ATF agents
(AP Photo/David Goldman)
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By Lee Williams

According to an exclusive story published by AmmoLand News, the ATF is about to force millions of gun owners to register their pistol braces as short-barreled rifles, which will then be regulated by the National Firearms Act.

To be clear, this is exactly the type of jack-booted thuggery we’ve come to expect from a morally bankrupt federal agency, which has outlived its usefulness.

According to the Ammoland story, the ATF calls their monumentally stupid idea an “amnesty,” because they won’t charge the normal $200 fee for an NFA tax stamp.

Wow. How magnanimous.

Of course, ATF’s new rule negates and invalidates all of their previous opinion letters, which told us it was perfectly fine and absolutely legal to install a pistol brace on our guns.

In other words, they told us we wouldn’t have to worry about politically motivated enforcement actions like this if we bought a brace, and an estimated four million people did.

Then, after Joe Biden declared war on guns, the ATF changed its mind, bent over, and four million law-abiding folks are about to pay a steep price.

What does this have to do with reducing the skyrocketing violent crime rates plaguing Democrat-run cities across the country? Absolutely nothing. This is just another way for the Biden-Harris administration to screw over legal gun owners.

Pistol arm stabilizing brace
(Travis Pike For TTAG)

In fact, this won’t impact criminals at all. It won’t even slow them down. Do you think Joe or Kamala actually believe criminals will register their braced pistols? Of course they won’t.

Once Biden shuffles off into history, I hope his replacement takes a hard look at the utility of the ATF, because I certainly don’t see any. They have yet to focus on getting guns out of the hands of criminals, because they’re solely focused on persecuting the law abiding.

This plan could turn millions of gun owners into felons overnight. There’s a word for a law or rule that instantly criminalizes the law abiding: tyranny. And tyranny is what we’ve come to expect from the ATF.


Lee Williams publishes at The Gun Writer. This post originally appeared there and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. ah yes how magnanimous of them. So no all the legal pistol owner wil have to file out forms, get fingerprinted, submit photos of themselves and their guns. They will then after being approved to keep a gun they already legally bought and have have to spend time and money to have there gun engraved and refinished with their name and city on it driving the resale value and the amount of people interested in buying it down.
    ATF and the NFA need to go

    • Finally someone in the US Congress stepped up to the plate and defined Gun Control for what appears to be a lot of empty seats. And where was the follow up from so called Gun Rights mouthpieces like tom grisham when the Truth About Gun Control was exposed back in June? Apparently Nowhere. It took a woman guest host on Bongino to play the speech and if not for that I would never have heard it and you probably would not have either.

    • “…have to spend time and money to have there gun engraved and refinished with their name and city on it driving the resale value and the amount of people interested in buying it down.”

      The same way that really destroyed the resale value of machine guns?

      • No connection-machine gun values were driven up by artificial scarcity post Hughes amendment. No one cares who’s name is engraved on the receiver when the total number available is fixed while demand increases over time.

        • “did you attend Oxford?”

          Looking to sink your meat hooks into an Oxford-educated man, Deborah? 🙂

        • I was taught all through my school years to use what’s being described as the “Oxford comma” format. My eye twitches when I read text from authors who don’t employ it. I simply know it as the correct way.

          Mrs. Haz was born from a family line of country bumpkins who speak in a mangled gibberish (think “Midwest redneck”) dialect, and frequently referred to me as a “grammar Nawtzee”. She says I rescued her from that fate.

          FWIW, both my eyes twitch whenever I hear people using the growing misuse of singular for plural subjects. For example: “There’s three of them in the drawer.”

          No. There are three of them in the drawer.

        • alien,

          Nah, a retired Army Ranger buddy of mine (who has a high school diploma, and is a more grammatical writer, and better speller, than I am, by far). I jokingly called him a “grammar Nazi” once – he gave me a haughty look, sniffed, and said, “I prefer ‘alt write’.”

      • Blkojo…Tired meant mic drop which was a nice compliment that I mistaking ran over and later posted an explanation for my blunder.

  2. I never saw where they WERE useful……….but when they got weaponized be the dems, yeah it’s time to defund, disband, whatever!!

    • When this nonsense rule was initially announced, I bought pistol buffer tubes (no adjustment notches) for my AR pistols, and a couple SB Mini braces since the rule included an example where that configuration did not gain enough bogus-points to qualify as an SBR. After using it some, I actually found myself liking the SB Mini as a brace more than the SBA3 I had before – without all the adjustment stuff in the way there’s more room for the cuff to fit over my arm securely.

