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Iraqveteran8888 to ATF: Braces Are in Common Use and Have No Effect on Crime

ED: Eric Blandford — better known to many in the gun world as Iraqveteran8888 — isn’t any happier about the ATF’s current jihad against pistol stabilizing braces than the rest of us. Like over 21,000 people so far, he’s submitted a comment in the Federal Register regarding the ATF’s proposed “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’”. Eric has kindly sent us what he’s written and allowed us to republish it here.

Acting Director Lombardo,

My name is Eric Blandford and I am a concerned citizen and veteran who runs a very well-known YouTube channel called “Iraqveteran8888” and would very much appreciate the opportunity to share my concerns with the ATF’s recent actions regarding the legality of pistol braces.

Braced handguns and FBI crime statistics

We are somehow expected to believe that in the nearly eight years that these braces have been available, they are suddenly some sort of threat to public safety or that they are used in an extraordinary number of crimes. The NFA was, after all, created with the specific intent of curbing “gang-related crime.” According to the FBI’s annual report published September 28th, 2020, the rate of violent crimes in the U.S. is on the third year of decline.

When comparing data on murder victims from 2013-2017, the firearms are broken down into their respective categories. Nowhere in the reports are braced firearms mentioned. Since the FBI does not deem it necessary to make the distinction, it shows clearly that it has never been a data point worthy of mention.

There are also no distinctions in the handgun category, even in the 2019 report for braced handguns of any type. If the ATF genuinely cared about the potential of a braced pistol having a higher chance of being used in criminal activity, why didn’t they pressure the FBI to make that distinction in their reporting?

The number of pistol braces in circulation is easily in the millions, and the data simply cannot back up the ATF’s reasoning for the proposed reclassification. It is much more likely that if the public outcry were severe enough, or if the ATF determined back in 2012 it was any issue regardless of configuration, they would never have approved the initial design at all.

The more likely reasoning for your letter, Director Lombardo, is as a response to a political landscape that allows you to maneuver more in line with your feelings towards gun owners and less about any real concern or issues, especially from the public. If the position of the ATF, DOJ, and LEOs around the country was in line with this letter, we would have known about it a long time ago.

A Political line toed perfectly

This proposal comes hot on the heels of your meeting with Biden/Harris. Is our country so corrupt that the sitting President of the United States of America is bypassed and any opinion that gets whispered in your ear becomes the gospel of the day? The ATF has been allowed to run rampant and unchecked as a rogue organization that clearly is willing to use lethal force to back up bad opinions.

The law deserves more respect and our checks and balances must be adhered to. Opinions are not laws. Alphabet agencies are not political parties. Yet this is clearly a political play and a seizure of an opportunity to enact mass registration of the items in question, perfectly in line with the Biden/Harris gun grab agenda.

The DOJ is too busy to investigate election fraud, but now, suddenly, the “issue” of braced handguns must be put to bed with only a 17-day comment period? That is highly irregular and none of us are buying that you think braced pistols represent a real threat to anyone.

This is about control, back door registration, and capitalizing on the confusion and fear caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The short comment period expertly planned around the holiday distractions is a textbook gun-grabber move.

The illegitimacy of the 1934 National Firearms Act

When the NFA was passed in 1934, its original intent was to impose a tax on the items in question so high that it would make them prohibitively expensive and too regulatorily burdensome to own. The fee to register an item under the NFA has always been referred to as a “tax.”

The Supreme Court, in Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943), ruled “The state cannot and does not have the power to license, nor tax, a Right guaranteed to the people,” and “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” A similar ruling was made in Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262, in which the court determined, “If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.”

Self-preservation is one of the most important human rights on this planet, and the brilliant framers of our Constitution chose to recognize it clearly and concisely. The NFA is not constitutionally sound. It violates natural rights, and converts those rights into a privilege under Federal law enforcement duress.

