Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitprop shop, The Trace, is trumpeting the fact that if the Biden administration’s pistol brace proposed regulatory rule ever becomes ATF policy after the public comment period and process is complete, the federal firearms regulatory agency won’t be able to keep up with the demand to register the millions of braces that are owned by people who never signed up for the expense and bureaucracy of NFA regulation when they bought them.

The Trace, of course, frames this as due to a chronic lack of resources — read: federal tax dollars — going to the ATF. In their wold view, we can’t possibly devote enough money to the job of regulating civilian firearms. And the fact that the ATF never seems to have enough money is all part of a deep dark conspiracy by the gun industry and their minions in D.C. to hamstring the regulator.

But Mike’s minions build their prediction of NFA gridlock on one very big assumption. They’re expecting that the millions of owners of brace-equipped pistols will 1) hear about the regulatory change, and 2) choose to comply with it. Registration will include paying a mandatory $200 tax for each brace, an amount that’s more than most of them paid for them in the first place.

Judging by compliance rates for registration schemes enacted in places like New York and California (compliance that would have cost gun owners there nothing), good luck with that.

The rules, which were proposed in June, would bring stabilizing braces under the purview of the National Firearms Act, an 87-year-old law that imposes tight restrictions on machine guns, silencers, rifles with short barrels, and other weapons deemed by Congress to pose an acute threat to public safety.

If the rules come into force, gun owners seeking to attach a stabilizing brace to their pistol would have to obtain approval from the ATF’s NFA Division. That process can stretch more than a year and entails filing an application, undergoing extensive vetting, paying a $200 tax, and registering the weapon with the federal government. Violations can result in a 10-year prison term. 

Mark Jones, a former ATF special agent who held various supervisory positions before retiring in 2011, said the rule change could trigger an avalanche of NFA applications for a division that is underprepared.

“ATF’s been so poorly funded and resourced over the decades that it doesn’t have the people it needs,” Jones said. “If they just snapped their fingers and said, ‘Tomorrow all of you have to register these weapons or you’re felons,’ it would fail in a huge way.”

— Jennifer Mascia in Alain Stephens in Biden’s Pistol Brace Rule Would Put Pressure on an Already Strained ATF Division

63 COMMENTS

    • In terms of comments, sure.

      In terms of registering braced pistols as sbrs not so much. An incredible backlog with a decadal wait time – during which you couldn’t use your braced pistol – is in the “feature not bug” category.

      • I look at it this way :

        The avalanche of applications will be stark proof that pistol braces are in common use, and via precedent in ‘Heller v. D.C.’, are expressly protected under the 2A.

        The other day day LKB made a comment that SBRs being on the NFA may have been a drafting error. If we can properly exploit that, it seems to me that we stand a good chance of getting SBRs completely stricken from the NFA.

        And while they are drafting that legislation, removing suppressors as well becomes a logical step, since Europe no longer bothers to regulate them…

    • If this becomes law, brace owners and non-brace owners should all file multiple registrations with fictitious names, errors, incomplete, missing $200 payments to swamp the system handling the 100s of millions of applications. The braces have no serial numbers. How is that going to work???

      • You register the receiver as an SBR, not the brace. If the brace is placed on another receiver that isn’t registered, it’s up to $250k brand and 10 years in the Federal Pen. Meanwhile, Chicago murderers go through a revolving door and are back on the street, assuming they’re caught in the first place.

        • “You register the receiver as an SBR, not the brace.”

          Barrels have no serial number, either. Put a 10-inch one on your AR, instant felony…

        • Dems prefer murderers to responsible taxpaying citizens who appreciate fine weapons. The former is no threat to their power and authority, and is in fact their ally. The later can END the Left.

  1. at the point where these are beneficial to the non- physically challenged it won’t matter if they’re legal or not.

    • I think you vastly underestimate the practical utility of a braced pistol. Just cause you don’t like them (assuming here), doesn’t mean they don’t have very good use as a short/ medium range PDW.

  2. The answer to finding the money is easy, fire everyone in the enforcement branch and hire a bunch of clerks. They need to do this anyway since there is no way it is reasonable to take ten months or a year to approve a silencer application. Better yet fire them all and delete the NFA.

  3. Shouldn’t be more than 3 or 4 idiots that fall in line and so it.
    Even if the whole bunch decided to they’ll just find something else to make us outlaws.
    Can’t wait to see all them Spartan Molon Labe tshirts standing in line to fall into it like they did with the bumpstocks

    • I work 3 jobs. I pay a boatload of money in taxes. I don’t bother anyone else (notwithstanding fellow commenters here), and I support other people’s right to live as they please as long as they do not harm other people or their property. I comply with all current gun laws. Does making me a felon, causing me to lose my jobs and career, and locking me up to be supported at the expense of the government really sound like a good idea to people on the left?