      Point is, there are options other than hide it away, depending on your configuration and until the ATF ignores the EPA decision to change the rules again. Doesn’t mean everything will work anymore – I’ve got an FS1913A brace for another firearm which I just can’t make work within the rule – but it’s not that dire yet either.

    • “Tough luck for those states that prohibit SBR’s.”

      Open your wallet and help finance legal challenges to get SBRs eliminated from the NFA.

      ‘Bruen’ blows the doors open for challenges like that…

  3. I agree that the ATF has outlived its usefulness. I also agree that this is thuggery. But none of this comes as any surprise. It’s been discussed for years.

    • do we really need an agency whose primary thrust is chasing guns?..the laws are on the books and any federal Law Enforcement agency can enforce them…they’r a redundant agency….

  4. Yeah, when is the Federal Government going to surrender a tax. Any tax. That’s what they want. If it’s tax they can spend before they have the money. I went to th we grocery store and a gas pump today.

    • From 1898 to 2006 there was a tax for the Spanish American War for telephone use. I wonder if that War was actually paid for after all those years of collecting tax.

    • Gadsden,

      Not that I’m a big fan, but the Beatles nailed that one:

      “Let me tell you how it will be
      There’s one for you, nin’teen for me . . .

      Should five percent appear too small
      Be thankful I don’t take it all . . .

      If you drive a car-car I’ll tax the street
      If you try to sit-sit I’ll tax your seat
      If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
      If you take a walk I’ll tax your feet”

      Death and taxes. And death taxes.

  5. 4 million sure seems like “Common use” to me. Seems ripe for an expedited challenge to the court and an injunction on enforcement.

    • “…expedited challenge to the court and an injunction on enforcement.”

      Damn straight it does! 🙂

  6. How can the ATF “outlive” something it never had???? There was never any Constitutional basis for the ATF or its jurisdiction. Other than murdering innocent children (Waco, Ruby Ridge) and killing thousands of dogs, WTF has the ATF EVER done that any rational person could consider “useful”???? Our original government consisted of the following “agencies” – Departments of War, State, Navy, and Treasury. There was also an Office of the Attorney General. We later added a “Department of Justice (why??? WTF was the Attorney General for????), and Post Office (surprised it took so long, as this was expressly delegated to Congress in the Constitution.

    Everything since then has been bureaucratic “mission creep”. Eliminate ALL agencies except those, reduce the size of those, and repeal the 16th Amendment, and let’s go back to being a Constitutional limited republic, like our Founders intended.

  7. If a pistol brace is sold as an accessory, and does not come as part of the firearm when it is purchased …

    How is the ATF going to know who owns them?

    Same goes for a bump stock.

    • They’ll threaten like they always do and a number of people will get them registered because they’re scared they’ll go to prison.
      Bump stocks were a bit different as they went directly to the manufacturer. They also didn’t want them registered as it broke their whole “machine gun” edict. There’s bump stocks still around though.
      The whole trigger thing is a set up I believe also. The ATF sold some of those and they knew who to go after. Braces will be a bit harder.

    • They violate your 4th amendment rights by checking with the various companies you bought them from who are intimiidated into turning over that information.

      • So, theoretically speaking, of course …

        Could I purchase a pistol brace (by itself) with cash at a gun store, and the ATF would be none the wiser?

        I’ve found myself consumed with the thought of owning a pistol brace — I don’t really want one or need one, and it doesn’t even need to fit any firearm that I own. I’m just thinking that I should get one because it may soon be forbidden. All theoretically speaking, of course.

        Does that make me a bad person? Would the Crystals sing a song about me? Would the preacher’s daughter suddenly find me interesting?

  8. Amnesty for what? Something I bought that is legal?
    Sorry, not filling out any form, surrendering it or sending in fingerprints/photo.
    Who says I still have it anyways? Ohio law doesn’t doesn’t mandate records for private firearm sales. Go fish.

    • If they tell you they know you own it, they have violated your 4th amendment rights to privacy. They should not know you have a firearm with a brace. Period.

  9. Hmm. While I seriously disapprove of the entire “short-barreled rifle” thing (and associated $200 tax stamp and wait time), this is seriously tempting me to submit registration for an AR-15 receiver as a “short barreled” rifle if I get immediate approval and ATF waives the $200 tax stamp.

    The only question is whether or not this is a ruse for a double-cross where ATF would end up prosecuting me for illegal possession of a “short-barreled rifle”.

