing brace is classified as a short-barreled rifle under the Gun Control Act (GCA):

  1. Remove the short barrel and attach a 16-inch or longer rifled barrel to the firearm.
  2. Permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the “stabilizing brace” so that it cannot be reattached.
  3. Turn the firearm into your local ATF office.
  4. Destroy the firearm.
  5. Register the firearm tax-free by May 31, 2023.

These options, highlighted on the ATF’s website, indicate that merely detaching the brace isn’t enough.

Instead, one must either dispose of the brace permanently, modify it so it can’t be reattached, or follow one of the other specified options.

Failure to comply with the Gun Control Act (GCA) may lead to severe penalties, including felony prosecution.

Possession of a short-barreled rifle without an appropriate tax stamp is prohibited. Violation of these provisions can result in imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for individuals, or $500,000 for organizations, per the ATF.

Given the discrepancies between Dettelbach’s statement and the ATF’s official communication, gun owners are urged to stay informed about the evolving rule interpretation.

With the registration deadline looming and multiple lawsuits underway, it’s likely that the rules may yet change. Stay tuned!

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  • Into In To May 29, 2023, 10:27 am

    Turn the firearm into your local ATF office.
    How cool is that? My firearm has become my local ATF office.

  • kent May 26, 2023, 6:17 pm

    I got rid of mine a year ago because I saw this coming…I sure wish this was still the America I grew up loving…

  • Crimsonfalcon07 May 26, 2023, 12:40 pm

    Which counts as the official position of the ATF, the sworn statement to Congress, under oath, of the director, or a tweet from a random employee? One of these seems a lot more legally admissible than the other. They really don’t have any clue what they’re doing.

  • Tommy Barrios May 26, 2023, 12:32 pm

    It appears to me that these rules listed above listed in the article are unconstitutional, ATF has no business making up his own rules and regulations, no federal agency should be doing that!
    Secondly, these rules and regulations are nothing more than a road to entrapment, especially the last one, “Register the firearm tax-free by May 31, 2023”.
    You’re a fool and an idiot if you do that, because you’ve just told them for sure that you’ve got one and IF you don’t think they’ll come and get it, think again!
    They’ve already got you on the 4473 which is not supposed to be in their possession, but they are and anybody believes they’re not is a fool and an idiot!
    It is time that the ATF was taken out completely, they need to be disbanded they’re nothing more that a criminal organization operating under the color of law, time for a change!

  • Roger Byrd May 26, 2023, 12:29 pm

    How does this ruling not conflict with ex post facto prohibitions for the federal government in Article 1 Sec. 9 and the states governments in Article 1 Sec 10 of the U.S. Constitution?
    These devices existed before and were purchased and personally owned legally before this “regulation” / “law” was written / passed. Therefor; The Constitution states specifically this law is no law and this regulation is no regulation and no court need recognize it.

    • yamaholic June 2, 2023, 9:49 am

      I was wondering that myself…you’d think they’d have to allow current braces to be grandfathered in just like when they banned hi-cap mags, although maybe their BS ‘free registration’ deal is enough to make this borderline legal? I don’t own any pistol braces but if i did I sure as hell wouldn’t trust registering them with the ATF!

  • Gunslinger May 26, 2023, 12:25 pm

    Like every other slimeball bureacrat everywhere Dir. Dettelbach told the congressman what the congressman wanted to hear, knowing he has an army of minions in his department and in the media to explain to everyone that what he said was not what he meant, and who are we to believe – him or our lying ears. So much for constructive intent.
    “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty” -Thomas Jefferson.

  • Gutsy63 May 26, 2023, 11:10 am

    So Dettelbach said that they made the rule easy to understand. Right., so easy that even the director of the atf doesn’t even understand it. He also said that they don’t regulate the brace. It is still legal to own a brace and buy a brace. He is just as confused as us on what the hell the rule is!

  • Charles May 26, 2023, 10:53 am


  • J. Smith May 26, 2023, 10:25 am

    And where is the “just compensation”, using ex post facto, color of law, from a non-law making entity? ATF, Just keep racking up the violations of US Code and the constitution.

    Republicans will have hearings about having hearings, like Brutus, they have your back!

  • Rouge1 May 26, 2023, 10:01 am

    What can go wrong when a so called law enforcement agency can make its own laws and its own interpretation of laws and redefine words at will.

  • Mad Mac May 26, 2023, 9:48 am

    What about the buffer tube ?

    If you put a rifle buffer tube on an AR pistol
    to accommodate a pistol brace
    then destroy the pistol brace
    can the rifle buffer tube be left on ?

    Would it be a legal pistol with a rifle buffer tube
    or an unregistered short barrelled rifle
    without a stock on it ?

    Why didn’t ATF make the rifle buffer tube
    the line that could not be crossed to begin with ?

    • Kane May 26, 2023, 11:48 am

      Good questions since the buffer tube is an integral part of the firearm but if there are cut outs to accompany a brace then might be an ATF manufactured violation. Even Dettlebach is perplexed.

