ATF Suffers Rare Court Loss in Ohio Unregistered ‘Short Barrel Rifle’ Prosecution

There’s been much sturm und drang in the online gun community over the last couple of days following the ATF’s prosecution of an Ohio man who equipped an AR pistol with a Maxim Defense collapsible cheek rest. The prevalent take is that the ATF has unilaterally changed their interpretation of the law, altered their earlier rulings on AR pistol extensions and are about to come for our pistol braces. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most of the panic and over-reaction is traceable to a Prince Law post on the case. But that post doesn’t mention some key mistakes the prosecution and the ATF made and buries the lede, only noting at the end that, unlike over 95% of such prosecutions, the defendant was found not guilty and the ATF got their ass handed to them.

TTAG has talked with a number of people directly involved with the case in the last couple of days and here’s what happened . . .

Toledo police responded to a domestic disturbance call in March at the home of Kelland and Christina Wright. Mr. Wright, a Marine veteran, allegedly threw a cell phone at his wife and was arrested. As a part of an arrest for a domestic violence complaint, police confiscated all firearms in the home, including an AR pistol equipped with the Maxim cheek rest.

When the gun was subsequently examined by the ATF, they deemed it an unregistered short barrel rifle (SBR). That determination was based on the fact that, according to the ATF’s measurements, the Maxim cheek rest — which had been altered with the addition of a rubber “cane tip” on the end — resulted in a length of pull that’s greater than the 13.5-inch limit the ATF says is the maximum for any similar AR pistol accessory.

Wright had apparently added the cane tip to keep the gun upright when stored in his safe. Prosecutors argued that was an illegal alteration to the gun.

As a result, Wright was charged with possession of an unregistered short barrel rifle, a felony.

There were a couple of problems with the case against Wright, however. First, the ATF has never issued an official public opinion letter stating that AR pistols with such accessories — cheek rests, pistol braces, etc. — must have a length of pull of no more than 13.5 inches to avoid being considered an SBR.

The ATF had communicated that fact to various manufacturers in private opinion letters concerning their specific products over the years (and some of those companies have chosen to make those letters public), but nothing has ever been communicated to the general gun-buying public by the agency.

As a result, the defense argued that Wright had no reasonable way of knowing about the 13.5-inch length of pull limit. There’s a Supreme Court precedent in Staples v. United States that found a gun owner has to know that his firearm has characteristics that bring it under NFA regulation to be guilty of a crime.

The second problem had to do with how the ATF measured Wright’s gun. Here’s the standard method for measuring a long gun’s length of pull:

how to measure a long gun's length of pull

courtesy theyorkshiregent.com

The distance is measured from the trigger to the rear-most point on the stock along a line that’s parallel to the axis of the barrel. Here’s how the ATF measured Wright’s gun:

That’s right, they measured it on an angle. The defense pointed out that measuring that way isn’t standard and was done to produce the longest possible length of pull. In this case, measuring on an angle produced a LOP of 13.75 inches, or .25 inch more than the supposed limit.

The defense’s expert witness measured the gun the standard way:

And…what do you know? Wright’s gun — even with the cane tip attached — has a length of pull of 13.5 inches when measured properly.

So to sum up, not only was Wright unaware of the double-secret 13.5-inch length of pull limit, but his gun didn’t even exceed it. The jury found him not guilty in less than an hour.

The Prince post also mentioned that the ATF asked for and was granted an order sealing a number of documents used in the case. As a part of their defense, Wright’s attorneys used a selection of those opinion letters the ATF had issued to manufacturers in connection with specific products under consideration. The ATF argued against releasing those for use by the defense in the trial, but lost that fight.

The ATF then, reasonably enough, sought to have those letters sealed and not included in the public record of the trial because they contained potentially sensitive competitive information concerning the companies involved…not because they were trying to hide any internal ATF decision-making from the public. Those documents were never intended for public disclosure unless the companies themselves decided to release them.

The other good news for Mr. Wright — besides the not guilty verdict — is that while the entire ordeal was no doubt extremely stressful, his defense didn’t cost him a thing. Wright was represented by a court-appointed attorney and came away owing not a dime. The cherry on top is that the ATF and US Attorney were publicly embarrassed for prosecuting a frivolous case, one with a couple of gaping legal holes that never should have seen the inside of a court room.

Long story short, an innocent man is free and the ATF hasn’t done an about-face on cheek rests, pistol braces or any other AR accessories they’ve previously said are OK. If you own an SB Tactical stabilizing brace, no one is claiming it’s no longer legal. If you like your pistol brace, you can keep your pistol brace.

comments

  1. avatar Lost Down South says:

    1) Hooray for our side.

    2) Maxim cheek rests sure looks mighty purdy

    3) 10x more expensive that a Shockwave blade

    4) About as expensive as the last full AR I built

    5) Can’t / won’t afford one.

    6) Still mighty purdy.

    QUESTION:

    I see a folding forward hand grip. Isn’t that illegal on a pistol? (making it an SBR)

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      It’s an angled grip, not a vertical grip, so it’s “ok”…

      1. avatar Shiff says:

        Looks like that pistol still has some bare rail on it…

        1. avatar Jeremiah says:

          Definitely needs more tactical cow bell.

      2. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        “It’s an angled grip, not a vertical grip, so it’s “ok”…”

        An ‘angled’ grip can be folded?

        OK, I make a grip with an angle of 90.01 degrees and fold it…

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          That one isn’t foldable, it just looks like that in the 1st picture. The 2nd picture has a better look at it.

