The ATF is Proposing New Rules for Braced Firearms, Already Meeting Resistance

The ATF is considering changing the law to regulate a wide range of firearms with stabilizing braces as NFA items. (Photo: SB Tactical)

The ATF is proposing a new scheme that would add new regulations to firearms with stabilizing braces, classifying many of them as tightly regulated items. This follows a number of other proposals that are meeting heavy resistance throughout the gun industry and from gun owners alike.

The ATF’s proposed brace rules use a loose points-based system that can be used to classify pistols as short-barreled rifles, or SBRs, as well as certain shotguns as short-barreled shotguns, or SBS-es. Gun companies would have to re-submit their products to the ATF to receive classification under the new system or risk facing severe penalties.

Here’s the aforementioned point system. The entire proposed rule is embedded below. Make sure to check it out.

Private gun owners in possession of these firearms have the option of forfeiting their guns or registering them under the National Firearms Act or the Gun Control Act, the NFA and GCA, respectively. In addition to requiring additional costs in the form of tax stamps, these items are tightly regulated and controlled when it comes to many uses, from transportation to transfers.

The ATF would enact the scheme by directly modifying federal gun laws in order to create gun control on their own. All to regulate braces, which were originally developed to assist gun owners with disabilities.

Firearm braces come in many different styles and can vary in function from design to design, but generally make it easier for anyone, disabled or otherwise, to handle certain firearms. Like other proposed rulemaking by the ATF, it will be subject to a 90-day public comment period.

The Firearm Policy Coalition, or FPC, has already created a program intended to halt the ATF and block this proposed ruling. “Comments will be open for 90 days, the ATF has not yet made the docket open for comment,” said the FPC. “FPC will post comment links as soon as they are available.

Braces like these have become incredibly popular, although in recent years, the ATF has sought new ways to restrict them. (Photo: Magpul)

See Also: Magpul’s Highly Anticipated Braces Now Shipping! On the Eve of Possible Regulation

“ATF’s new proposed rule is an attempt to rewrite the law in an arbitrary and exceptionally aggressive manner,” said the FPC. “In short, ATF proposes to re-define the word ‘rifle’ by essentially appending ‘oh, and braced pistols too, sometimes,’ to the definition.”

“Just as FPC did when the Trump Administration’s DOJ lawlessly declared that bump-stocks were machine guns, we will use every available resource to defend the people’s human right to keep and bear arms from attacks by the ATF,” said Adam Kraut, on behalf of the FPC. “We stand ready to defend the people, human liberty, and personal property in this rulemaking process and, if necessary, in court.”

SB Tactical, makers of the original pistol brace, is urging people to contact their representative and support the ATF Accountability Act of 2021 to create a transparent appeals process within the regulatory agency. This is in response to earlier actions by the ATF to treat braces as NFA items without explaining why.

To find out more about the ATF Accountability Act of 2021 visit One Click Politics and to join up with the FPC visit Save the Braces.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Joseph Burge June 12, 2021, 8:02 am

    ATF “hey everybody, SQUIRREL!”
    Smoke and mirrors, misdirection. The ATF and every anti-gun group know it has nothing to do with braces, barrel length, ad nauseum. The GUV can’t do anything without compliance and a database. If they pass a million rulings and no one complies, guess what? Just ask New Zealand.

    If the GUV wants support for any new ruling, just tell me when you hit <10% conviction rate on felon Form 4473 convictions.

  • Derp June 11, 2021, 10:33 pm

    I dare them to do this. Ban braces so we can take it to the supreme court and tackle the NFA. The NFA act of 1934 will be readily ruled unconstitutional and the ATF knows this. They will do everything to make sure a ruling doesn’t happen on that like they did that one guy who they already tried to prosecute for “having an unregistered SBR” when he simply had a brace on an AR pistol. If they don’t back down on this, they are being very stupid in relation to their anti-gun agenda. The snake eating it’s tail perhaps?

  • andrew June 11, 2021, 9:04 pm

    So in the original GCA, Short Barreled Rifles are singled out for regulation because they are UNUSUAL and dangerous. ATF’s own rule acknowledges that over 3 million braces have been sold in the US. So if they reclassify all these braced pistols as SBRs, I’d say the ‘unusual’ description no longer applies. I suspect a wise attorney could make a case that a common weapon (per Heller) cannot be subjected to the strict regulation that SBRs currently are…..

  • Shane June 11, 2021, 5:57 pm

    Pistol braces or short barrelled rifle? Who cares? Has their been an abundance of crime committed with either…primarily after pistol braces came to light? Geez…give it a rest. If I’m being shot at, the shorter the criminal’s barrel…the better for me. velocity and accuracy loss.