      • It is a good idea to them. Money comes out of printing presses and computer algorithms. You and I being felons for made up crimes get us out of the way.

        • With your good behavior and no prior convictions they would probably be good with making a deal, ban you from firearms for life, probation, your firearms destroyed. Then all those pesky weapons of war are off the street.

        • “With your good behavior and no prior convictions they would probably be good with making a deal,…”

          Kyle, (AKA ‘FPS Russia’) got 90 days in federal prison for possessing weed and NFA ‘toys’ at the same time…

      • locking me up to be supported at the expense of the government really sound like a good idea to people on the left?

        Why yes, yes it does…

      • Of course it does! YOU, Sir, can do your civic duty by performing the role of Object Lesson! Your sacrifice, the destruction of your family, your world, and the rest of your life, will serve the noble purpose ‘pour encourager les autres’,’ so that no one will DARE try to emulate you! Others will fear to tread in your footsteps, and will be suitably reformed!

        Think of it as a public service.

  4. “…other weapons deemed by Congress to pose an acute threat to public safety.”

    Fallacy. The threat is not from weapons, it is from individuals. The whole idea of individual responsibility for your actions is a hard thing for these people to comprehend.

    • It’s a total world view for them, people are these basically good blank slates (except the bad colored ones), only affected by their environment, so people aren’t at fault, the systemic racism made them do the bad stuff, the guns made them turn violent, not getting paid $15 an hour. Remember too many guns (not sure what the “acceptable” number is) are evil simply by the combined gravitational mass that pulls at the very soul of society and drags it to darkness.

      So path to victory is literally purifying the soul of society by regularly sacrificing and destroying guns so they can’t be used, destroying unpure symbols, doing symbolic ceremonies like bending the knee, regularly scheduled hate sessions to shame and condemn the wicked in society.

      This is pretty much a fanatical religion.

      • “This is pretty much a fanatical religion.”

        The same with ‘Critical Race Theory’. Questioning the dogma is not allowed, according to them…

    • Exactly…wish I could upvote this…1,000 times…
      personal responsibility…definitely lostsomewhere along the line…

    • million……… you have discovered a new term, maybe even a job title for many in government. I can just see the tag on the door, EXPERT MORON dept.

    • expert:

      X: the symbol for unknown..
      Spurt: is a drip under pressure

      Expert: an unknown drip under pressure..

    • I wish I shared your optimism. Let’s be honest, the vast majority of people who have purchased “braced pistols” have done so because it’s the functional equivalent of an SBR (and before anyone gets mad at me, I believe every aspect of the NFA is illegal, immoral, illegitimate, and indefensible). So why don’t all those people build a real SBR? After all, particularly with the incredibly poplar AR platform, it would be the easiest thing in the world to “accidentally” mate a “pistol” upper with a rifle lower. Especially when you can spend $200 for a shitty pseudo stock (aka pistol brace) or $50 for a great actual stock. Why would anyone do that?

      Because they fear the NFA. I can’t imagine that a large percentage of the people who have spent quadruple the price on an inferior product solely to remain legal will suddenly defy the NFA. If the masses were willing to do that, braced pistols would never have become the hot commodity they are. So if those are arbitrarily redefined as SBRs, I see no evidence that the vast majority of people *wont* comply in some fashion

  5. “If the rules come into force, gun owners seeking to attach a stabilizing brace to their pistol WOULD HAVE TO obtain approval from the ATF’s NFA Division.” – Clearly, this guy doesn’t think the rules will result in ANY braces being categorized as “braces” rather than “stocks” under the ATF’s guidelines.

  6. Notice how their handy graphic comparing braced pistols to non-NFA rifles and SBRs completely leaves out unbraced pistols? No sense troubling the public’s pretty little minds with extraneous information that doesn’t fit the narrative.

  7. The BATFE has plenty of Money, $1.2 Billion and 5,000 employees. The problem with this agencies, like so many others, is that they ignore their core responsibility and branch out into other areas that interest themselves. If you think about it, BATFE is simply a Tax collecting organization at its core. Yes they license and inspect dealers and manufactures too. The problem is the “Law Enforcement” portion where they run around the country inserting themselves into just about every high profile case, just like the FBI does. This costs time, resource and of course money.

    This is a wasteful, duplication of effort, the FBI has plenty of weapon and explosives experts and doesn’t need BATFE help, ever. Same goes for most states and large counties. The BATFE provides nothing special to any criminal investigation and in-fact, they have to spend money to create NFA crimes by entrapping folks into violating the NFA through “Sting” operations, etc.

    The NFA registry contains some of the oldest people ever to live on Earth, as plenty of people who should be long dead are still listed in the NFA as valid registrants. Besides that, law enforcement (including BATFE) frequently loses or has stolen NFA firearms or destructive devices. If you ask the BATFE, the NFA registration is “Perfect” and if you want to see the proof or audit the registry, you will be told it is confidential tax records and therefore off limits to merely mortals.