      3. avatar A Brit in TX says:

        And this is where the law (or ATF’s interpretation of it) is a complete ass. We’ve now got to the point where we’re saying that this or that is good or legal based upon fractions of an inch, or angles of foregrips. It seems that tyranny is winning and that the freedoms that this great country is famed for are being snipped away, one at a time. Not sure if voting R next week will help, but surely it will slow the snipping.

        1. avatar UsedToBePun says:

          Sadly, you’re barking up the wrong tree here. A lot of us try pointing out these things but it largely falls on deaf ears. All you get is: “You gotta follow the law!!!” responses, or the age old: “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” retort.

          This is where all supposed freedom loving people should stand together and educate their fellow citizens. Where is the NRA and other groups when these types of ridiculous cases are brought forward? Why is their no one person out there on this man’s behalf, in the run up to the trial, letting people know that they, as jurors, can nullify any unjust statute or “law” by their decree?

          Kansas writes a state law saying that guns and accessories manufactured in their state and only sold in their state would not be subject to federal laws and restrictions since there is no “interstate commerce”. First case that gets prosecuted for Kansas-made suppressors and the State is nowhere to be seen defending its’ citizens rights under the law. Then fed.gov states that it’s not interstate commerce that they rely on, but Congress’ power to tax, in general. Just keep moving them goal posts. But the comments of supposed 2a supporters were the most disheartening. They almost universally disparaged the manufacturer of the suppressor and buyer of the suppressor as “idiots” and “getting what they deserved.”

          It’s a shame and disgrace.

          https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article126014949.html

        2. avatar Fred Ducque says:

          A pro 2A regulator here. Laws and regulations have to be enforced as written…..for YOUR protection. If you can be excused for 13.75″, you can be prosecuted for 13.00″! It is better to change that law/regulation to provide for a civil fine of a reasonable amount ($100? $200?) that you could mail in for a violation of less than, say, 1.00″, reduce the impact for trivial offenses. Save the big penalties for the big violations and don’t waste the taxpayers’ money on trivial stuff!

    2. avatar Skippy says:

      The Stark “Angled Foregrip” has been considered as a Vertical Foregrip because you are able to wrap your entire hand around it. (Another unofficial ATF opinion)

      However, this is a moot point because a VFG is allowed on a pistol if it is >26″ OAL, because that OAL is the deciding point between an AOW and a “firearm”. With that 13.5″ extended brace, he has to exceed the 26″ OAL.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        I really wish we’d get a case like this where the attorney forces the ATF witness to admit not one of the features they brought charges for actually appears in the statute they are charging under, and all exist as enforceable law solely as a result of ATF discretion. This case was a perfect example of that sort of abuse of power, I just wish the attorney had been able to draw more attention to it (but obviously his primary job extends to getting his client acquitted & not much further so I understand not pressing the issue)

        1. avatar trpter97 says:

          I’ll bet those arguments were made at trial. The docket posted on Prince’s blog say that someone ordered a transcript … whenever that arrives, we’ll be able to see …

      2. avatar int19h says:

        Don’t spread FUD. Stark SE-5 has an ATF letter specifically stating that it’s legal to use on “pistols”:

        https://i.imgur.com/wfd1QGP.jpg

        ATF has never said anything about “can wrap entire hand around” being the criteria to determine whether something is a VFG or an AFG. As you can see from the letter above, their sole criteria is “oriented at a perpendicular (90-degree) angle to the bore of the weapon”.

    3. avatar frank speak says:

      much ado about nothing…why did they even bother?…losing in court does not set well with the “management”….somebody’s ass is probably in trouble…

      1. avatar Terry says:

        Because that’s what happens when bureaucrats have the power to decide lives. You never know which one will have an off day and decides to destroy your life. Zero consequences for them regardless of how the case goes.

    4. avatar Peter says:

      Honestly he should have been yelled at for having an ugly gun. 😜

  2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    So . . . His wife called the cops because he threw a cell phone at her? And for that the cops confiscated his guns and got the ATF to charge him with a felony. Perhaps the saddest thing about this whole sordid little drama is that in all likelihood they’re probably still together.

    1. avatar TheUnspoken says:

      Mad at him for shattering her fancy iPhone screen? Or did he throw his own phone?

      The pistol is rather cheesy, would have been a shame to do hard time over “the Blackbeard.” Glad he was found not guilty.

      Pretty savvy defense from the public defender.

      1. avatar Kcoloresestepapel says:

        Super funny. I think what you just said is awesome.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      If he’s convicted of the original DV charge, he threw a phone at her, it means no more guns for him, forever. Who lost here?

      1. He won’t be. The misdemeanor domestic violence and assault charges were dropped. Wright plead no contest to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

        1. avatar DickBallsington says:

          Doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Even a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct can trigger the Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence clause making the convicted a prohibited person. The language of the law doesn’t specify a specific crime or crimes, it specifies particular aspects of the crime committed. Any conviction that:

          (1) is a misdemeanor under Federal, State, or Tribal law;
          (2) has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon; and
          (3) was committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.

          would count as a MCDV. So if the ATF determines that his misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct conviction had, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, committed against his spouse (which if he threw the phone AT her, is certainly an argument to be made), it would make him a prohibited person even though he was not convicted of a domestic violence charge specifically.

          I know this as a friend was recently convicted of Disorderly Conduct for a verbal altercation with a bartender. When renewing his Curio & Relics FFL the next year, he had to send a whole passel of documentation to the ATF to satisfy them that this conviction did not constitute a MCDV.

        2. avatar Jc57FN says:

          He won’t be getting it back.

          In part of the trial the DA states that the case is not about whether or not he was legal to possess. They did that for a reason.

          The only way he gets it back is if he made a deal and got the entire case dismissed, was found not guilty, or the state decided to drop the case all together which states will not do in a DV case.