    • Ummm yeah after Slow Joe essentially declares war on all us folks who love gats & America. And vote R. Didja ever think our country could get so effed up??? A whole lot of folks don’t appreciate having rights taken away! Bought more green-tip today. More or less armor piercing🙄-so I’ve heard tell.

      • dprato,

        I have a concealed carry license and have purchased several firearms at FFLs which required that I fill-out an ATF from 4473.

        And I have searched for ammunition and firearm related components on search engines.

        I guarantee you that fedzilla knows who I am and that I own firearms. They may not know exactly how many or which ones–but they do know that I own firearms.

    • “The only question is whether or not this is a ruse for a double-cross where ATF would end up prosecuting me for illegal possession of a “short-barreled rifle”.”

      Once the stamp is approved, they can’t say much about it.

      What I would do is, disassemble the weapon, stash the parts off-site, then apply for the form 1 (?). Once the paperwork arrives, reassemble…

      • If the brace itself is plastic, just bury it somewhere, metal detectors can’t ‘see’ plastic…

      • You assume that they intend to approve the stamp. I wouldn’t grant that assumption until they do it because, historically… well, .gov lies about this sorta thing.

        I’d point you back to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 for an example of how government really works when it wants to fuck you.

        .gov told farmers that the new rules meant you had to provide a sample of the plants you were growing in order to get the “tax stamp” (why does this term sound familiar?) so that you could continue legally growing. Law abiding farmers bought this bullshit hook, line and sinker.

        When someone showed up with a sample to get the stamp they were in possession without a stamp and were immediately arrested. When the papers tried to publish this fact it was suppressed to keep the ruse going.

        This only stopped because in 1941 something happened that all of a sudden required loads of rope to be made for some sort of “war effort” so the Act was rescinded. I dunno exactly what that was, I don’t bother with “reading” because that’s for losers, nerds and dorks.

        Today, in the area I grew up in this has led to another scam. It’s a poor area where local (and sometimes the State) cops let ditchweed grow along the railroad tracks where the plants have been growing for 80 years. Then, every few years, the cops go out and pull out a bunch of those plants, mass the entire thing including the dirt and then claim all of it as high-grade marijuana. Boom, DEA grants for “drug busts” flow into the cop-shop.

        They’re so open about this that every few years the local paper would run an image of some fat-fuck proudly showing you a plant a foot tall with a huge dirt covered rootball complete with a caption about how “thousands of dollars of marijuana” was off the streets (Thank God! We call could have been killed! Without these brave cops fighting against these evil plants Little Shop of Horrors style!).

        Now, you’d think that taxpayers would be ticked but instead they just shrug, the same way they have for decades.

        Y’all got that government well trained. It knows it can do whatever the fuck it wants and you’ll clap like trained seals. If you don’t, well, they just ignore you anyway. Whatcha gonna do? Vote for change? ROFLMAO!

        Nah, Mitch is gonna snort another heater and do nothing, as he has his entire career.

  10. I have an idea guys. If they’re giving you amnesty on it that means we each need to 3D print out like 10 of these. May as well make almost ANYTHING an SBR.

    Also, there is no reason to send them a pic of your actual SBR; Such a thing could be used against you (think 922R) so I don’t think that would fly.

  11. What about the other part of their name? Are they busting moonshiners still? Or smuggled tobacco or is Customs doing it?

    Seems like they should be renamed to just ‘create a job firearms hall monitor’ ….or something.

  12. My advice to anyone in this situation is to never allow them into your house without a warrant and refuse to answer ANY questions they ask you. If they insinuate that you have these braces then ask them how they determined that you do or do not. If they indicate they have a record of your purchase that is a violation of your 4th amendment rights and they are breaking the law. Remind them they took an oath to uphold the Constitution and they have already broken their oath. Under no circumstances should you cooperate with them as long as anything you bought was legal at the time you bought it. They are nothing but the current Gestapo and they expect you to obey their rule changes which are not valid laws. Better decide now whether you wish to live free or be enslaved,

    • @dprato

      “If they insinuate that you have these braces then ask them how they determined that you do or do not. If they indicate they have a record of your purchase that is a violation of your 4th amendment rights and they are breaking the law. Remind them they took an oath to uphold the Constitution and they have already broken their oath.”

      No, don’t do that.

      If they do not have a warrant, tell them to leave and that’s it.

      If you start asking questions or talking to them it could imply to them (in their minds) that you did what they accuse and they could consider it probable cause to ‘act’ then even though it isn’t because it shows you have a ‘knowledge’ (no matter where you got that ‘knowledge’ from). If you start talking to them it gives them justification to remain because you ‘invited’ by ‘conversation’.