The $200 tax is no different than a poll tax, purposefully and knowingly applied to disenfranchise gun owners specifically. In 1966, Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, the Supreme Court ruled that poll taxes were unconstitutional. So, it should be made clear that before I give my opinion on these “objective factors,” I want it known that I view the NFA as illegitimate to begin with, and it is likely the Supreme Court will too when the matter finally gets that far. 

Opinion

Braced pistols are in “common use” by a large subset of Americans. The gun industry has changed for the better as a result and many innovations have been made. Braces increase the safety of pistols by helping the shooter control the firearm more effectively. They help new shooters get accustomed to controlling pistols and help with recoil management for smaller statured shooters and those with disabilities.

The language of your “objective factors” proposal consistently mentions one hand being used to fire a handgun as a criteria. I am not sure where the ATF receives its training, but most pistol shooters use both hands to achieve proper control of a handgun.

I have personally witnessed wounded veterans use braced pistols in the field to take game where they otherwise would have been unable to use a firearm. I have witnessed wheelchair-bound veterans use braced pistols to continue exercising their Second Amendment rights after serving in combat.

The spirit under which these measures are proposed is purposely and willfully biased and ambiguous. The best course of action the ATF can take is to acknowledge that braced pistols are in common use among gun owners and in this modern era do not fall under the purview of the 1934 NFA.

The ATF has asserted before that certain collectible pistols that use shoulder stocks such as the Mauser C96 and the slotted Inglis Hi-Power do not fall under the purview of NFA regulation. The ATF has shown it can use common sense on these types of measures and I am confident the same can be said for braces.

The NFA actually needs to be abolished altogether, but that is a future conversation we will have involving the SCOTUS, lawmakers, and my fellow citizens. I am at your disposal to discuss this matter further.

Sincerely,
Eric Blandford

comments

  1. avatar Lance says:

    Illegitimacy is a perfect way to describe the NFA.

    Gun control has always been about keeping guns out of hands of people you don’t like; they always talk about the wrong hands but never elaborate who. Criminals? Who do they consider criminals? Wrong think gets you locked up nowadays.

    Its always politically or, originally, racially motivated. It only provides safety to those who can afford to hire someone to provide protection.

  2. avatar ATF DUMP says:

    when they want you, they get you..

    but the real problem is, when we want them OUT – we do nothing about it and that has to change, we need to bring the fight to their doorstep and or let a fightout at our own doorstep…

    I am ready to GO but are they?

  3. avatar catboss says:

    Thank you Iraqveteran8888. Very eloquently expressed.

    1. avatar napresto says:

      Hear hear

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      +1

    3. avatar Rad Man says:

      Agreed, nicely put!

  4. avatar James Ivy says:

    I think personally the “on the cuff ” nature of IV8888 gun gripes could be better served to have some scripted opinions, for example of how eloquently put his comment was.

  5. avatar Madcapp says:

    Iraqveteran8888 is absolutely, unquestionably correct.

  6. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Said it before. Read Unintended Consequences by John Ross. The ATF hated that book. Of course, it’s rare and expensive. My copy is not for sale any price.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      That is a really good book. Anyone in our “gun culture” should read it.
      It’s actually available online or as a download.

      The original is written by John Ross.

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        I’m a big fan of paper books…. the cheapest copy I could find was $200. I saw it as high as $550. Once upon a time (5 years ago) I found a 1st edition of “Marine Sniper” that was owned by Hector Cafarata and signed (on the Marine Corps birthday) by Carlos Hathcock, Edward Land, and Charles Henderson for $500…. “Unintended Consequences” must be quite a book for that price. But,…. I suppose I could do my patriotic duty and make the sacrifice of reading it on .pdf for free.

        1. avatar Rad Man says:

          It is a great and entertaining read, just shy of 1000 pages. I have a free pdf copy on my Kindle. And yes, physical copies are bodaciously expensive.

      2. avatar Wally1 says:

        Unintended Consequences is the best book I have ever read. I still have the copy. It should be required reading for every gun owner. Depending on how the next few years go, It might have to be reclassified to not be fiction.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          The great majority of the first half is absolutely true. I always get a kick out of the page breaks, where a description of an impossible shooting feat precedes a full page photo of the evidence it was NOT fiction!