          BTDT got my guns back upon dismissal of the case. What constitutes “DV” now days is pathetic. All anyone else has to say is that you’re dating and that they don’t feel safe and you will take a ride around here. You don’t even have to touch anyone to be charged ask me how I know? Laughtenberg has been used to subvert and destroy the 2nd amendment IMO.

          I wouldn’t feel bad at all if the dude decided to fly low and continue owning guns anyway. FBATFE

        3. avatar kenneth says:

          JC57AN:
          I think you missed this line: “The jury found him not guilty in less than an hour.”
          This means that , by law, he should be getting the gun back. How much you want to bet that he won’t, or if he does it will be after yet another legal battle?

        4. avatar anonymoose says:

          Well it is Ohio, so you can still do private sales. Too bad my dad doesn’t practice that far north (and also that he’s a fudd) or we might be able to help this Marine with getting the disorderly conduct thing expunged.

        5. avatar Dave Smith says:

          Sad thing is the Feds used to contact Law Enforcement on these and ask, “was this domestic involved”. If the answer was “yes” they treated it like a domestic conviction. They were checking on Judges, Officers and Prosecutors that reduced charges to avoid a domestic conviction on someone.

    3. avatar frank speak says:

      Toledo is a liberal town….

    4. avatar Barry S Parks says:

      Sorry,
      You get my guns taken away.
      We can’t be friends no more 😣

    5. avatar Terry says:

      Imagine the kind of shit she’ll make up when he tries to divorce her.

  3. avatar Texheim says:

    That’s an ugly ass pistol. Oh, and don’t throw your cell phone at a mentally unstable woman (that means all women)…

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      yeah, the gun is fugly with that skull and all that extra fluff adorning the handguard. When I see things like this, along with sported up cars and such, I think immature manchild trying to overcompensate for his deficits.

      1. avatar Ash says:

        Oh good, the guy with the celtic knot is adopting the liberal “overcompensating” line. Pretty pathetic.

        1. avatar kahlil says:

          The gun looks like an accessory to an action figure found in the toy aisle of Wally World. If the goof that bedazzled his gun with all that crap, along with the skull mounting, ever uses it defensively then he’d have a hell of a time trying to convince someone that he wasn’t violent and looking for a fight. Now with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct involving a loved one under his belt he’s at a bigger disadvantage if he and that gun find their way back into court for any reason. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I stand by my comment that he’s overcompensating for something in his life and the only way he knows how is to blow money of a cheap looking tacticool gun. I’d wager his truck has a lift kit and he’s plastered it with Punisher, GS Style, and gun flag stickers.

          Did the ATF err? Yes. Does this gun owner have the right to be treated fairly in a court of law and not have incorrect laws/regulations thrown at him? Yes. Outside of that the guy is still an idiot. Rather than look at the bigger picture here all you can do is criticize an avatar image and call someone a liberal. Grow up.

        2. avatar NateInPA says:

          “Grow up”…
          Says the guy criticizing someone else for the way THEIR gun looks.

          Maybe he’s “immature”, maybe he just watches too many James Reeves videos…but you, sir, are no less an idiot for your rant about someone else’s property.

      2. avatar H says:

        WTF cares what YOU find to be distasteful or unattractive in a firearm such that you think it’s just plenty juvenile to troll the guys build? You probably run nothing but HiPoints yourself, right?
        I’m sure the guy did NOT build his gun to please YOU, so WTF don’t you just sit the Hell down, have a mug of STFU, and let the ADULTS have an ADULT conversation without the likes of you and your ilk putting down others?
        Pull your panties out of your crack, Troll, because it is causing your case of SIVS to flare up.
        Some people’s kids, I SWEAR! SMDH

        1. avatar kahlil says:

          sorry I hit a nerve, didn’t mean to dis your gun and truck choice. Glad the jury decided in your favor.

        2. avatar Texheim says:

          Oh my, this has got to be the guy the article is about because that is too much of an irrational outburst to be anything else.

    2. avatar Jeremiah says:

      They both sound like nut cases. If you’re throwing things at your wife, just GTFO and get some help.

      1. avatar kenneth says:

        So only nut cases get mad? Gee, that’s not what I’ve noticed after 60 years on this planet. Unless you want to make the case that EVERYBODY is nuts. Then, I might agree with you… I don’t call us “psychotic hairless apes” for nothing.

    3. avatar Salty Bear says:

      Good job outing yourself as a mysogynist. That must’ve taken a lot of courage. 😒

      1. avatar Jasper says:

        Dude, you never had your women slap you or throw a frying pan or dish at you?
        If not, you definitely haven’t made much of an emotional connection with her.
        Woman don’t get mad at you? She’s got some guy on the side that she is getting mad at instead.
        “jus sayin”

        1. So unless you and your spouse physically abuse each other, you “haven”t made an emotional connection”?

          Please sell all your guns to someone more intelligent, and seek a therapist. You clearly have no clue how relate to any human being.

    4. avatar sound awake says:

      on a scale from 1 to 10 theres no woman thats less than a 4 crazy

      see: universal hot crazy matrix

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vwbKYcBdVyk

      1. avatar Tim U says:

        I’m not even sure that’s correct… maybe the crazy level 4s are out there just exceedingly rare. I’ve never met one.

        1. avatar MB says:

          The #4’s are out there, I have one, and she likes guns, and if I could get her cloned I could make a fortune. Looks don’t matter much, too many guys want pretty, well most the pretty ones are crazy. Ask me how I know…

  4. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Sounds like the swamp draining needs to continue for a while.

    Gotta wonder if he ever got his cell phone back, though.

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

      I hope he got the gun back…

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        From a personal-property point of view, I hope he got it back. From an aesthetic point of view, I hope the ATF melted that fugly bitch down into future Pepsi cans.

