The ATF Objectifies Pistol Stabilizing Braces

SB Tactical pistol stabilizing brace

Travis Pike for TTAG

The ATF’s proposed rule for determining whether a firearm is a stabilizer-braced pistol or a short-barreled rifle is open for comments. It was published in the Federal Register yesterday, as Docket No. 2020R–10. But searching regulations.gov may or may not turn up the docket.

There it is…published as Docket ID: ATF-2020-0001 Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces”.

Please note that the deadline for comments is January 4, 2021, meaning that they have only allowed all of 18 days for comments, not the usual 30 (or more).

As always with All The inFringements, the rule is a mess.

“The objective design features ATF considers in determining whether a weapon with an attached ‘‘stabilizing brace’’ has been ‘‘designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder’’ include, but are not limited to:”

  • Type and Caliber
  • Weight and Length
  • Length of Pull
  • Attachment Method
  • Stabilizing Brace Design Features
  • Aim Point
  • Secondary Grip
  • Sights and Scopes
  • Peripheral Accessories

Including length of pull is a biggy. By starting with the assumption that length of pull — the distance from the trigger to the rear of the stock — is part of their test and matters, it appears the ATF considers all braces to be stocks until proven otherwise.

But none of that really matters because . . .

No single factor or combination of factors is necessarily dispositive, and FATD examines each weapon holistically on a case-by-case basis.

“Holistically.”

That’s fancy language for we know it when we see it and we’ll let you know when we do. In other words, there are no specific, “objective factors” for determining when a pistol equipped with a stabilizing brace will be considered a short-barrel rifle. 

An objective definition of pistol brace would be something like . . .

A device designed to aid a user in holding a large pistol with one hand, which extends no further than the user’s forearm when gripping the firearm normally, and which conforms to the user’s forearm.

And that’s just what I told them in my comment:

The ATF has not presented any “objective factors” to determine whether a pistol-braced firearm is a pistol or short-barreled rifle.

“No single factor or combination of factors is necessarily dispositive, and FATD examines each weapon holistically on a case-by-case basis.”

That is no more than fancy language for Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s infamous, “I know it when I see it.”

That statement would appear to leave us precisely where we are now: at the mercy of a proven arbitrary and capricious federal agency bound to infringe upon the Second Amendment. But it is really worse than that. By including “length of pull” in the “factors,” the ATF starts with the assumption that a braced firearm is a short-barreled rifle until and unless it is proven otherwise.

An objective definition of pistol brace would be: A device designed to aid a user in holding a large pistol with one hand, which extends no further than the user’s forearm when gripping the firearm normally, and which conforms to the user’s forearm.

What will you be telling them?

comments

  1. avatar Tarzan says:

    I’ll be telling them to fcuk off, again. It’s to the point where the ATF has become irrelevant.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Not seeing your point. An unaccountable Federal law enforcement agency with SWAT ability, armored vehicles and a bloody history of messy fuck-ups is not irrelevant.

      What it is, is an on going threat to innocent lives and the rights of all people.

      1. avatar Debbie W. says:

        enuf…You slandered and libeled the POTUS and boasted about your guns and ammo purchases made possible off the backs of us who defeated hilliary rotten clintoon. And you contributed to and voted for biden/harris. You bozo are not one to be talking and you should tried for treason.

        1. avatar Debbie W. says:

          I am sure there are ATF agents on these forums reading these replies. I would like to hear them try to justify Gun Control when Gun Control is an agenda rooted in racism and genocide.
          .
          It appears what the ATF top hats are doing with silly braces shows their disdain for Americans owning firearms. Knowing they cannot totally act like the nazis SS and go door to door taking any and all means of self defense they poke at the Second Amendment with a stick like a brat would take a stick and poke it through a fence at the neighbor’s dog. The little bastard won’t climb over the fence so he does what he can to aggravate the dog.

