Steven Dettelbach
ATF Director Steven Dettelbach (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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ATF Director Steve Dettelbach spent Wednesday (April 26th) in front of the House Judiciary Committee answering questions on ATF overreach. Republicans, in particular committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), slammed ATF’s capricious shift on pistol stabilizing braces, while Democrats assaulted the Republicans’ motivations for questioning why ATF is trying to turn potentially millions of law abiding gun owners into felons by retroactively applying a new opinion to a product that was previously ATF-approved.

Rep. Jordan’s primary contentions were:

• ATF has overstepped its authority. Unelected bureaucrats are effectively making new laws. Jordan said, “That’s not how it’s supposed to work in our great country. Congress writes the laws and the executive branch enforces them. Here, the executive branch has taken power from Congress in deciding what the law should be . . . Director Dettelbach has, in essence, become a one man Congress.”

ATF has been inconsistent in its opinions on the legality and legal use of pistol stabilizing braces. Jordan and other Republicans reminded Dettelbach that ATF has published official letters approving stabilizing braces, but has been inconsistent on the matter for years, leading to confusion among well-intentioned gun owners.

Dettelbach claimed that the new rule aims to establish consistency. Which, I suppose, it more or less does by making a blanket claim that effectively any firearm with a pistol brace on the rear is a rifle.

Rep. Jordan stated, “I think the inconsistency is with the ATF because you told them one thing, and now you’re changing.”

Law abiding gun owners will become felons overnight, due to ex post facto (retroactive) application of ATF’s new opinion on pistol braces. An estimated three million or more stabilizing braces have been sold to consumers, many or even most of which were an included component of a complete pistol as designed by a firearm manufacturer and sold at retail. Potentially millions of well-intentioned owners will have no idea about ATF’s change of heart, suddenly becoming felons facing a potential 10-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine overnight and without even realizing it. Dettelbach insisted that ATF has begun a “very significant education campaign” with firearms dealers to get the word out (as an FFL holder, I can confirm that three emails were sent by ATF in January with an invite to a “Stabilizing Brace Virtual Training on WebEx”).

On the plus side, when pressed by Jordan, Dettelbach said it “would depend on the facts and circumstances” of an individual case as to whether a gun owner who didn’t register his or her brace-equipped pistol would be prosecuted. Although it sure hasn’t felt like this has been their priority over the last couple of decades, Dettelbach insisted that ATF is prioritizing enforcement of these rules against gang members, and would be “unlikely” to prosecute gun owners who didn’t register because they were unaware of the rule change.

Oh. Okay. Sure. Like the ATF needs this ridiculous clerical error of a confusing, pedantic re-interpretation of law in order to prosecute gang members.

Meanwhile, when given the opportunity to ask questions of Director Dettelbach, Democrats such as Adam Schiff (D-CA, not a long ball hitter) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY, once pooped his pants on stage) simply attacked the Republicans in all the normal ways. Pawns of the gun industry, pro insurrection, don’t want to protect Americans from violent crime, in favor of murdering children, contributing to the epidemic of gun violence, etc.

While we’re running out of time before this new ATF ruling on pistol braces officially goes into effect after May 31st, we remain confident that a stay or injunction will be issued. There are dozens of major lawsuits underway, including from multiple states’ attorneys general, and as discussed here the whole situation has gained the attention of the House and Senate. Stay tuned.


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    • Fox news lied.

      Herrera v. Raoul >

      Apr 28, 2023 – order for injunction


      Plaintiffs have satisfied their burden for a preliminary injunction. They have
      shown irreparable harm with no adequate remedy at law, a reasonable likelihood of
      success on the merits, that the public interest is in favor of the relief, and the balance
      of harm weighs in their favor. Therefore, the Plaintiffs’ motions for preliminary
      injunction are GRANTED. Defendants are ENJOINED from enforcing Illinois
      statutes 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(b) and (c), and 720 ILCS 5/24-1.10, along with the PICA
      amended provisions set forth in 735 ILCS 5/24-1(a), including subparagraphs (11),
      (14), (15), and (16), statewide during the pendency of this litigation until the Court
      can address the merits.

      The Court recognizes that the issues with which it is confronted are highly
      contentious and provoke strong emotions. Again, the Court’s ruling today is not a
      final resolution of the merits of the cases. Nothing in this order prevents the State
      from confronting firearm-related violence. There is a wide array of civil and criminal
      laws that permit the commitment and prosecution of those who use or may use
      firearms to commit crimes. Law enforcement and prosecutors should take their
      obligations to enforce these laws seriously. Families and the public at large should
      report concerning behavior. Judges should exercise their prudent judgment in
      committing individuals that pose a threat to the public and imposing sentences that
      punish, not just lightly inconvenience, those guilty of firearm-related crimes.

