The ATF has suddenly and unexpectedly backed off on its efforts to force owners of pistol braces to register their firearms equipped with them under the NFA.
“Upon further consultation with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, ATF is withdrawing, pending further DOJ review, the notice and request for comments entitled, “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’,” that was published on December 18, 2020,” said ATF Associate Deputy Director Marvin G Richardson in a statement on Wednesday.
“The withdrawal of the guidance does not change any law, regulation, or other legally binding requirement,” added Richardson.
Since its initial announcement on Dec. 18, more than 48,000 comments were submitted to the federal registry, the vast majority of which were, presumably, from concerned brace owners and 2A advocates.
Undoubtedly, those comments were critical of the ATF’s purported guidance on regulating braces because an honest reading of it indicated that it was, at the very least, confusing and contradictory.
SEE ALSO: ATF Guidance Letter for Stabilizing Braces Says Each Firearm Considered on ‘Case by Case Basis’
Along with pressure from the public, congressional lawmakers also weighed in to oppose the move. In a letter published on Dec. 22, more than 80 representatives signed on to say the decision was “alarming” and that it “jeopardizes law-abiding gun owners across the country.”
BREAKING: @RepRichHudson and 89 other members of Congress signed a letter opposing ATF’s recent pistol brace guidance. Thank you to all NRA members and gun owners who contacted their members of Congress and demanded they protect #2A.— NRA (@NRA) December 23, 2020
TAKE ACTION HERE➡️https://t.co/fXQGV1enxf pic.twitter.com/3Xx1Rqejjk
Looking ahead, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, has said that it will continue to work with ATF to clarify the matter.
“NSSF has long requested the ATF to publish objective criteria by which firearm manufacturers can readily produce firearms equipped with arm braces in compliance with the law. To date, the criteria is subjective and open to interpretation on a case-by-case basis. The guidance proposed by the ATF last week did little, unfortunately, to clear the ambiguity that exists with subjective criteria,” NSSF said in a statement.
“NSSF is committed to working with the ATF, on behalf of firearm manufacturers, to establish objective criteria for stabilizing brace-equipped firearms. The firearm industry trade association will continue to monitor and provide updates on any further developments,” NSSF continued.
Bottom line, pistol brace owners can breathe a sigh of relief — at least for now.