          Make no mistake about it there are some bad people in law enforcement and fortunately not enough to broad brush everyone like marching drama queens have done. IMO…This brace nitpicking is a sign of a mental illness coming from people with waaaay too much money and free time on their hands. Americans pay law enforcement to go after criminals who are a threat to freedom. If the ATF is so blind they cannot see themselves going after freedom like criminals do then the time has come for the ATF to close their doors.

        2. avatar Theresa Inacker says:

          Debbie W. you voted for the first President to ever attempt a coup.

          You should be in prison for Sedition and Anti-American Incompetence!

        3. avatar Stan Darsh says:

          @Theresa Inacker So, you’re saying Debbie W voted for Bathhouse Barry? I don’t seem to recall her ever stating that.

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

          “So, you’re saying Debbie W voted for Bathhouse Barry?”

          That’s not Ms. Inacker, it’s a fuckwit troll impersonating her…

      2. avatar kroglikepie says:

        Seems like your kind of agency, enuf.🤷‍♂️

    2. avatar Dude says:

      The ATF *should* be irrelevant, but government gonna government.

      1. avatar Thomas says:

        What is irrelevant is “Rule of Lenity.” or actually any rule at this point. We are being honest actors, thinking rules, precedent, or laws will matter to dishonest actors.

        The left just does not care anymore about any honest discussion. They want their way…END OF DISCUSSION.

        The election is a perfect example. To any honest person there was 100,000’s of thousands of fraudulent votes in each battleground state. They know that…they don’t care! They want their way…END OF DISCUSSION.

        We can say “2nd Amendment” or “Rule of Lenity” all we want. We might as well just say “Hocus Pocus” because the effect will be the same…They want their way…END OF DISCUSSION.

        They have already said the Constitution is a “living breathing document” which means… They want their way…END OF DISCUSSION.

        1. avatar Debbie W. says:

          Its dumbass shittalk like that why POTG are going to lose one day. There was not massive fraud and only lintlicker loons think different.

        2. avatar Debbie does the sausage party in drag says:

          Hey DEBBIE W. (Obviously a transgender weirdo)….
          You sound like the lint licker here…..
          So unless you want to stand WITH real Americans, go stand with the rest of the boot licker crowd…..
          I’ve about had it with hearing your constant BS about nazi’s and the KKK….. It’s like YOU’RE STUCK IN THE 80’s or something…..
          Do us all a favor and spare us of hearing the same washed up issues from times long past….

    3. avatar endDClies says:

      How irrelevant will they be when they knock your door in and put you down on the floor at gun-point?

      1. avatar Anton Solomyr says:

        You forget they’ll shoot your Pomeranian first because ‘deadly attack dog’…

    4. avatar Craig in IA says:

      “I’ll be telling them to fcuk off, again.”

      Well, I hope you at least learn to spell. Comments like this would have no positive affect on any proposed regulation- why even bother to post them here? And since one needs to register their info with ATF to make comments (I already have) I’m sure you didn’t bother. You’d more likely be paranoid they’d come look you up and take away your customized Moisin Nagant and SKS.

      Thank God we aren’t all sub-juvenile…

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

      “It’s to the point where the ATF has become irrelevant.”

      That crap again?

      Free Clue – Add a ‘giggle switch’ to a firearm and show up a public gun range for a few mag dumps and see what happens to your ass…

  2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    If the nation did away with the un Constitutional 1934 NFA and 1968 GCA then the need for a also un Constitutionally authorized agency and they wouldn’t be infringing on We The Peoples rights.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Could not agree more!

      A SCOTUS ruling applying Strict Scrutiny, perhaps several such rulings, could be the solution.

      Wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it.

      1. avatar enuf is Enough says:

        enuf said “A SCOTUS ruling”

        You voted to pack the Supreme Court.

        You know where you can go enuf, and if you don’t, ask Debbie

    2. avatar Ed Schrade says:

      If you want your (our) constitutional rights restored like our founding fathers wrote, then all the red states need to secede and tell the socialists and crooks to gfo.