  • Frank June 11, 2021, 10:06 am

    I’ve already commented on this nonsense at the Federal Register website. It takes a few clicks to find the ATF proposal, but I’m sure there are links on the way courtesy of 2A advocacy groups. There were less than 80k comments back in December (similar proposal). I urge EVERYONE who believes in our God-given freedoms to make the small effort and comment in opposition (to the proposal). Don’t act like the marxists… use courteous language, and highlight the repeated failure of new laws/regulations to decrease crime i.e., criminals do not obey the law.

    • K Oldman June 11, 2021, 11:14 am

      Best suggestion on here …and should be applied at every level from dimwitted city ordinances to the pandering policies advocated by the white house. Our echo chambers are fun, but ranting in here gets us nowhere.

      Imagine the annoyance each of us could cause if we spent 1/2 the time contacting our politicians that we spend scouring the web over the umpteenth accessory we want to add to our already dusty collection.

  • Dave June 11, 2021, 9:38 am

    The First thing the ATF needs to do is enforce the laws on the books. That would fix the majority of problems with the system. Primarily with tracking the people that are not allowed to own guns not those of us legal owners. The Federal Government (Military) has a poor track record on reporting individuals whom disqualify themselves from legal gun ownership. ATF start a review at the Federal level first then get back to me.

  • FLHawkI June 11, 2021, 8:19 am

    The entire GCA is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. CONGRESS makes the laws, the COURTS interpret the laws and the EXECUTIVE (branch) enforces the laws as they are written – not as they wish they were written. NO SINGLE BRANCH of government should do all three. Allowing once branch of government to do all three is equal to allowing the local police to decide the laws.

    Would it be okay for a police officer to decide that my family lives on this road now. Even though the posted speed limit is 65 MPH – that is far too dangerous for my family – so the speed limit is now 25 MPH. Then the officer sets up a speed trap and gives anyone going faster than 30 MPH a ticket or worse takes the ‘offender’ to jail. Would the public tolerate such actions? Of course, they wouldn’t and the officer would be unemployed. So why do we tolerate such actions from the lawless ATF? Time to make a stand, America! NO MORE GUN LAWS PUT IN PLACE – INTERPRETED BY THE ATF. Enforce the laws as they were written!

  • Dr Motown June 11, 2021, 7:22 am

    Points for flip up sights, 2x hunting scopes, and other “scary” furniture? Anyone who’s ever built and accessorized one of these will be turned into a felon.👹

  • Ken June 10, 2021, 5:14 pm

    The only thing that I get out of reading their proposed rules is that they are majorly overstepping their bounds again. They are trying to close loop holes that Judges have told them that they cannot enforce. Those loop holes need to be closed by Congress, not the ATF. Also reading through this, it appears that they have been overstepping their authority given to them by the GCA and are also trying to fix that by Administrative Procedures rather than by Congress. Seems like it is time to write the congressman to have them look into this and have them set ATF strait. Don’t just write a comment here, write a comment to your congressman too!!!

  • Full Otto June 10, 2021, 3:00 pm

    Wow. Only the ATF can judge what would be compliant. Length of pull will disqualify most braces I know of.

    Design, rear surface area, stabilizing support and Peripheral Accessories are only quantifiable using subjective opinions!

    Off goes the brace and on goes the sling.

  • Infidel June 10, 2021, 11:14 am

    Even Stevie Wonder could have seen this coming.

  • Dumbass June 10, 2021, 9:59 am

    When I see words like “may”, “could be”, “likely,” it opens this to all kind of interpretations. The only people wining in this is the lawyers. Everyone else, nightmares.

  • Andyman June 10, 2021, 8:48 am

    Time to make cars with cupholders illegal because they are used to drink and drive. Maybe a point system on cars because they are used to speed, and some people, ya know, got mad a rammed some people to death during a road rage incident. Over 6 cylinders? Special tax for you. Brush guard? Obviously meant to be used for ramming. Tax. Not enough trunk space? Tax. Wrong color? Tax. Leather? Tax. Cloth? Tax. More safety features? Tax. Less safety features? Tax. Kit car? Obviously a ghost car. Tax.
    Drivers did it to themselves. The government can do no wrong, and never makes mistakes. No one has ever been appointed to a government position due to political ideology. Just trust and obey. That’s how we can be free.

  • F your pronouns June 9, 2021, 10:55 am

    ^^^^ blue dog . Cool pronouns. Cool opinion. Kick rocks.

  • Hank June 9, 2021, 10:45 am

    Hey “Comrade” He/Him. The ATF previously approved shouldering a pistol brace.

