ATF’s draft of its planned “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with Stabilizing Braces” document (discussed in detail HERE) has now been published and the brief public comment period is officially open. NOW is the time to provide your feedback. See below for details on how to do so and, please, do it.
The stated purpose of this comment period is to provide guidance, feedback, and/or commentary on ATF’s draft “objective factors” document and “on the use of the objective factors listed in this document.” Taken at its word, ATF will be reviewing all properly-submitted comments that do not contain “excessive profanity” and will take them into consideration when crafting its final guidelines document. If 200,000 people say these “objective factors” are absolutely not objective (in addition to being absurd and wrong), perhaps some good can come of it.
As if this proposed document isn’t bad enough — again, read our rundown on it HERE to get up-to-speed — unlike the normal 60-day period for which the .gov solicits comments from the public, ATF has elected to accept comments on this docket for just 17 days. Shocking that it just happens to be the 17 days beginning the Friday before Christmas and running a couple days past New Year’s (Dec 18 through Jan 4). What utter horses**t.
On the bright side, one reason ATF is able to get away with such a short comment period is that this document is simply interpretation and guidance. It is not a rule, a regulation, or a determination, nor is it a law, a proposed law, or a change to any law or departmental authority. All of which is explicitly stated in the document itself. It is supposed to be a clarification of how ATF interprets and has interpreted existing law.
Regardless, as the “clarification” is vague, confusing, and restrictive we must fight this overreach and we can and will begin to do so by taking [at least] the following actions:
• Take part in the public comment period by submitting a comment here: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ATF-2020-0001-0001 (during your comment submission, you can elect to receive email notifications of any newly-posted documents related to this docket, including publication of the final rule along with ATF’s responses to comments.)
• Call the White House Comments Line and demand that the administration stop ATF’s overreach: 202-456-1111
• Email the White House with the same message: [email protected]
• Call AND email your representatives:
→ Senate: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
→ Congress: https://www.house.gov/representatives
• Call your mom; she’d love to hear from you
If you need some inspiration, here are a few topics to use as a starting point for your comments and emails:
• ATF’s proposed “objective” guidance is vague and highly subjective, with no quantifiable metrics. It increases confusion and fear among legal gun owners and manufacturers rather than provides clear guidance to follow.
• Many of ATF’s “objective factors” are non-sensical and self-contradictory with previous ATF rulings. For instance, ATF has always affirmed that resting one’s cheek on a pistol’s receiver extension (buffer tube), stabilizing brace, or pistol cheek rest (example) is entirely legal and acceptable. How, then, can the use of optics designed for this cheek placement create an illegal configuration?
• Many of ATF’s “objective factors” would directly discriminate against individuals based on physical stature and physical abilities, such as the very subjective “so heavy that it is impractical” weight limit. This factor is entirely vague and undefined, and would clearly violate equal protection of the laws under the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• This is a direct attack on disabled Americans who have difficulty controlling a large format pistol due to injury or other disability, such as the disabled combat veterans for whom the pistol stabilizing brace was originally invented.
• ATF states that the purpose of the National Firearms Act is “to regulate certain weapons likely to be used for criminal purposes.” With approximately six million pistol brace-equipped firearms in private hands in the United States and literally one known criminal act committed with such a firearm, it’s clear that in no way do these guns belong in the purview of the NFA.
• In point of fact, the United States is the only country in the world to specifically restrict rifles based on barrel length, further proving that the entire concept of “short barreled rifles” requiring unique regulation is not based in fact or reality. These firearms are not “likely to be used for criminal purposes” and do not belong in the purview of the NFA.
• Clear infringement of the Second Amendment
• ATF’s unclear, secret, capricious, and ever-changing rulings related to pistol braces created this situation. Not only do these new, vague guidelines not help in any way, it is unreasonable to retroactively apply them to persons who followed previously-published and even unpublished guidelines in good faith in the past.
• Forcing law-abiding gun owners who might be in violation of these subjective, unclear new rules to register with the National Firearms Act or destroy their legally-purchased property is unreasonable.
• What else do you have? Comment below this article with other topics and avenues of attack on ATF’s latest rogue, ridiculous action.
Do it. Comment, call, and email all channels. It does matter. We must fight this blatant, arbitrary, and capricious infringement of our rights.