          My attempts to buy a second copy (I thought I had lost the first) eventually ended when I discovered it’s available as near and cheap as your Google-fu, the whole thing, photos and all. No one will publish it again since it is available for free. But that is one excellent book, I may start reading it again!
          OOoo! I did NOT know it was available on my Kindle! Have to check.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      I came across a PDF of it somewhere and have read most of it, despite my absolute hatred of long-form reading onscreen. Wouldn’t mind having a paper copy at all if such a thing could be had.

      Despite the handicap of being set in an outdated version of the near future (those settings never age well), it has a prophetic feel.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        ING, don’t be too eager, the book is huge and heavy. I’ve never seen a paperback.

    3. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Here I think is the PDF :

      https://billstclair.com/Unintended-Consequences.pdf

      If it isn’t, let me know…

        1. avatar Montana Lima says:

          If anyone is going to read on a screen (computer, tablet, phone, etc.–anything backlit) make sure to invert your colors so your background is black and the text is white. Your eyes will thank you.

        2. avatar Montana Actual says:

          Montana Lima? Bruh…

  7. avatar Greg says:

    Nice letter but the exact same argument can be made for SBRs in general. Barrel length has no effect on crime and no one would choose a brace over a stock when given a choice.

    1. avatar Tim U says:

      Not only can you, he did, when he got to the part about the nfa as a whole

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      If barrel length has an effect on crime it’s certainly in the opposite direction; even a shortened shouldered rifle is no match for a pistol for concealability.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    Writing a comment to the ATF is a waste of time. There’s no point in negotiating with terrorists.

  9. avatar LibertyToad says:

    Like the ATF or the government, especially the incoming Biden “administration”, cares what we think or what the Bill Of Rights says. We live in a post constitutional America where elections are stolen and the Justice system looks away because they are too cowardly to do anything and/or no longer view the US Constitution as the law of the land.

  10. avatar former water walker says:

    Very well put! Despite his hillbilly mannerisms& folksy demeanor I doubt anyone could “comment” better…will it matter? I dunno as I have no skin in this particular game. But I do have an AR & 10 30round mags.

  11. avatar Imayeti says:

    They need to keep things controversial to justify the budget!

  12. avatar Larry says:

    Some creative attorney should take the ATF to court based on the $200 tax potentially having a disparate impact on economically depressed individuals. I suspect the argument could even be made that the tax is racist. Not only should regulation of shoulder stocks be stopped, the $200 tax on NFA items should also be abolished.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Piss on the tax, the entire excuse was based on the “wrong people” buying them, an argument demolished by NICS, there is no longer ANY excuse for not simply repealing the entire NFA.

  13. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Gotta say it’s nice to see some people attacking the NFA. I just wish it were actually judges and politicians. I mean if you’re ignorant on the circumstances that were used to create the Miller ruling then it’s absurd to say that was a fair trial.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Always grabbed me that, near as I can understand it, the government lost, and then appealed the loss (??), whereupon the accused and his pro bono attorney did not show up, so the government lied about essentially everything to get the win, and no one has revisited in 75 years. Plus, the only case was about a shotgun, and the ruling was that 2A only protected ownership of military grade weapons which a shotgun was (supposedly) not. But, it must be observed, a suppressed machine gun most definitely *IS*!!

  14. avatar Edward Dunnigan says:

    That was a cogent, well-written, and rational discourse on the issue. It was also a waste of time; F-Troop is a rogue agency. It has been since the 70’s and shows no sign of changing. And the eunuchs in the GOP aren’t going to do a damned thing about it.

  15. avatar strych9 says:

    Pearls, meet Swine. Swine, Pearls.

  16. avatar Prndll says:

    I haven’t seen anything anywhere that says what needs to be said better than this. I do not see myself ever buying one of these but that does not mean other people shouldn’t. I am in complete agreement with Iraqveteran8888.