      DATED: April 28, 2023
      s/ Stephen P. McGlynn
      U.S. District Judge

        • There appear to be two cases here, before different courts.

          .40 cal, I think you quoted “Harrel v. Raoul” where an injunction was filed.

          I couldn’t find the name of the other case; the plaintiff’s names are similar (Harrel, Herrera) so I may have mis-named the case “Herrera V. Raoul.”


        • Darkman, from your link:

          “Herrera’s case is just one of several challenges to the state’s assault weapons ban that are working their way through state and federal courts. There are two other cases in the Northern District of Illinois challenging the state law and local ordinances – one against Naperville and another against Highland Park.

          “In February, a different federal judge denied a similar motion for an injunction in the Naperville case. That case is also on appeal to the Seventh Circuit.

          “Another federal case is pending in the Southern District of Illinois where a judge in East St. Louis heard oral arguments earlier this month. And there is a case pending before the Illinois Supreme Court that seeks to have the state law overturned as a violation of the Illinois state constitution.”

          So that’s four cases? Lawfare, anyone?

        • All I’ll DO is call my local ILLANNOY Gunshop who has a suit going & ask pointedly what’s going on! Not some out of state jamokes. Already have one down state proclaiming “SALE!” NUFF SAID…

      • fox article dated today, the link he posted, headline says federal judge denied. but that’s not true because a federal judge did grant the preliminary injunction.

      • Hey JUST CALLED Asgard Arms in Crete,ILLANNOY(part of a named plaintiffs suit)and they are selling EVERYTHING “banned”-to ANY FOID card holder. At least till Monday!!!

      • “Judges should exercise their prudent judgment in
        committing individuals that pose a threat to the public and imposing sentences that
        punish, not just lightly inconvenience, those guilty of firearm-related crimes.”

        U.S. District Judge is a rock star!

  1. They have also been reminding him their committee controls the ATF funding and his salary.

  2. I wish people would learn what “ex post facto” means. This change in regulation would NOT be an ex post facto law. An ex post facto law punishes what you did before based on a law that went into effect today. For example, it was legal last year for Grandma Moses to sell her preserves on the roadside. This year a new law is passed that says that all sales of preserves sold on the roadside at any time are illegal, and Grandma is prosecuted today for what she did last year. These regs are different: you are not prosecuted for having a brace in the past, but for having one in your possession today (or whenever the grace period runs out). What there might be is an issue of compensation for a “taking” of private property when owners are forced to turn in their braces for destruction.

    • So what’s the legal term for making previously legal things, illegal? “Screwed?”

    • Ehhh, whatever. In my opinion the vast majority of people who own pistol brace-equipped pistols will have no idea about any of this. They’ll know literally nothing more than they bought a legal firearm at a gun store and if they, at some point, get ‘pinched’ by ATF when they’re seen out on a gun range with their braced pistol it will be in effect ex post facto punishing them for buying a legal gun years ago that suddenly became illegal. As far as they’ll be concerned, they’ll be getting prosecuted for the action of buying that gun X years ago. A huge chunk of the consumers buying guns with braces and with stocks and without etc etc don’t even realize there’s a legal distinction between “pistol” and “rifle” and many consumers don’t know what the NFA is. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come across who bought a shoulder stock for their M&P22 pistol or whatever random model of pistol and put it on there having ZERO idea that it’s in any way a no-no to do so.

      Because I’ve seen first-hand for many years how few people are actually knowledgeable about the NFA regulations or understand what legal classification & definition of firearm they’re buying at the store (or even realize that’s a thing AT ALL), the concept of ATF simply changing their opinion on something that’s in the hands of possibly millions of people is horrifying. Most of these owners will have zero idea and won’t even understand the terms being said to them if it’s explained. I assure you, to them, it will very much feel like ex post facto — being punished for something they did years ago when it was fully legal — even if it doesn’t meet the definition of the term on the legal side.

      At minimum there should have been a grandfathering thing as there has been previously with AWBs and such. There are way, way too many people who will run afoul of this change with zero idea and zero ill intention to punish them for buying the wrong gun back when it was the right gun.

      • I agree, but even so “functionally equivalent, for the majority, to ex post facto” isn’t the same as ex post facto. Given how often we, rightfully, take the left to task for their misuse of words, we should at least try not to fall into the same habit. Everything about this “rule change” is abhorrent on every level, but that doesn’t mean it’s ex post facto. It’s not. Words mean things, try to keep that in mind

      • And you can be sure that ATF will let the gangbangers walk while Joe Bob MAGA hat wearers will get jammed up.
        All in the name of “equity”.