  3. avatar Thinker1 says:

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    ― Ayn Rand

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Ayn Rand was a mentally diseased America-hating and Christian-Hating piece of shit. She made some clever and quotable statements but if you read interviews with her you would find that her thoughts on America are any thing but supportive of our culture. Being anti-Soviet, ant-Marxist is not enough.

      1. avatar DaveL says:

        I’ve found that, if you follow the history of big ideas, at some point you’ve got to accept that some profound insights, undeniably true in themselves, have come from some people who were either deeply corrupt, or else raving mad, or at the very least laughably wrong about something or other. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Isaac Newton thought the menstrual blood of prostitutes held magical properties. Pliny the Elder, considered the author of the first encyclopedia, thought there was a tribe in Africa with no heads – with their eyes and mouths in their chests.

        Ayn Rand was a raving loon to be sure, but she wasn’t wrong about communism, or the power of selective enforcement.

      2. avatar GS650G says:

        Ayn raised good points about government. She was certainly prophetic about the times we are in and entering.

        Dismiss her writings at your peril.

        1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          Exactly.

        2. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

          Ayn Rand’s philosophy of moral objectivism was, at its heart, simply born out of what she felt benefited her the most at the time. When she ran out of money, she went on Social Security and Medicare. Such fragile principles are not to be respected.

        3. avatar Miner49er says:

          In the end, just like Donald Trump, Aun Rand was all about enriching yourself at the expense of others.

          She was against Social Security and Medicare when she was healthy and generating much income, but when she became old and infirm she accepted thousands of dollars in Social Security and Medicare benefits.

          Any Rand was just another parasite wanting free stuff from the government.

          Just like the billion dollar subsidies to big oil, we don’t have capitalism, we have crony capitalism was favoritism by the rich elites on Wall Street. Billionaire Kelly Loeffler, millionaire David Purdue know all about cheating the citizens in order to enrich themselves.

  4. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “The ATF Objectifies Pistol Stabilizing Braces”

    Whatever turns them on…I’d rather “objectify” women…

    1. avatar Dude says:

      I occasionally find the things the braces are attached to sexy. Don’t judge me.

  5. avatar enuf says:

    First of all the ATF has a long and bloody history, easily the worst of any USA government agency on home soil. The ATF’s record is chock full of killing by way of incompetence, arrogance and enormous mistakes with zero accountability.

    ATF getting citizens, LEO’s and their own officers shot and killed began with the Ken Ballew Raid in 1971. The Ruby Ridge and Waco Raids being only the best known to people today. Or the Gun Walking scandals of George W Bush and Barrack Obama administrations, resulting in LEO and citizen deaths on both sides of the border. These are the well known but there are uncountable examples of the ATF terrorizing and harming common law abiding citizens simply because they can.

    Any President could end this abuse. Not only end the infringements but the terrorism, the unaccountable blood letting incompetence. On the one hand what we have seen instead is a lot of posturing for votes to the right or the left. While on the other an unwillingness to see the and act decisively against the morally repugnant evil deeds.

    Ronald Reagan came close but stopped well short of meaningful action.

    Now we see Trump utterly ignoring his sworn duty while claiming to be a conservative defender of our rights. All while HIS ATF, being led by his guy, is taking steps against our rights.

    The only way to solve all this is for people to get it thru their thick skulls that the ATF has a life of its own, an agenda of its own. The ATF has a cultural of protecting its own no matter what, with horror stories of incompetence being addressed by relocating the guilty, eventually promoting them. Though a strong President could fix it with decisive executive authority, none will.

    What is needed are legal and political attacks upon the ATF leadership and individual transgressing agents and supervisors. Supreme Court decisions in our favor will help, but so long as the ATF exists it shall continue to harm and kill Americans because of incompetence, arrogance and outright criminality.

    1. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

      Fear not. Your guy “won” everything will be well now

  6. avatar PK says:

    Bad law breeds contempt for all law.

    By all means, ATF… please, do continue. Enjoy your massive non-compliance.

  7. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Although Trump was better than the shill would have been he still sucks. Trump should have fired a quarter to a half of these busy bodies and told the rest to start working straw purchase cases.