  5. avatar Stateisevil says:

    I thought when our Lord and savior Donald Trump assumed office he would put a stop to enforcement of all these “laws”? I guess ignoring the law is only ok when considering more restrictions, as with the extralegal bump stock ban in the works.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      You mean the ban that has been “in the works” for almost a year with no news? Quit your fear mongering libertardian. We have more important things to teal with than your delusions about “muh’ uniparty”.

      1. avatar L says:

        Honestly it’s a smart move from the man himself because the short-term emotionally driven voters will be pleased when they hear of it “being in the works” then forget about it. Meanwhile the gun owners that actually follow the news long-term see that they still haven’t been banned and by 2020 Mr. Trump earns votes from both sides. In summary: 4d chess.

      2. avatar barnbwt says:

        You DO realize he & the DOJ have said they will announce the final implementation shortly after the midterms, right? Now why might they do that, I wonder…

        I will remain pessimistic about his intentions until after New Years, and still expect the next Democrat administration to restart the near-as-dammit completed implementation process immediately themselves even if Trump doesn’t. To the man’s credit, he didn’t bring up banning bump stocks again of his own accord after the Synagogue shooting, like he did on the Vegas shooting anniversary.

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          There will be no “next Democratic administration”, not if we do this right.

          We already broke their chokehold on the courts. Now we’re going to cut off their ability to import voters. Once we’re done, the Libertarians will poll more votes than the DNC.

        2. avatar Marty says:

          What weapons were actually used in the Synagogue shooting ? My guess is it wasn’t a MSR, or it would have been all over the lamestream.

        3. avatar Rick says:

          It was a Colt 6920, pretty much the definition of MSR.

        4. avatar barnbwt says:

          From your lips to God’s ear. I don’t see the Republicans getting anywhere serious enough to ensure the DNC doesn’t come back any time soon, however.

          Maybe if Beto has his balls nailed to a chair for using his campaign to launder money for human trafficking operations as revealed by Veritas I could see that future, but in the immortal words of that dumbass redneck, “I doubt it.”

      3. avatar Stateisevil says:

        Serge, you are a very delusional fellow indeed. After Trump leaves office and bump stocks are banned, there is no HPA, there is no reciprocity, and a Democrat is assuming power, the Trump fatwah on the stocks will come back to haunt us. I hope I’m wrong, but I know how the state works.

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          Again… what makes you think that the DNC will be able to elect a dog catcher after Trump is done with them?

        2. avatar Ing says:

          Serge, how long has it been since you’ve talked to a standard-issue, legacy-media-consuming American? Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

        3. avatar Sergio the rino MEGA MAGA CATA says:

          Serge is not the brightest. I like to read his comments as some of them, every once in a while, make me laugh.

        4. avatar Barry S Parks says:

          “Never underestimate the power of Stupid people in large groups”
          I couldn’t have said it better myself!
          I, personally, feel like Custer, Surrounded, and outnumbered.

      4. avatar Dora says:

        Bump stocks are now illegal in FL, and the Republicans voted in favor of this ban.

      5. Read Sessions’ lies about how a bumpfire stock “harnesses recoil energy” and is therefore a machine gun, and is therefore contraband under Hughes (1986), and must be destroyed when the ruling takes effect (in about 10 days). Then get back to us.

        Then realize that it’s precedent for ANY bureaucrat to bald-faced lie about a status of anything and seize it as contraband with no compensation.

        If I express my opinion of that action, I’ll go to jail.

        Here, I’ll do it for you, since it’s clearly beyond your intellectual capabilities:

        https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/03/29/2018-06292/bump-stock-type-devices

        The Department of Justice (Department) proposes to amend the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regulations to clarify that “bump fire” stocks, slide-fire devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics (bump-stock-type devices) are “machineguns” as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), because such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machinegun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter. Hence, a semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger. With limited exceptions, primarily as to government agencies, the GCA makes it unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to the effective date of the statute. The bump-stock-type devices covered by this proposed rule were not in existence prior to the GCA’s effective date, and therefore would fall within the prohibition on machineguns if this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is implemented. Consequently, current possessors of these devices would be required to surrender them, destroy them, or otherwise render them permanently inoperable upon the effective date of the final rule.
        ~~

        And Trump has recently stated he supports it and is pushing it forward.

    2. avatar anonymoose says:

      Jeff Sessions hates plebs like us.

    3. avatar frank speak says:

      “take the guns first…worry about due process later”…[direct quote from trump]…

      1. avatar gio says:

        I find it baffling how many trump supporters seem to forgot he said this… pretty pathetic– I thought this clown was some kind of savior, but he doesnt care about our guns OR or rights….

  6. avatar L says:

    The ATF needs to be dissolved. What a complete waste of time and money. Makes me wonder if many more cases like this have happened where they *were* able to suppress the information from going public which we will never hear about.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I agree completely. If there was any doubt, it should disappear after the revelation that the agency wanted, actually went out of their way to accomplish, fucking up a man’s entire life over a 1/4 inch measurement which is established in a law passed by Congress exactly NOWHERE. Shut them down.

      1. avatar CZ Rider says:

        I mean, it’s 30-year-old knowledge that they’ve actually killed people over a non-government-approved barrel length. As disgusting of an idea as it is, I don’t see why anyone would find it especially surprising by now.

    2. avatar Erik Weisz says:

      Especially now that people are making legal moonshine, and the Canadians can worry about cigarette smuggling, seems like all they do is firearms, which aren’t supposed to be regulated at all (except maybe for consumer safety a la Remington’s Trigger etc.).

    3. avatar billy-bob says:

      Nah, turn it into a convenience store.