    If you read the proposal, you’d see they are basing it on “Indeed, firearms with “stabilizing braces” may have been used in two shootings, with the shooters in both instances reportedly shouldering the “brace” as a stock.”
    So again, two criminals SUPPOSEDLY, used a pistol brace in an ATF APPROVED MANNER.
    Time to get out of your Mother’s basement and get a job.

  • Blue Dog (he/him) June 8, 2021, 1:56 pm

    These pistol braces are not objectionable in and of themselves and IF they were used as advertised, wouldn’t be any more objectionable than the AR pistol (or whatever platform, AK, Shockwave, etc). How many users of these braces are actually using them to shoot these handguns one-handed? Perhaps the more important question, how many are using these braces to shoot their handguns like SBRs or SBS-es? Hang out at a gun counter or at a gun show for an afternoon and you’ll hear at least one boorish ruffian bragging about shouldering his brace. If the public has decided that this is how this product will be used, then what is so wrong with reflecting that use in government regulations of those items? It is not Joe Biden or Merrick Garland or Chip whatshisname that decided these are being used as SBRs; it is the shooting public, you and me.

    • James June 10, 2021, 10:17 am

      Why all the hysteria over these braces? Why is there a “problem” with shoulder stocks on pistols anyways? It certainly doesn’t make them any more concealable.
      Again what you have is a group of politicians who know nothing about firearms and passing laws regarding them. Prior to the illegal 1934 gun control act, one could get trapper models of rifles like 12″ or 14″ inch. Some handguns could be ordered with a shoulder stock.
      These same politicians are the ones who listened to a fringe group who hated alcohol ( sound familiar?) and banned alcohol. Nobody will ever drink again they claimed. Life will be peaches and cream. What happened was,as everyone knows, bootleggers popped up, and started running alcohol. Under ground bars popped up, everyone would go to them and drink. Even the same politicians who voted to ban alcohol went to them. It became a big joke
      Due to the immense amount of money to be made, gangs started and wanted everything to themselves. Then the mob started. Rival gangs would have shoot outs with each other. People complained to the politicians “you have to do something”, and so they and FDR passed the gun control act of 1934. ( Following Hitler’s lead ” gold and guns are enemies of the state”, FDR also banned private ownership of gold- which was illegal, he was blaming citizens for the depression.)
      So instead of punishing the bootleggers, the government punishes the law abiding gun owners! Thinking ” this will stop bootleggers”. Most of the bootleggers ( and bank robbers) stole their guns from national guard armory and police departments. So you get a bunch of politicians making laws about firearms that make no sense at all. So did these laws they passed stop the bootleggers or bank robbers? No. What stopped them was they either got shot or arrested. So why are these laws still on the books? Repeal the 1934 Hitler gun control act now!
      Everytime these gun banning politicians pass another restrictive gun law they claim ” this will stop all crime”. What it really is, is stealing your rights and freedoms. Some politicians even call for restrictions on the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, saying this will stop crime. Maybe they should stop saying defund/ abolish the police. and stop listening to a bunch of loud mouth criminals/ terrorists.
      Remember.. background checks = gun registration = gun confiscation = gun control concentration camps!

    • allblues June 11, 2021, 4:44 am

      Blues Dog (moron/fool), the issue is why is there a restriction on barrel length. Are you really suggesting that a 16” barrel is OK, but a 15 7/8 barrel is not, and worthy of paying the feral government $200 for the privilege of exercising your right to keep and bear arms? Which just happens to be no different than a poll tax, and equally unconstitutional.

    • K Oldman June 11, 2021, 10:59 am

      Does your “I’m a reasonable gun owner trying to educate the unwashed” shtick work when you’re trying to hook up with some vegan hipster he/she at one of your progressive vibe bars in Portland? If not you should change your handle to Blue B@lls…don’t worry, we will still recognize your high-roading rhetoric.

      I hope you used a high-society British accent when you said “boorish ruffian.”

      You can logic your way to any law to protect society from itself and there will always be a way for those with ill intent to render it useless and irrelevant. Leaving the burden and consequences on the rest of us. Does the NFA stop ANY conspiring criminal from swapping or cutting a barrel or putting a stock and a VFG on a pistol? Hmm let’s analyze the internal dialog; “I’m a depressed, victim-of-society, self-destructive psychopathic coward with nothing to lose and I have plans to commit a mass attack on soft targets, but gosh, I really don’t want to get in trouble for violating the NFA just before I go on my suicidal rampage.”

      And yet you’re surprised that “ruffian” at the gun show mocked the stupidity of the ATF’s/IRS’s “stock on a pistol” policy insanity.

    • punisher6 June 11, 2021, 11:16 am

      Sorry Big Dumbass, but YOU are not part of the shooting public.
      In the unlikely event that you/it actually own a firearm, you/it should be disqualified and surrender it for being a complete idiot.

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