      If its private property, do not even confirm their identity of you – e.g. ATF: “Are you Joe Smith?” – You: “do you have a warrant.” and if no warrant then You: “this is private property, leave immediately.” and that’s it. Then you may need to call the police via 911 because the ATF has a tendency to hang around unlawfully trespassing after being told to leave.

      If you call the police via 911 define that “I have armed people unlawfully trespassing on my property saying they are law enforcement, they do not have a warrant, thus are not acting like law enforcement. I fear for the lives and safety of (my family and myself – if family home, or ‘I fear for my life and safety’ if you are the only one there). I am prepared to act in defense and need police immediately.” (do not mention a firearm). If 911 asks you what happened or what they are doing tell them the same thing again.

      The only time you are obligated to comply to confirm your identity to law enforcement without a warrant is if you are on public property.

      law enforcement has no more right to enter or remain on private property without invitation, or warrant, or ‘hot pursuit, then the general public has and the general public has no ‘right’ to enter private property unless invited. Their status as ‘law enforcement’ without a warrant does not remove the legal responsibility for them to follow your rules while they are on your private property just like you can decide for the general public.

      • Various courts have ruled that law enforcement entering private property without warrant, or invitation, or in ‘hot pursuit’ are in fact conducting an unconstitutional and illegal search the second they entered that private property.

        When law enforcement enters private property without warrant, or invitation, or ‘hot pursuit’, they are in fact not acting like lawful law enforcement but instead are committing an illegal act.

        • “are committing an illegal act” … to add to that: “if they do not have other valid exigent circumstances.”

  13. No one ever abolishes any federal agency. They are created and stay forever. Would be nice but it never happens. I used to work for a member of Congress. He was allegedly one of the good guys but ultimately he was there to better himself, like everyone else.

    America is not represented, it is ruled over.

  14. But then who would shoot pet dogs?
    SWAT teams are too busy being used by trolls and flashbanging baby cribs at wrong addresses and the FBI is too busy hosting kiddy porn servers and grooming mental patients to commit crimes. To fold shooting pets into these other agencies is simply asking too much.

  15. I don’t know about all of you but I actually like to shoot my shit and living in the city “Unfortunately” I have to go to public ranges. So what’s a guys to do. Fucking sucks.

  16. Think of yourself as a good German Jew, they only want you to register with the government like a proper subject. What could possibly go wrong?

  17. Already registered my BRACE when purchased. Visiting Texas, but too short of “whip out” to get a belt with holsters made that will fit them. They are really short barrels… Seven Inches! Zounds!

    They are a Brace of Schofields.

    Yeah, I know…FUDD.

  18. Who cares about the F part , it’s what the AFT is dong about all that illegal moonshine being made. Why do you think the Iris hired 87,000 revenuer’s. It’s going to get real shitty real fast, right around November I betcha.

  19. The ATF today is history repeating its self

    The ATF has a history of using ‘criminal thug’ and ‘unconstitutional rules’ means in efforts to generate ‘firearm’ cases.

    In the late 1970’s and 1980’s Congressional committees; Using evidence from citizens who had been wrongfully persecuted and charged by ATF with crimes they did not commit based upon ATF tactics and rules purposely created to apply only to the law abiding, and numerous experts, and with whistle blowers from the ATF, a Senate subcommittee report stated, “Based upon these hearings it is apparent that ATF enforcement tactics made possible by current federal firearms laws are constitutionally, legally, and practically reprehensible.”

    The Subcommittees at that time, received evidence that ATF primarily devoted its firearms enforcement efforts to the apprehension, upon technical malum prohibitum charges, of individuals who lack all criminal intent and knowledge. Evidence received demonstrated that ATF agents tended to concentrate upon collector’s items, and possession by law abiding people, rather than “criminal street guns”.

    In those times hearings before the ATF’s Appropriations Subcommittee, testimony was submitted estimating that 75 percent of ATF gun prosecutions were aimed at ordinary citizens with no criminal intent and were law abiding citizens. The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 addressed some of the abuses noted in the 1982 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee report.

    Last year, 2021, to date, over 90% of ATF activity has been focused on harassing and intimidating law abiding gun owners by the ATF use of unconstitutional illegally created and possessed gun registry information with no probable cause or warrant, conducting FFL inspection and during inspection unlawfully creating gun registry’s from the FFL’s records and for the slightest minor error revoking FFL license (one FFL had his license threatened to be revoked because a single lower case letter ‘a’ in a name looked like an ‘o’ to the ATF inspector), and the ATF use of unconstitutionally creating ‘ex post facto’ law by ‘rule making’ and such ‘rule making’ was never authorized by congress.

