Proposed Change to Definition of AR-15 Pistol Equipped with Stabilizing Brace
From the article, Biden Admin’s Proposed Gun Rule Would Turn Millions Into Felons | The Reload:
A legal cloud descended over many American gun owners on Monday.
A new rule proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) at the request of President Joe Biden would make most firearms with stabilizing pistol braces illegal. Owners would have to register, turn in, or disassemble the guns to avoid federal felony charges. One government estimate found as many as 40 million guns could be affected.
“It will be the largest gun registration, destruction, and confiscation scheme in American history,” Alex Bosco, who invented the stabilizing brace and founded the biggest manufacturer of them, told The Reload.
Click on the article link above to read the full article – it is worth taking the time to read it.
There have been two versions of the ATF’s plan posted at the Federal Register. The button to submit comments on most recent version officially released for comment on June 10, 2021 is on the page at this link: Federal Register :: Factoring Criteria for Firearms With Attached “Stabilizing Braces”. To see links to both versions, search Federal Register for the term ‘Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces”’ (or click this link).
Elements of the ATF Proposal
ATF is proposing to amend the definition of “rifle” in 27 CFR 478.11 and 479.11, respectively, by adding a sentence at the end of each definition. The new sentence would clarify that the term “rifle” includes any weapon with a rifled barrel and equipped with an attached “stabilizing brace” that has objective design features and characteristics that indicate that the firearm is designed to be fired from the shoulder.
The ATF would use a new form, proposed ATF Worksheet 4999 (shown below), to evaluate brace-equipped pistols to determine whether to classify a firearm as a braced pistol or as a rifle. The Federal Register entry includes a draft version of the new form shown here. The form assigns each of the characteristics a point value from zero to four. Any example firearm with a total point value of four or more is classified as a “shoulder-fired design” for the purposes of determining whether to treat it as a pistol with brace or a short-barreled rifle, and the owner would then get ownership approved using a Form 4 (same as for automatic weapons, silencers, and actual short-barreled rifles).
Several individual characteristics automatically classify an example firearm as having a “shoulder-fired design”:
- “Cuff-type” design with the strap removed
- “Brace” accessory modified for shouldering
- Modified Shoulder Stock (originally a Shoulder Stock)
- Length of Pull with brace at most rearward locked position of 13.5″ and over
- Presence of a secondary grip (indicating two-handed fire)
- Presence of sight or scope with eye relief incompatible with one-handed fire (i.e., cannot see target through sight or scope with arm fully extended in one-handed shooting position)
- Weapon as configured weighing more than 120 ounces (7.5 pounds) with unloaded magazine
Several additional characteristics combine to also classify a braced pistol as a rifle.
Based on the worksheet, the ATF biased the formula for determining nearly all existing AR-style pistols with a brace as having a “shoulder-fired design” and which therefore must be registered, approved, and taxed.