      There are many states now that will NOT allow the sale of any buffer tube so finding one without any cut outs is very unlikely. Can a buffer tube be bought at states near the restricive states? Doubt it. If the buffer tube is removed and you just wait it out does the total 26″ requirments come into play as some sort of “constructive intent”? Maybe.

      If your state has banned the “assault style weapons” then transporting some pistol/NFA rifles across state lines has a serious legal risk. Even the tyrants are NOT sure where they will eventually take this power grab.

      States like NJ, IL et cetera will be the test zones for the looming potentials of a multilayered confiscation war. A Task Forces consisting of DEA, State Police, Sheriff Departments and Local Police will be making well chosen strikes on law abiding citizens. The street gangs will NOT be targetted. White Consevatives like former IL Governor candidate Darrin Bailey will probably will be targetted and he might lose the farm and maybe his life.

      Look for political examples and demographic outcasts to be destroyed and thrown into the J6 type of detention camps.

      Remember, the higherarchy of the FBI and CIA now embrace Communism and consider institutions like the Catholic Church and ideological enemy.

  • Dan Manger May 26, 2023, 9:38 am

    So I can register the weapon as a short barreled rifle for free until the end of the month? Then, afterward, I can swap out the brace for a real stock since it’s already an SBR? Too bad the deadline is so close!

  • Ron Hale May 26, 2023, 6:47 am

    Venal stupidity on parade. We pay these weasels to meaningfully legislate and we get embarrassments like this. Common sense gives way to bureaucratic overreach in pursuit of an agenda.

  • ejharbet May 26, 2023, 6:32 am

    lied under oath to congress.
    will likely get away with it because the kings men are immune from justice.

  • Pete May 26, 2023, 6:29 am

    Several points to be made here:
    Regarding the ATF specifically; Who is calling the shots at ATF? Generally, when the head of an organization makes a statement, correct or incorrect, that becomes policy. It’s not likely that someone below that person will publish a correction or update as happened here. Does this man run the ATF or not? How could he be so out of touch with his organization’s policy unless he wasn’t and he was obfuscating?
    Regarding the leftist Modus Operandi:
    It’s pretty clear that the democrats have embraced the Colonel Klink strategy when questioned. “I hear noting, I see noting, I say noting”, and it seems to be working. We have Dettlebach who won’t/can’t define an “assault weapon”, and Ketanji Brown, who cannot/will not define, “a woman”. It seems the less they know, the better candidate they are as long as they check off the proper boxes.
    As bizarre as it seems, both of these individuals were able to “not respond” to simple, common-sense questions, and were still promoted to their positions. This brings me to my third and most important point.
    We are now seeing firsthand the result of the Peter Principle colliding with DEI. It’s clear many of the people in the Biden administration were chosen for reasons other than their qualifications. We’re looking at the “C” and “D” teams running our country, and it’s pretty scary. God help us.

  • Davron May 26, 2023, 4:54 am

    So when can the ATF director be brought up on charges for lying to Congress and put in jail?

    • Hondo May 26, 2023, 6:40 am

      That’s (D)ifferent , his party has immunity. We are a banana republic.

  • Mark S LaCasse May 26, 2023, 4:44 am

    We were told the same thing by ATF during a virtual training seminar on Feb. 1 2023. Just take it off, don’t store it with the gun and you’re good. Sounds like they misled a lot of people. Makes you wonder if maybe it was done on purpose.

  • Dr Motown May 25, 2023, 8:08 am

    Congress has let this BS go on far too long without intervening. BATFE has no business making its own laws and classifications, using “experts” that obviously don’t understand firearms themselves.

  • Mark N. May 25, 2023, 1:07 am

    Who is going to tell the boss (who is a past Attorney General of Ohio) that he was wrong on the law and that he mislead Congress? Do you think that such advice might prompt him to look at all the other vaguely written regulations that do more to ensnare than to allow a safe harbor? (Nah.)

  • Kane May 24, 2023, 11:02 am

    How does a lawyer like Dettelbach go in front a HJC and give false information?

    Where were the agency lawyers to wisper in his ear?

    Who is running the 3 letter agencies?

    Does this mean that under the “Rule of lenity” the ATF just blew up their case?

    Do court decisions even matter any more?

    Should the courts start buying millions of rounds of ammo?

    • Kane May 24, 2023, 2:48 pm

      Just wondering, can any court now grant deference to this regulating agency now that the US has seen that the top banana does NOT [understand] the basic legal issues?

      The fake POTUS (genuine POS) has assembled an incompetant group of tyrants.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment May 23, 2023, 4:44 pm

    next it will be if any gun can take a brace……….. won’t be long before a 22lr rascal will be considered a machine gun!

    • Rouge1 May 26, 2023, 10:05 am

      In surprised that they don’t call Jerry Miculek’s finger a machine gun.

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