      1. avatar L says:

        LOL! Took me a second to understand that! +1

    4. avatar WhiteDevil says:

      Agreed. The only solution for us right now is to publicly shame any and all ATF agents we come across. Make it so they are welcome absolutely nowhere. They really are a prime example of an illegal organization, considering the fact that they are enforcing illegal and unconstitutional laws.

    5. avatar frank speak says:

      should have happened long ago…and incidents like this prove it…..

  7. avatar pwrserge says:

    The sad part is that there will be zero criminal consequences for the ATF agent who perjured himself by providing incorrect measurements into evidence, his supervisors who allowed it, or the USDA who subborned said perjury by having the measurements entered into evidence.

  8. avatar Billy Johnson says:

    Never open your safe for law enforcement without a lawyer first being consulted. Let them hire a safe cracker. Make a secondary code for your wife that can be blocked. Oh yeah, don’t throw things at each other.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      I believe that if I owned an AR pistol with a brace, it would be stored with the brace removed, just in case. If the ATF agents don’t know their own rules, you can bet the local 5-0 is even more ignorant.

    2. avatar TX223 says:

      Don’t tell your code/combo to anyone. If your wife has guns… she needs her own safe. That way she is less likely to sell or steal yours when she is angry with you, or files for divorce, or worse – shoots you with your favorite gun.
      Limiting access of your firearms to you is responsible ownership.

      1. avatar DesertDave says:

        Sounds like the voice of experience!

        1. avatar Bearpaw says:

          Sounds like a tactical marriage. Keep your dick on a swivel boys. Dick on a swivel.

      2. And have a prenuptial agreement so she doesn’t try to claim half of them during a divorce. You can have it phrased to include future acquisitions of the collection.

        If she won’t sign it, don’t marry her.

    3. avatar PPE says:

      If they have a search warrant, ask you for the combination or to directly open the safe, and you refuse…you may get a charge for obstruction. I am not telling you what to do or not to do.

      1. avatar JohnD says:

        5th Amendment. No self incrimination.

  9. avatar barnbwt says:

    It’s worth mentioning that the 13.5″ limit isn’t even in the law anywhere to begin with, and that the ATF only ever argued he “approximately” exceeded their own “approximate” number. We never do get a good explanation of what magically happens at 13.5″ as far as something suddenly being treated as a stock, considering they admit the number was an average (not a minimum) and therefore a fuzzy figure. No where in the statute is it mentioned that braces or other accessories cannot exceed the average (vs. minimum, versus lowest quartile, etc) stock length lest they become stocks themselves, so that’s another ass-pull the Bureau. At the VERY least this needed to be run through the public comment period/etc to solicit opinions and get the word out, but it didn’t even rise to the level of a circulated letter.

    If 13.5″ is to be a hard limit like barrel length for guns with an actual buttstock, it needs to be signed into law by congress…just like the hard limit on barrel length for guns with an actual buttstock. ATF is way outta it’s wheelhouse on this one, but this is the best test-case we can get for the time being. From what I can tell, a lot of the ATF’s victories in these sorts of questionable cases is predicated on an incompetent defense and ignorant court giving carte blanche to ATF expert witness testimony (which is somehow not considered a conflict on interest in these cases for reasons that are a mystery to me). In short, kangaroo prosecutors.

  10. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    Sooo…question..

    “….potentially sensitive competitive information concerning the companies involved..””

    Can someone explain this clearly?

    1. avatar L says:

      It’s ATF codeword for “our blatant overreach.”

    2. If XYZ Company invents a new pistol brace design, they send to to the ATF to make sure it passes muster legally. The ATF writes back saying yes, it looks good, just keep it under 13.5 inches.

      That new design would be very interesting to other accessory companies. XYZ Company has a reasonable assumption that its design won’t be disclosed when it asks the ATF for a ruling on a potential new product.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        I think it would be good if you guys had a little refresher on what is legal and what isn’t.

        Is it legal to attach a buffer tube to any pistol? For example.
        The guy above didn’t even know about the angled foregrip. If we had a little refresher on what you can do with a rifle and what you can do with a pistol, etc etc. What you can do with import firearms, 922R, etc etc.

        That’s a article that would likely get a lot of reads and comments too.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          Most of that is already covered in articles on here. I wrote a couple on 922r, for instance.

          BUT…It’s also an area in which a publication like this has to be a bit cautious, as it could create liability. It could be seen by idiots/lawyers as offering legal advice and the question is, how much will people rely on it and how much responsibility do you have, legally and otherwise, if they do and it causes a problem?

        2. avatar Anonymous says:

          BUT…It’s also an area in which a publication like this has to be a bit cautious, as it could create liability. It could be seen by idiots/lawyers as offering legal advice and the question is, how much will people rely on it and how much responsibility do you have, legally and otherwise, if they do and it causes a problem?

          I think it’s better that people have slightly inaccurate advice (if indeed inaccurate) than be ignorant of the situation.

          So… just be as accurate as you can, and slap a disclaimer before and after it. Doing your best is all anyone can really most expect out of you, no one can guarantee against errors 100% of the time, and it would harbor a discussion as well in the comments section. Debate finds the truth.

      2. The privacy of such communications is irrelevant:

        A: To products already in existence, and
        2) in a court of law when they are relevant facts.

  11. avatar Jr says:

    Your tax dollars at work

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      they have to do stupid stuff like this from time to time to validate their existence…

  12. avatar MrBangle says:

    Haha screw you batfe, nice try mofos!

  13. avatar CTstooge says:

    “Blackbeard?” Yarr Matey.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      I only noticed the first photo with “…ckbeard” and my mind supplied “Neckbeard.” It’s probably more accurate anyway. 🙂

  14. avatar Charles a clemson jr says:

    So , is a micro Roni pistol stabilization brace considered a sbr?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      MMmmmaaayybe?