      • That’s the catch — it’s a regulation promulgated by a bureaucratic agency, not a law passed by elected representatives.

        • no name,

          True, but not only that, the ATF ITSELF has issued letters approving pistol braces. ATF one day says, “Oh, that’s OK”, then next week says “No, Congress hasn’t said anything about this, but WE interpret the law this way”. Yeah, f*** right off, ATF.

          If the baby-burners want to outlaw guns I LEGALLY acquired? They can osculate my anal sphincter.

      • None, but that’s missing the point. A Chinese psychopathic moron who killed millions once said, “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” and unfortunately he was right. In practical terms, whether or not a rule is legitimate is irrelevant when there’s a well organized group of hundreds of thousands of armed men, and a robust court system, willing to back up said rule. When they throw you in a concrete box, you can tell your cellie until you’re blue in the face that it’s not a legitimate rule of it makes you feel better but it won’t change your situation. Rule of law is now dead in the US, and legitimacy of power is derived through naked force. Fortunately, that works both ways

      • None! And legislators on both sides of the aisle like it that way. They can get away with not putting their names to a vote and use the excuse “well I didn’t vote for that” all the while agreeing with the outcome. It’s time Congress was forced to do its job and the alphabet agencies were reeled in. You don’t get to pull a rule out of thin air and make it “law”. Thin air is me being nice. Enough already with lazy politicians delegating their responsibilities to their constituents to unelected bureaucrats.

    • Agreed on ex post facto, thank you for clarifying.

      What’s scary here isn’t that however, it’s that no new law has been passed. Simply dictated by an unconstitutional authority granted by a conniving congress decades ago who delegated its own authority to regulatory organizations.

    • Good analogy. Yes, there does seem to be some confusion of what Ex Post Facto means I’ve noticed to.

  3. I know that a huge motivator for the antis is just to shove out a big ole FU to gun owners but, do any of them really believe that there is any chance whatsoever that prohibiting pistol braces will prevent even one crime? If not, then it should be pretty clear to everyone what their agenda actually entails. If so, then some proof of some sort is sorely needed.

    How can this move by ATF be viewed as anything other than arbitrary and capricious? It is bad enough that they define two different but, functionally identical, firearms, one as a pistol and the other a rifle, based upon barrel length, stock (or lack thereof) and what it was called at the time of sale but, to redefine the weapon based upon an optional, removable, part is mindbogglingly obtuse. I have rifles with “semi-pistol” grips. Does that make them pistols? If I took one of those rifles and put a straight grip stock on it have I changed the fundamental nature of the firearm? This whole thing is dumb even for the ATF and *that* is a high (or, should I say “low”) bar. At least with bump stocks (also arbitrary and capricious and dumb) they were making a ruling on something that was at least operationally (if not technically) related to the function of the firearm. In this case, they are regulating something you attach to the firearm that impacts its function in no way at all. This crap is tantamount to prohibiting adjustable cheek pieces, or slings, or aftermarket sights. I’m almost tempted to tear a hole in a teddy bear, shove it over a buffer tube and then ask the ATF for one of their lovely “opinion” letters. That they are called “opinion letters” should make it clear to anyone paying attention that they should not, and never should have, carried the weight of law.

    This pistol brace stupidity ranks right up there with the antis opposition to barrel shrouds (you know, the shoulder thing that goes up).

    No one has yet been able to convince me that the nation would be any worse off if we were to repeal the NFA and the GCA and eliminate the ATF. Oh, sure, they scream about how there would be daily machine gun fights (with silencers) and blood in the streets and shootouts over parking spaces but, I’ve heard that shtick before. Let’s face it, the average gun owner (hell, the average 1930’s tommy gun wielding gangster) has a body count that absolutely pales in comparison to the ATF’s.

    • I think it’s hilarious the mental gyrations people like you go thru to suggest that holding an arm brace to your shoulder is somehow different than doing the same thing with a stock. Stop being cheap, pay the $200, and welcome back to reality.

      • Yeah, hilarious. It was legal when I bought it, now it’s not.

        Pay $200. Do not pass “go.” Yeah, that’s being “cheap.” Asshole.

      • How about I don’t pay a tax to hold a firearm in a certain way. The reality that you are looking for is that an AR-15 with a stock and a 16″ barrel is, functionally, *exactly the same thing* as an AR-15 with a 12.5″ barrel and a chunk of rubber on the the buffer tube. (except the 12.5″ barrel one has a bit *less* muzzle energy) Who is the reality challenged person here?