    If you wanted to hire me, I would be happy to set-up a company to process and validate NFA transfers for merely the $200 registration fee. Turn around time would be 1 to 3 days, not 9 to 12 months. I would make a ton of money and everyone would be happy, except for the BATFE, who would be shone to be 100% incompetent in their Core Mission, administering the NFA Act of 1934.

  8. I sent my “public commit” and did not pull punches. Especially when the problem is a few azzhats at the top who are using an agency to get what they want like the kind of sneaky moms and dads and other deviates who use kids to get what they want.

  9. Well, if the ATF said it was legal, then has to register millions because it wasn’t, that places the whole NFA in the crosshairs as void for vagueness.

    Of course, Bidens 35 nominees to the Supreme Court, which will happen in 2022 after the Senate removes the filibuster and expands the court, may agree with The Trace.

  10. Seems to me that this pistol brace controversy could be construed as an opportunity to challenge one to three aspects of the NFA`34.

    How do we find ourselves in this controversy? It’s because SBRs were included in the NFA`34. Well, OK, then let’s look at how SBRs found their way into the NFA`34. I recall a TTAG article that explains this as a fiasco of draftsmanship occasioned by one Congressman’s concern that rifles not be construed to be NFA items.

    How did we get into this situation? Because SBSs were included in the NFA`34. And why were SBSs included? Because a draft of the bill intended to regulate handguns as NFA items. But if handguns were regulated as NFA items then there would be a “loophole” of sawing-off the barrel of a shotgun or rifle. Well, OK, so we understand that part.

    But then, handguns were dropped from the bill leaving SBSs and SBRs as a residual; a sort of “appendix” with no rational explanation for its purpose.

    If we were to rationalize this mess at all it MIGHT make sense to declare that any firearm with an overall length less than X” is deemed a handgun and over X” is a long-gun. But it makes no sense at all to have one set of laws for long-guns, another for SBS/SBRs, another for “AOWs” and then yet another set for handguns.

    The pistol brace controversy clearly arises out of piling nonsense on top of nonsense. The obvious solution would be to amend the NFA`34 to remove SBSs and SBRs entirely. Or, at most, to treat all firearms with an overall length <X" as "handguns".

    And, while we are at it, raise the issue of why silencers belong in the NFA`34 at all. They probably shouldn't be regulated any differently than muzzle-brakes or flash suppressors. Yet, we would be received to simply have they moved to the GCA`68.

    The foregoing is altogether too logical to meet with serious consideration by the ATF or the gun-control advocates. Nevertheless, this line of reasoning might be our best chance of derailing pistol brace regulation. If the "problem" lies in some fault in the NFA`34 then Congress ought to fix it. If the correct fix is to remove the foolish error in the NFA`34 then that's the fix.

    • I pocket carry my SBR all the time…

      The idea of SBRs was concealability. Which makes no sense in a world where at least 42 states are shall-issue CCW, or even permitless carry.

    • “If the “problem” lies in some fault in the NFA`34 then Congress ought to fix it.”

      Barring that, the courts will be an acceptable substitute, as far as I’m concerned… 🙂

  11. Use the rules. Convert the braced pistol to a rifle until the dust clears then convert it back. You can do that as many times as you’d like.

    • Simply possessing the parts is called ‘constructive possession’.

      Lots of folks in federal prison for that charge…

      • Put the brace on an AR rifle….16+” barrel. If they want t term a brace as a stock. Then, use it as a stock, until the SHTF and all gets settled once and for all. Is there anything in the new regulations that prohibit a brace as an actual stock??

        • “Put the brace on an AR rifle….16+” barrel.”
          No, because then the Feds will call it a pistol, and then they arrest you for violating the Federal law saying you can’t convert a rifle to a pistol. See, they turn you into a felon one way or the other — you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you put the brace on an AR rifle, then it would be an illegal conversion to a pistol, UNLESS you could convince them that the brace is a rifle stock, using the BATF’s own “point system” — but then the BATF would reinterpret their “point system” to argue that the brace magically turned back into a pistol brace, instant felony. Plus, even if you put the brace onto an AR rifle with a 16″ barrel, if you still kept the shorter barrel anywhere in your house, then bingo, “constructive possession” lets them charge you with a felony “intent to create an SBR.” It’s Catch-22. That’s the way gun laws here in New Jersey have always worked, and Joe Biden wants to make those laws nationwide!

  12. I plan to sneak into Mexico then walk back across the border with my braced AR pistol. Should have no problem keeping it and will probably be granted immunity for it

    • If the Mexican police don’t arrest you first for bringing a firearm into the country illegally. I hear they have lovely jails there.