    1. avatar Mercury says:

      Prosecute straw purchases?? Don’t be such a racist!

      1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        If that’s racist then the whole 4473 and background check is racist and since it’s a system it’s gotta be systemically racist. Don’t blame the players blame the game man.

  8. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    Telling them that they are a law enforcement agency, not Congress, so their rules are not law. Also something to the effect of, by the way law enforcement agencies should focus on stopping crime, not creating it…

  9. avatar Shire-man says:

    Unless they send agents to ranges or door to door with scales and measuring tape seems safe to completely ignore everything about this and just hope your local po-po doesn’t have any reason to jam you up for shits and giggles.

    1. avatar rt66paul says:

      Local po po in Ca is worse that the ATF.

  10. avatar No one of Consequence says:

    They’ve presented nominally objective factors. What they have not presented is the metrics by which the factors are to be evaluated. Eg what weight? What length?

    It’s like saying there are to be limits on how much NOx or CO a car can emit per mile … but notmspecifyi g those limits.

    In other words, useless to those attempting to make something legal to sell and own.

    1. avatar No one of Consequence says:

      …but not specifying … Darn phone keyboard…

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        Kinda like saying there are limits to how fast you can drive on the highway but not telling you what the speed limit is. Arbitrary and capricious is what it is.

        1. avatar UpInArms says:

          ” not telling you what the speed limit is ”

          They’ll know what it is when they pull you over.

  11. avatar Mad Max says:

    The Administrative Agencies shouldn’t have any control over individual’s choices or actions for non-commercial purposes; period.

    They should pick on someone their own size like Global Corp.

  12. avatar Dude says:

    “Please note that the deadline for comments is January 4, 2021, meaning that they have only allowed all of 18 days for comments, not the usual 30 (or more).”

    They also timed it around the holidays while people are distracted.

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Maybe they’ve adopted that “Warp Speed” approach to regulations.

    2. avatar Holiday Inn Expresser says:

      But let’s be honest, do you think anyone at the ATF cares what the citizenry has to say about their edicts?

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        Example; The 5.56 Green Tip ban from some years back as the ATF was inundated with comments and thus green tips still available for purchase.

  13. avatar Johnnyreb says:

    So… since they are adding regulations… how many rules are they getting rid of as per Pres. Trumps orders?

  14. avatar GS650G says:

    Soon these devices will be largely home made for the really interested parties. Like most guns eventually.
    A friend of mine in a slave state is collecting parts for two AR builds and he’s doing it across state lines with cash. His first focus is on getting all the parts under the radar, not one item with a credit card or the internet. Truly a pair of SHTF guns.

    1. avatar arc - the annoying one. says:

      And he has someone like you blabbing all about it on the internet.

      The rifles may be off the books, but now there is a written record that states you know exactly who owns them.

    2. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

      You just blew his cover.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        Yeah, I gave out soooo much info there. Should be easy to figure out his address and phone number.

      2. avatar arc - the annoying one says:

        I said the same thing about him blabbing but my comment has been in mod jail since this morning.

        @GS650G, it’s not a matter of your friends address. If TTAG ever gets a NSA letter or something similar for a list of user IPs, the ATF may come asking about you about your friend. An ISP will hand over customer information without hesitation in order to save their own skin / licensing.

  15. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Your still speaking as if they want compliance.
    Have you not figured it out yet? They’ve zero interest in compliance.

  16. avatar sound awake says:

    “classifying weapons WITH STABILIZING BRACES”
    (disclaimer: im NOT taking the atfs side here or caving in to them or anything of the sort-im just living in 2020 and so im a staunch realist and pretty much resigned to the fact that the beatings will continue until morale improves)
    so does this mean that if we just take the brace off and replace it with some foam padding on the length of the buffer tube and then cap the end with a tennis or racquet ball or some similar piece of shock absorbing material we can then have whatever caliber and weight we want and a forward grip and a 1-6x scope and a light and a laser and a sling and 45 degree sights

    1. avatar Nope. says:

      You’re not a “realist” You came up with a lazy excuse of justifying your cowardice with “da times”

      You’re a prime example of why we can’t have nice things.