    The ATF today is a hostile, violent, rogue agency that pretends they are ‘law enforcement’ but uses ‘regulatory’ powers they were never granted by congress to create largely unconstitutional ‘law’ in the form of ‘rules and prohibitions’ by use of ‘presidential executive order justification’ they then enforce mainly against law abiding Americans for wrongful persecution and prosecution by use of what is essentially unconstitutional ‘ex post facto’ law the ATF created by their own unauthorized unconstitutional ‘rule’ making. The ATF is the only ‘law enforcement’ agency in the United States that is allowed (so far) to get away with creating their own law and ignoring all constitutional protections of citizens. This was never envisioned by the founders and was never constitutional, in fact it is the very tyranny that the constitution is suppose to protect against happening and that against which we fought the ‘revolutionary war’. Essentially Biden, by executive order, is using the ATF as his own private ‘legislative branch’ far left wing violent hostile army against the American people.

    It will not be long before law abiding gun owners in genuine fear of their lives will be shooting, in justifiable valid legal defense, ATF agents showing up at their homes without warrants and trespassing on private property and ignoring constitutional and legal rights. The ATF has already shown up armed in force, with those agents hands on their firearms, attempting to enter or coerce entry without warrant. Its not if there will be a fire fight or shooting, its just a matter of time.

  20. “The ATF is the only ‘law enforcement’ agency in the United States that is allowed (so far) to get away with creating their own law and ignoring all constitutional protections of citizens. ”

    I disagree. The EPA, since its establishment as an executive agency similar to the ATF, has also outrageously abused the power unconscionably and unconstitutionally bestowed upon it by congress.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find similar stories with every single executive agency.

    • @PK

      “I disagree. The EPA, since its establishment as an executive agency similar to the ATF, has also outrageously abused the power unconscionably and unconstitutionally bestowed upon it by congress.”

      Not correct in context with the ATF.

      The difference is that the ATF is a law enforcement AND regulatory agency where the EPA is a regulatory agency and not a law enforcement agency.

      Thus, like I said …

      “The ATF is the only ‘law enforcement’ agency in the United States that is allowed (so far) to get away with creating their own law and ignoring all constitutional protections of citizens.”

  21. HUMM… I wonder if the ATF has ever heard of Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution – which dictates to the government that ONLY the Congress can make laws? So, any “law” that the ATF makes is unconstitutional and thereby void. Furthermore, Article I, Section 9 dictates that ‘NO… ex post facto Law shall be passed.’, so even if Congress did enact a law requiring Americans to pay a tax/fee for something that Americans have previously owned and/or then would face criminal consequences if they refused to pay, that would without any doubt an “ex post facto Law”.

  22. The Biden EPA intends on regulating exhalation gases. All exhalers will be required to wear exhalation mask with VK 450 filters. If you are no longer an exhaler you will need to submit proof of that to receive a wavier of the proposed rule.

  23. I’d wait until an actual “rule” drops before doing anything. From the limited info we currently have it sounds like at this point ATF is going to demand that braced pistols be registered, not unbraced ones. Being an accessory of convenience for most people, if push comes to shove I’d simply remove it and if ever asked tell them to pound sand and die mad.

  24. When, if ever we regain control of the bat bastard White House and Senate the folks (our employees) we elect need to clean house. All lettered Agencies FBI,CIA,NSA,BATF, etc need to be permently abolished ! Then only one law enforcement agency with absolutely non partisan employees ! Also no more Departments of anything controlled by the Feds. Turn those back to the States where they belong

  25. My advice to all who own those pistols with a brace or anything else you bought legally that they are now trying to have you register is simply to invoke your 4th amendment rights to privacy because they should not have that information in the first place. Second, it is best to create an administrative nightmare for them. Don’t respond to letters, demand to see a warrant if they come to your house, never let them in your house, get their name and badge number and tell them you will have your attorney contact them in regard to violating your 4th amendment rights and they can expect to be taken to court, and generally don’t give them any information or sign anything they might want to talk you into doing. In short, no warrant, please leave the property. You do not have to talk to them. Don’t even acknowledge you own the items. Silence.

  26. This agency should have never existed. It’s illegal. It’s activity is illegal. Anybody sitting in a jury on a case instigated by the ATF should nullify any charges that are strictly based on ATFs interpretation of anti-secobd amendment laws.


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