        If I were to hold a Colt 1873 SAA with two hands, instead of the one for which it was designed, does the firearm somehow change?

        FWIW, I don’t even own a pistol brace equipped gun. That does not, however, prevent me from observing and commenting on stupidity when it is put on display. Paying a tax to shoulder a pistol (which is not the actual function of a pistol brace) is no different than paying a tax to make a tire swing – after all, if you were to do that you would be using a product in a way it was not intended. Is the ATF going to imprison people who fire a rifle from the hip?

        • Pay $200 for an Unconstitutional “Mother May I” Tax Stamp, Meet the requirement of notifying local LE you’ve got a dangerous Boom Boom, and add your name to the “Confiscate First” list.
          Well, my braced AR Pistol is an 80% build, thus it doesn’t have a Serial Number, so even if I wanted too, I can’t legally register the gun as an SBR with A$$holes Taking Firearms.
          No record of me owning one, so I need not worry about a knocknon my door, but it also prevents me from using the gun atva public range if anyone else is around.

      • Pay $200, get yourself on a national registry, wait for government paperwork and bureaucracy to ‘authorize’ something you legally acquired a year ago, and just STFU, amirite??

        You really don’t get this whole “Constitutional republic, with limited government powers’ thing, do you?

      • A number of states don’t allow ownership of SBR’s and can’t take advantage of ATF’s generous offer of tax stamp waivers. /s

      • Ya, don’t be cheap pay the $200 and now your name is on a list that may very well be used against you in the future. Not cool dude.

    • This was my thought also. These bureaucrats are hauled before a Committee, sweat for a day or two while they mishmash their answers, and then it’s back to business as usual for the rest of the year.

  4. Yum, grilled Beetle back..however
    I’m thinking more of barbqued Beetleback, more traditional with the BATFE.

    • I’d like to see this asshole grilled proper like…. use the Special Waco Recipe.

  5. I’d be more impressed if Congress didn’t routinely grant this power to the executive branch, then posture in front of the cameras when the executive branch does something that polls poorly with their constituents. Jordan know Congress ABDICATED the power, and they had the ability to take it back many, many times over the decades and haven’t done it.

    • Hell yeah. When was the last time congress looked at an administrative agency and said, “Hey, dipshlts, *we* didn’t make that law so it doesn’t exist!”?

  6. I understand why some people in the “gun community” think these hearings in the House run by the Republicans are a waste of time. But they are not. They’re actually a process of educating the General Public, about guns, something that most of us already know. This is progress. It’s how the legislative process works. What else can they do I’m not sure. Hopefully Congressman Matt Gaetz and MTG have things up their sleeves they can use.

  7. At various times Dettelbach said/implied that congress had given the ATF authority for his ‘rule making’ because, basically, they had passed the NFA.

    A few different federal courts have already ruled ATF they had no such authority to create a rule, basically, tantamount to law and only congress has that authority.

    For example, if I tell you that you that its ok if you borrow my lawn mower it is not blanket permission for you to also borrow my car – if you use that permission to borrow my law mower and re-interpret it a “well, the lawn mower has an engine and the car has an engine therefore I also have permission to borrow the car”, if you do that then you have exceed your ‘authority’. That’s basically what the ATF did, they exceeded their authority. Congress by the NFA ‘told’ ATF they could regulate those items in the NFA but did not give them authority to create NFA items and authority by changing definitions already defined in law and impose criminal penalties for violating their own created definitions – in effect ATF created law and not rule.

    • … and if you let them borrow your lawnmower, and then they gave you a stolen 890HP motor to put in it, and after you put that motor in and they came back and borrowed your propane weedburner and torched your home with you and all of your belongings in it to the ground, would you regret loaning them your lawnmower?
      If yes, why the fuck does ANYONE think it’s a good idea to voluntarily register something that you KNOW they’re going to come back and ” borrow” from you, while being escorted away in bracelets?

  8. Well hell. I mailed a Form 1 today for my Ruger PC Charger. They had my info anyway when I bought the thing as well as all my other bangbangs due to the background as well as when I obtained my carry permit. All this “cold dead hands” talk is cheap. All we can do mostly is vote.

  9. Dir. Brittledick just proves what I’ve said all along, there’s not a single Biden Appointee/Nominee that is qualified for their position, and I include SCOTUS Justice Jumanji Jackson-Brown in that comment.
    The Grand Old Pussified Party Senators that voted to confirm these Incompetents need to go.

  10. So they are only going to prosecute gang bangers with the brace. Their lawyers are going to have a field day with that!

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