    2. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

      I’m not a legal expert, but the answer is that a roni with a brace is a pistol.

      You are starting with a pistol in which the barrel can be any length.

      You are adding an accessory (Roni) that incorporates a forearm brace. The fact that you can shoulder with said brace is not relevant.

      However, if you have an older Roni with the adjustable stock, it IS a SBR and you need to fill out your permission slip and submit the $200 extortion if you want to stay on the right side of the law.

      1. avatar Noen says:

        You could always buy one of those ridiculous 16″ glock barrels, and have a rifle

    3. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Is it designed to be shot from the shoulder?
      If the answer is yes, no matter how it started, then it’s rifle.

      1. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

        A sig style brace (which is the style the newer Roni has) is not designed for shouldering. The fact you CAN shoulder it does not mean that was what it was designed or intended to do. It is designed to be strapped on your forearm just like an AR type pistol which means a glock in a roni is the same legally as an AR pistol- not an SBR unless you start with a rifle registered receiver or add a stock.

        The current interpretation of the law allows you to shoulder a sig style brace.

  15. avatar mountocean says:

    I am nostalgic for the No-Stock-Needed Chin Rest.

  16. avatar ACP_armed says:

    There’s a Supreme Court precedent in Staples v. United States that found a gun owner has to know that his firearm has characteristics that bring it under NFA regulation to be guilty of a crime.

    Shit! I knew I should have built that automatic canon when I was 11! Didn’t know a thing about the NFA then.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I think the Vatican has the corner on canons.

      1. avatar ACP_armed says:

        (sigh) And this is what you get wen a dislexic dozen’t check there spelling…

      2. avatar Big Bill says:

        “I think the Vatican has the corner on canons.”

        No, I have two myself.
        The better one is a 7D, slightly out of date, but I have a couple of nice “L” lenses for it.

  17. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    I really don’t understand the argument against an SBR. If pistols are ok, and rifles are ok, isn’t an SBR just a strongish pistol or a weakish rifle? If a bad guy really wants to murder someone with an SBR how exactly does a law against sawing off a barrel prevent someone who’s willing to murder someone from doing so? And isn’t it just a silly “feel good” law that doesn’t actually prevent any crime? Isn’t an SBR still less handy and harder to hide than a legal pistol? And isn’t any weapon, in effect, “illegal” when used for a crime?

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      The original plan was to put handguns on the NFA. It went down in flames. Sadly, we’re still stuck with SBRs.

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Dave,
      Read up on the National Firearms Act of 1934. It was a knee-jerk reaction to the problem of mobsters concealing Tommy guns under their jackets, walking into places and shooting things up. Minimum barrel lengths for shotguns and pistols were established and SBRs, full auto guns and silencers thereafter required a $200 permission slip from Uncle Sam.

      Back then, $200 was a lot of money. Probably only mobsters could afford to pay it. Or something.

      1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        No. As pwrserge said, originally the NFA would have made all pistols illegal*. The SBR and SBS thing was so people couldn’t make their own pistol equivalents out of their legal rifles.

        * Seriously, why can’t the non-statist side have legislation with this kind of scope drawn up and ready for a willing President?

        1. avatar UsedToBePun says:

          Well, you’ve got a couple of misnomers here. First there’s no such thing as “non-statists” who write statutes and there’s really no such thing as a “willing President”.

          How many administrations have we had where Repubs controlled the executive and legislative branches? Didn’t see any “willing” anything during those times to roll back any federal regulations regarding anything 2A related.

          Red vs. Blue is just a Hegelian Dialectic used to make you, the tax slave, think you actually have a say in the matter. In reality they are just two sides of the same coin.

      2. Even though Tommy Guns were as common in crime then as AR-15s are now–almost non-existent, but made lots of headlines.

      3. avatar frank speak says:

        don’t think they would have passed the background check…..

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      You have described gun control in general.

    4. avatar CZ Rider says:

      I want to think that the SBR/SBS language was left in as a matter of monumental stupididy and carelessness on the part of Congress, but I’m sure there was that one guy back then who just had to stick it to gun owners in whatever small and meaningless way he could manage who just wouldn’t let it go. There’s a Hughes in every generation, I’m sure.

    5. avatar MarkPA says:

      @DaveDetroit: We can have any complaint that we like; our complaints don’t matter. What matters is whether a law is Constitutional, or not. For our purposes, that boils down to whether SCOTUS actually rules that a law is an “infringement”. (I’m skipping over “the right”, “the People”, “keep and bear” and “arms”).

      The NFA’34 did not ban anything. So, it didn’t go so far as DC and Chicago did in (for all practical purposes) banning handguns within their jurisdiction. So, did the NFA’34 exceed the limit of “infringement” albeit fall short of a ban? SCOTUS hasn’t ruled so, to date. Is it likely to rule so?

      What did NFA’34 do? It levied a stamp-tax on a transfer; and, required registration. Is either a tax or a registration an “infringement”? SCOTUS hasn’t ruled so, to date. Is it likely to rule so? (Now we are getting more specific.)

      As to the tax, I find it very hard to imagine that SCOTUS is going to rule that government taxing anything is unConstitutional. The power to tax is a self-evident power of government. SCOTUS is not going to want to undermine this power in any way whatsoever. If you want to prohibit a tax then you probably have to get a Constitutional Amendment as was done for poll taxes in federal elections.