  13. There are probably 10 million brace equipped guns sold in the last 10 years. Even if 25% of the owners comply and submit a registration, the NFA branch will be so backlogged NFA wait times will probably go from the current 6-8 months to 5 YEARS! By the way, my first F4 approval 20 years ago took 5 weeks and my last was 12 months!

    • If each of those 10 million owners, plus many no-brace owning pro-gunnies, each filed 1-20 forms with incorrect, mistakes laden, lacking $200 fee, forms, ATF would drown in their own paperwork.

  14. if the American firearms brace owner is foolish enough to register with the NFA this would crash the system and take the wait time from months to decades, This of course is by design.

  15. This entire article (and most of the discussion) seems to assume jumping directly from the proposed regulations being adopted to people either filing a NFA registration or choosing not to comply.

    This leaves out an entire step in the process.

    As we all know (or have been told), only the specially trained and uniquely endowed people at the ATF Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) are capable of determining which category any particular firearm or accessory fits. ATF has long insisted that each kind of brace needed to be individually examined and evaluated — just as each newly produced firearm must be — and that only the specific model braces that had been approved were really braces at all. Under the proposed rule, this goes a step further in that under the new rule each individual brace would need to be evaluated on each individual firearm. Individual owners could use the checklist to guess which way the FATD was likely to rule, but with few exceptions the actual determination would require sending the complete firearm and brace to FATD for evaluation — interestingly enough, it seems that if the FATD determined that the accessory didn’t qualify as a brace, they would then be unable to return the firearm to the owner because it would have become an unregistered NFA item.

  16. The NFA had less to do with Public Safety, and more about covering Congress’ Phuck Up.
    Organized Crime was a small time operation until the Ratification of the 18th Amendment. The social failure of Prohibition was doomed, and the reality that it moved Organized Crime into a major league player in criminal threats against the country’s overall welfare.
    None of the syndicate leaders caught were successfully tried on the weapons charges the NFA created. Al Capone was sentenced on charges of Tax Evasion, not his ownership of Automatic Weapons, Suppressors, SBR’s and SBS’s.
    The Tax Stamp requirement of NFA listed items is, a financially prohibitive infringement upon the 2nd Amendment, specifically aimed at lower and middle class Americans, as an onerous burden to ownership.

    Criminals flat don’t give a Scheiße, if Full Auto, SBR,, SBS and Suppressor Weapons and Accessories are NFA listed items.
    The NFA failed in its intent to prevent criminal use. All it has succeeded in doing, is infringing upon the Right of the People to keep and Bear Arms. Repeal It

  17. Won’t be able to keep up with the demand of people running to register their firegunms. Bwhahaha, yeah right.

  18. I dont like braces. I prefer the pistol buffer tube by itself. Anything that adds weight is bad IMHO.

  19. We’d just take the brace off. Some might change up and make it a rifle, for the most part tho, the brace only lets you raise the sight line of the pistol higher rather than crank your neck doww because the buffer’s against your shoulder. For some it wouldn’t be much change.

    Others would install a magazine pouch – and the ATF would have to issue an opinion on that, then somebody else would come up with a shoulder pad that captures the buffer hign on the shoulder, ATF has to react again, and again, and again.

    Don’t tell us we can’t think around regulations pretending to be gun control. Every step just makes the ATF look even more ineffective and baiting them is the entire point of the game. There is also the growing trend by states to pass laws stating their LEO’s are not to enforce the ATF’s rules – what’s Federal is Federal and leave it all to them, not our problem. NY sheriffs already did that with the SAFE act, and largely ignore it. No cases, no enforcement.

    We still don’t know which way the decision will go, if it’s all turned down there’s not reason to think they won’t make a simpler version of the form and submit again, appearing to “conform” to the input from the 100,000 comments they already have.

    Instead of wasting time on all this, we should elect REAL conservatives who SUPPORT revoking the 1934 NFA and 1968 GCA, and who say so. But, no, too many aren’t even trying to vet their representatives and just check the box on the candidate who promises them the most payback out of our taxdollars.

  20. EGARDINJ

    Regarding Firearms Law enforcement at the federal law level the ATF/BATFE appears intent on destroying the Second Amendment rights of the citizenry. In plain English, their intent and goal are plainly unacceptable. Might I note that the nation got along well enough without the ATF/BATFE, and were the agency to disappear overnight, somehow the U.S.A. would survive.

  21. My opinion. Brace or no brace, if the AR pistol is over 26″ long it’s just a firearm. just like the
    Mossberg® Shockwave 12 Gauge shotgun. 27.37″ long, a firearm.
    Pistol buffer tube (with or without a brace) is 6.5″ long, the AR lower is 7.75″ long, add a 12″ barrel (threaded or not) and the length is 26.25″. NOT a SBR, just a firearm.
    STICK IT, “AFT”!

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