  17. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Yall still don’t get it. It’s not about crime, nor compliance or anything else but REMOVAL

  18. avatar RedFlaggedandBagged says:

    Good thing we have real fighters like Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney on our side!

    They are like the Maginot line of defense of our freedom!

    1. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

      as opposed to others like the one who used an executive order to enact gun control?

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        Did either Ben Sasse, Mitt Romney, or Jeff Flake submit Nation Reciprocity or the Hearing Protection for legislative action???

        Their great Libertarian Hero, Ron Paul, at least voted no over and over again. On principle. What did these so called Libertarian, minus Romeny, do to try and advance Liberty???

        Answer, The Libertarians did nothing except complain about President Trump.

  19. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The FUDD majority of the “gun community” thinks wood is the best thing for gun stock manufacturers. Nearing all Collecting involves the buying and selling of wood stock firearms. That’s all they care about. There historical, I get that. But new manufacturing processes don’t interest them very much.
    There are wood lathe people. And then there are CNC people. I didn’t grow up with guns just like most Americans have not. Unless you include water pistols in that mix? So its the 21st century methods that most people are familiar with. I do have wood stock guns and I like them. But its the new technology stuff that comes out that has kept the gun business growing. I have a “blade” not a brace on my Ruger charger.

    How many Bump stock comments were made? 10,000? How many gun owners? 100 million?
    And how many gun owners, who are now complaining, refused to vote for President Trump???

  20. avatar Jack Mehoff says:

    Sorry Eric, but no. The brace was designed for people with disabilities and the gun community as a whole has used this as a loophole to not register a short barrel rifle. Every gun channel from Iraqvetern8888, Military Arms Channel, Mrgunsngear, AKOU with Rob Ski and the list goes on and on have continued to shoulder braced pistols in an act of defiance to the ATF. How many of these gun YouTubers have actually showed & shot the “braced” pistol as it was intended to be used in a video? All these large gun channel will bitch and complain but in the end they will comply and register their “braced” pistols. Then they will make a video explaining why they did, “Well at least I didn’t have to pay the $200” Not one LARGE gun channel on YouTube will chance becoming a felon and losing money as well as all the free stuff they get from their channel. End the end they will be quoting ol Hickok45 “It’s not something worth falling on our swords over.” Eric’s channel alone has over 2.4 Million Subscribers but yet only 21,000 have left comments? That is the reason the so called “2A” community sucks. They will bitch and complain but take no real action if it means them personally losing something. I don’t even own a brace and yet I left a comment to the ATF. First it will be braces, then high capacity magazines, then folding/collapsible stocks, then threaded barrels ect. ect. ect. It will not stop. How do I know this? Because Joe Biden said that was exactly what he was going to do as President.

    1. avatar Geoff says:

      Unfortunately if they get registered as a SBR you can no longer take it out of your home State without getting permission from the ATF and some States SBRs are illegal.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        To be correct, you need to insert “legally” in one or two places there. I have been driving one thing or another for 60 years now, and I have NEVER had anyone look for an SBR in my trunk. Or even a machine gun!

    2. avatar possum says:

      Joe Biden threatened to take my private property. I dont like it when someone threatens me.

  21. avatar Geoff says:

    I read on another site that people have had their comments deleted by the ATF if they opposed the rules on braces.

  22. avatar HP says:

    Serious question. Does the comment window the ATF provides for stuff like this have any effect on anything at all? I have a hard time believing anyone at the ATF or in government in general cares what anyone thinks.

    1. avatar possum says:

      the comments are probably on autodelete, and if they ain’t the BAFTE just says Ha Ha Ha what a bunch of nuts, these people need red flagged

  23. avatar possum says:

    I bet if Iraquivetern 8888 was to sell knives with an American flag on the box, dog tags in a package with US Skiff on them and In God We Trust on the inside, they’d be made in America. Demolition Ranch, I’ll never watch another video of yours ever never ever again.

  24. avatar Jeffrey Hunt says:

    He is right, but I wonder how much SB Tactical paid him to say this publicly.

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