      I hasten to say that I don’t like this interpretation; but I find it realistic. If you want to go after a gun tax I think the best bet would be to attack the $200 transfer tax on silencers based on an argument that in 1934 the artifact probably had a wholesale cost of $2 – $4. As such, a $200 tax was – for practical purposes – prohibitive of a perfectly benign safety device. If a silencer really is an “arm” for 2A purposes then it was – at that time – arguably a “ban”. If you can’t succeed in THIS argument I doubt that you can succeed on the $200 tax on an SBR or SBS. I just spent that amount of money on 180 rounds of 30-06 from CMP. We are delusional if we think SCOTUS is going to take seriously a $200 tax on a gun as a Constitutional infringement.

      Now, then there is the matter of registration. Is SCOTUS likely to consider registration of a peculiar kind-of-gun an “infringement”? I think one would have to consider the few types covered in the original act (MG, SBS, AOWs and silencers) plus the couple added later (SBR and DD) and compare them to the market for all other types that are free of registration. Again, I wouldn’t be optimistic that SCOTUS would rule that registration of any one of these were an infringement. I think they would be more likely to find these peculiar guns are “not in common use” and therefore deny them any 2A protection. I think that there is a greater hazard in pushing this issue than there is to be gained by winning (saving the time waiting for a registration.)

      Maybe the best argument here would be that it takes ATF a year to process an application. That delay constitutes an infringement. Best case is for silencers; I have to risk hearing damage for a year to wait for a registration and stamp – for a perfectly benign artifact?

      Yes, we PotG are outraged; and, for many good reasons. Our problem is that our outrage doesn’t translate into political action. We need to be better at our politics; and, we need to discriminate between battles we can win first vs. those that we might only be able to win later. Failing in these, we are vulnerable to losing the war.

      While we refuse to up-our-game politically our only forum for redress of grievance is SCOTUS. We want “activist” justices to defend the 2A against Congressional infringement? Or, should they proceed cautiously? We need to be realistic about how to make the most of what SCOTUS will deliver.

  18. avatar George from Alaska says:

    All this over 1/4″ that was measured the wrong way? Reminds me of when they tried to charge the now dead Waco guy over a gun show sale of a shotgun with an 18.1″ barrel, except when measured on a portion of the barrel where it had apparently been dropped or had a flaw… maybe dropped by the undercover agent that bought the gun? I guess it measured 17.9999999999… inches at the dimpled area. Think that charge was dropped.
    I had an ATF inspection of my NFA items a few weeks ago and the young agent couldn’t have been a nicer or more professional guy. He was thorough but very giving of his time when I had made a mistake and could not find a suppressor I had seen the night before… it had simply got hidden under some of the boxes and suppressor pouches in the garage. He had no problem with anything else except for his file was lacking some information that proved that two dealers had actually transferred suppressors to me and he was surprised to see them. Luckily I have multiple copies of my ownership forms and produced what he needed. He later found that I am listed two ways with NFA… by my name and by my business name. I would welcome more field agents like him!

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      You had an ATF visit in Alaska? How did that happen?

      1. avatar UsedToBePun says:

        .Gov = Hydra.

        They have heads and tentacles everywhere.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      the regulatory people are an agreeable bunch….which is more than you can say for the enforcement branch…worked next to these people for 10 yrs…have yet to see one smile….

    3. avatar Broke_It says:

      Are you a dealer? Did the ATF just show up at your personal residence? Very curious as to the legal mechanism they would use to justify an unannounced visit to verify your NFA items. Unless it’s a state thing (but why would feds then be involved?) they can’t just show up to inspect your property.

  19. avatar Arandom Dude says:

    Gawd, that guy should go to prison for that pistol, not over the NFA, just because it is set up in such a tasteless and impractical manner.

    1. avatar Greg says:

      Dude has way to much stuff on it. Wonder how much it weighs?

      1. avatar jsallison says:

        No cup holder or toilet paper roll. Totally not legit.

  20. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    The US Attorney’s Office should have reviewed this case closer before deciding to prosecute, less on learned the hard way. As for the BATFE agent nothing will happen to him.

  21. avatar Anonymous says:

    A victimless crime of the most ridiculous degree. Had the jury been composed of leftists, he’d be in prison for 10 years. Horrible people.

  22. avatar Agreed says:

    Glad the ATF is spending my tax dollars going after Marine Veterans with ugly rifles instead of organized crime gun running. Truly only the bravest, brightest, and best of America are allowed within the hallowed hardcore operators of the ATF.

  23. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Saturday night in Toledo Ohio,
    I saw an ugly AR pistol there one day!

  24. avatar JoeVK says:

    All these ATF rules are confusing and stupid.

  25. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    That gun is hideous. I must tell myself – somehow, someone somewhere loves that gun. Even it has a mother.

  26. avatar Michael says:

    Anybody else remember that we got into firearms and shooting them because it was fun? When did it become a round robin debating club and ego dump? I want it back, damnit. -30-

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      One of the fun joys of being into flintlock firearms is that I get to read the heated (but mostly polite) debates on the suitability of different woods and flints, lock size, smoothbore or rifled, acceptable calibers and firearm size for military use, all the way back in the 18th century. As long as there’s been guns, people have argued about them.

  27. avatar MLee says:

    I own the SB Tactical SB3 brace on my AR pistol .300 blk. I think I’ll go measure right now. The weapon!! Ok. it’s 12.5″ and if I “angled” it, 13″
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1egBzfzFvk2QttpH1Z27-B3xWywGb7399

  28. avatar Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t expect the ATF to understand things like a Cartesian plane or something like vectors, or the Pythagorean theorem.

  29. avatar Anonymous says:

    Also – I don’t think “length of pull” is written anywhere, anywhere, in the NFA law. This the ATF pulling regulations out of their a**.

