On Dec. 18, 2020, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued a notice that it’s currently evaluating pistols with an attached stabilizing brace to determine whether these should be subject to the National Firearms Act and/or the Gun Control Act. This could potentially lead to a gun owner having to register such a gun as an NFA firearm, remove the brace from the firearm and destroy it, surrender the firearm to the ATF, replace the barrel of the firearm (16 inches or greater for a rifle or 18 inches or greater for a shotgun), or destroy the firearm. Ouch.
This notice previews ATF’s and the Department of Justice’s plan to subsequently implement a separate process for current possessors of stabilizer-equipped firearms to choose to register such firearms in compliance with the NFA, including an expedited application process and the retroactive exemption of such firearms from the collection of NFA taxes.
The bureau has invited the public to leave a comment on the notice over a 14-day period (ending Jan. 4, 2021). This is your chance as a responsibly armed gun owner to speak up.
This can be done by these three methods:
- Online — Federal eRulemaking Portal
- Mail — Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Ave. NE, Mail Stop 6N-518, Washington, D.C. 20226, ATTN: ATF 2020R-10
- Fax — (202) 648-9741
It is important to ensure that you reference the document’s docket number (ATF 2020R-10) and include your first and last name. Your comments will not be considered if they are illegible or contain profanity. So make sure your writing is neat and legible (type it out if you have messy handwriting) and leave out profanity. Mailed or faxed comments must be postmarked on or before Jan. 4, 2021. Electronic comments need to be submitted on or before this date as well. The comments will be shared to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. We’ve included an example comment below for your convenience:
To Whom It May Concern,
I hereby express my opposition to the ban on stabilizing pistol braces as proposed in ATF docket “ATF 2020R-10.” The intended use of the device is to reduce felt recoil and stabilize the weapon during firing, especially for users with diminished limb strength. Accurate fire is, by definition, safer fire.
But the larger concern is with the lack of objective clarity regarding “defining features.” The document as written provides only general, amorphous terms regarding which features could move a fully legal pistol into a regulated firearm. This leaves the door open to case-by-case rulings, which are a slippery slope to increasingly repressive gun registration and seizure measures. Laws are not subjective. Neither is the Constitution of these United States.
Don’t put this off. It will be easy to forget about it with the hustle and bustle of the holidays over the next few weeks. Take a few moments and hammer it out before it slips your mind. It is the duty of every responsibly armed American to speak out when he or she feels gun regulations begin to tighten a notch. You ask what you can do to protect your gun rights? Well, here’s your chance to do something.