  17. avatar Nope. says:

    Vagueness doctrine

    Definition

    1) A constitutional rule that requires criminal laws to state explicitly and definitely what conduct is punishable.  Criminal laws that violate this requirement are said to be void for vagueness.  Vagueness doctrine rests on the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.  By requiring fair notice of what is punishable and what is not, vagueness doctrine also helps prevent arbitrary enforcement of the laws.

    2) Under vagueness doctrine, a statute is also void for vagueness if a legislature’s delegation of authority to judges and/or administrators is so extensive that it would lead to arbitrary prosecutions.

    Illustrative case law

    See, e.g. Skilling v. United States, 130 S.Ct. 2896 (2010).

  18. avatar Alternator says:

    People on this site prove that “gun people” are incapable of even conversing, let alone doing anything productive together. For THAT reason, we’re screwed. The end.

    1. avatar This guy lies ^^^^^^^ says:

      Glad you feel that way….. NOW GTFO!!!!!!!
      We don’t need any pu$sies in this movement and you are obviously not only a pu$$y…. but a festering, stinking DEBBIE W. grade pu$$y…..
      Speak for yourself….. we are ready….. and we are waiting….. c’mon MAN!!!!!!

  19. avatar Markd says:

    SO lets talk caliber, Magnum research makes the BFR in the following .30/30 WIN., .444 Marlin, .450 Marlin, .45LC/.410, .45/70 Gov’t., .460 S&W, .500 S&W. These are “REVOLVERS” with weights 4.5 lbs., 4.7 lbs., 5 lbs., 5.3 lbs.
    SO to the ATF these are clearly defined pistols and no one is challenging these as SBR’s!!!!!!! So all the ATF is doing is a gun grab, nothing more, nothing less!!!!!!!

  20. avatar The real SANTA says:

    Unfortunately it’s becoming clear that this ATF action might be a real comment period, but I can assure you, they will not be taking your comments seriously…. they have already decided their course of action….
    I think they are attempting to make lists….. lists that by law they ARE NOT allowed to make….
    Be careful and know that when you submit your info to the ATF it’s going to be used nefariously in the not so distant future….
    This might sound like tin foil hat conspiracies, but look at all the commenters here trying to persuade everyone to comment..
    They are making a list and checking it twice……. and they ain’t Santa claus…

    1. avatar possum says:

      Makes you wonder. Farago gunmshied me with all the “Where you hide your gunms”, stuff and the join the NRA gunm insurance thing. I’m still bitchin about that, gunm insurance, gotta have it sht. The powers that be get gunm insurance as a requirement to own a firearm, whew, thatd be somthing.

  21. avatar possum says:

    What does gunms have to do with booze, blombs and smokes? Besides a fun party

  22. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    This whole pistol brace thing would concern me, but the disingenuous nature of the whole ‘controversy’ just makes me roll my eyes. The 2A community created pistol braces as a way to circumvent SBR status. The only time you ever see someone using it as a brace is to show that it’s a totally-legal-without-a-tax-stamp ‘pistol brace’ before promptly shouldering it. When you stand right up against the legal line and say, “DURRRR LOOK HOW CLEVER I AM!!!!”, you lose the right to complain. Pistol braces are the ‘I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!’ of 2A legal battles.

  23. My comment probably will have no effect, but who knows?

    The notice uses the term “objective factors” many time throughout, but you also say, “No single factor or combination of factors is necessarily dispositive, and FATD examines each weapon holistically on a case-by-case basis.” This means that you will not use those “objective factors” objectively, but rather subjectively. This is unacceptable. Regulations MUST be written so that a reasonably intelligent and knowledgeable person can read them and understand them well enough to determine whether he is or is not in compliance. Subjective evaluation is also subject to change over time, meaning that what was compliant yesterday may be noncompliant tomorrow. In addition to defining objective factors you must also define an objective process of using those factors in your determinations.

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