    The whole what’s a pistol – what’s a rifle question in the NFA law is total retardation, and should be scrapped. All it does is create victims. Victims of the state. For victimless crimes with no intent to harm.

    1. avatar Geoff says:

      “length of pull” is not in the definitions of a firearm.
      https://www.atf.gov/file/55526/download

  30. avatar Geoff says:

    I glued a piece of foam to the top of my ShockWave Brace for a cheek rest.
    Cost – FREE
    Leftover piece of foam tubing from something. Split it and glued it.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I don’t know about the Shockwave, but the original letters from the ATF on the SigBrace was that it did not turn a pistol into a rifle if it was unmodified. If modified, then maybe yes, maybe no.

      1. avatar Geoff says:

        From what I read was that if you added anything to the butt end, like something to keep the dirt out, then you made it a stock.

        1. avatar Anonymous says:

          What if it gets filled with dirt? Will the ATF call it stock then?

  31. avatar GS650G says:

    He should be charged with having a ridiculously over accesorized AR with a pirate name on it.

  32. avatar MB says:

    I never understood the need to adorn a tool ( gun ) with art work, skulls, fancy attachments and almost useless accessories. If anytime actually used for self defense, I think most of these would be a hindrance, not an asset. But Henry Ford stopped making cars only black, so I guess to each their own…

    1. avatar Sarcastro says:

      Yeah, if I ever have to be judged in a court of law for a defensive shooting situation I really don’t want to face cross examination from a prosecutor questioning why I had a Punisher logo stenciled on my pelican case.

      1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

        It would be pretty easy to make him look like a moron for asking something so stupidly inconsequential, which is why nothing of the sort has ever happened.

  33. avatar Duke Sedona says:

    That guns screams Mall Ninja!!! I bet the owner is a real operator.

  34. avatar J_cobbers says:

    All that tacticoolness and: it’s still not full ambi !!(no ambi mag release); no BUIS; no extended mag release; no forward sling point; and really, a single point sling not a 2 or 3 point? Bro, do you even operate? (heavy sarc)

  35. avatar raptor jesus says:

    That is a heinously ugly weapon, no matter what you want to call it.

  36. avatar sound awake says:

    they never say what words came out of the womans mouth IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO the man doing something violent

  37. avatar little horn says:

    can we prosecute him for the amount of stupid bullshit on one gun…that doesnt even have a stock??? i doubt very seriously if this gun has ever been fired or even held.

    1. avatar Jim says:

      I’m trying to figure out why he needs a scope on there that’s longer than the fucking barrel, Not to mention any accuracy produced from the scope is screwed since he has it half on the receiver and half on the rail

    2. avatar kahlil says:

      maybe he used it for cosplay

    3. avatar Trumptus piece says:

      Another clown begging for attention?

  38. avatar Frank M. says:

    It’s good think having an ungapatchka firearm isn’t a crime.

    1. “ungapatchka”

      I LOL’d.

  39. avatar David says:

    Anyone the ATF ends up with egg on its face is a GREAT DAY INDEED!!!!!

    On a personal note, I don’t own any AR pistols because of my fear that a rogue ATF agent wil decide my AR pistol is too long. After this case, I think I’ll go ahead and build me one.

  40. avatar MrTholian says:

    Hey, UsedToBePun,

    If you are interested in why the “interstate commerce” thing didn’t work, tell your state to look up Wickard v. Filburn. It turns the whole intent of the interstate commerce clause on its head.

  41. avatar MrWickkk says:

    Other than the fact it looks dumb yay freedom

  42. avatar Sean Dew says:

    It is past time to do away with the uncostitutional NFA.

  43. avatar Trumptus piece says:

    The feds do not randomly kick doors to come check your guns. This guy probably bragged all over the internet, posted pics, etc. Also, this THING looks ridiculous.

  44. avatar Curtis says:

    Gecko45, is that you?

  45. avatar Mad Max says:

    I think SBR regulations are totally absurd.

    Criminals will be criminals and charges against real criminals will be plea bargained down to toy gun status anyway.

    This is just another example where the regulatory state resembles the the king in 1776: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

  46. avatar Wazoo says:

    Yeah but did the guy get his guns back?

  47. avatar American says:

    I’m glad he was found not guilty, and got his guns back. But these kind of stories drive me nuts.
    ooooooooo, a scary short barrel rifle…those evil things are only used for slaughtering innocent little kids in elementary school!

  48. avatar Dan the Man who open carries a .22 1911 in an ankle holster says:

    The ATF losing in court is not that rare. In 2017 the ATF recommended 15,106 individuals for prosecution. 10,878 were indicted. 1/3 of recommendations are not prosecuted! Of the 10,878 prosecuted, 8,637 were found or plead guilty.

    Here’s the more fun number. In 2017 the ATF opened 35,302 criminals cases related to firearms. They also opened 91 cases for alcohol and tobacco criminal violation.

    Most county prosecutors have a better conviction rate than the ATF/U.S. Attorney.

    So, in 2017, the ATF opened 35,000 criminal cases, recommended charged in 15,000 and got convictions in 8,600 of them. 76% of ATF investigations don’t result in a conviction or guilty plea.

  49. avatar Mark says:

    Yawl are arguing about numbers, length and angles the color and shape whether it looks like a military rifle whether it assaults or hunts,
    but your arguments should be that the tyrannical laws are illegal and violate our constitution and bill of rights. All gun laws are in violation of the 2nd and 9th article rights. Any politician advocating for gun laws is a traitor and should be dealt with according to our common law.
    Fromthetrenchesworldreport.com

  50. avatar Homer says:

    The real crime here is how cluttered that build appears

  51. avatar El Duderino says:

    Court of law: not guilty

    Gun fashion police: Death penalty

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