UPDATED: The ATF is about to learn who makes the rules in this country. Spoiler alert: it isn’t them. Fortunately for law-abiding citizens, we still have representatives fighting for us. In this case, Representative Andrew Clyde has plans to shut down the new pistol stabilizing brace rule from the ATF. Utilizing the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Rep. Clyde plans to introduce a resolution to override the unconstitutional new ruling.
ATF Pistol Stabilizing Brace Rule Under Fire
Soon after the ATF overstepped its bounds, Representative Clyde took to Twitter to announce action against the new rule. Specifically, he plans to reintroduce the Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today Act (SHORT Act). This would repeal elements of the National Firearms Act, which would, in turn, prohibit the ATF from registering and banning pistols with stabilizing braces.
Likewise, he plans to introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to override the new ATF rule.
According to the Brookings Institute, the Congressional Review Act creates a streamlined procedure by which Congress can disapprove and nullify regulations promulgated by various federal government agencies.
Likewise, the Congressional Review Act requires all rules to be reported to Congress. Congress then has 60 legislative working days to introduce a special joint resolution of disapproval of the rule. The resolution can then be discharged from the committee and avoid the Senate’s filibuster.
Similarly, the U.S. Government Accountability Office states that the Congressional Review Act allows Congress to review “major” rules issued by federal agencies before they take effect. Congress can also disapprove of the new rules. As a result, the new rules have no force or effect.
In other words, the ATF can pound sand. It does not make the rules in this country; the elected legislative branch makes the rules.
ATF in the Crosshairs
The ATF really kicked the hornet’s nest with this one. It seems that its decision to institute this unconstitutional rule has garnered a lot of negative attention for the organization. Aside from the pistol stabilizing brace rule being targeted by the CRA, there is also new legislation proposed to abolish the agency.
Representative Matt Gaetz introduced legislation this week titled Abolish the ATF Act. And it is quite clear what it aims to do. Gaetz filed the legislation in response to the new ATF rule on stabilizing braces.
In a press release following the ATF announcement, Gaetz states, “House Republicans have the ATF in our crosshairs. The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on their repeated actions to convert law-abiding citizens into felons. They must be stopped. My bill today would abolish the ATF once and for all.”
As if that weren’t enough of a message, Gaetz told Fox News, “My bill would abolish the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to try defunding the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to target the individual bureaucrats at the top of the ATF who have exceeded their authority in rulemaking. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to take a meat cleaver to the statutes that the ATF believes broadly authorize their actions.”
Things aren’t looking so good for the ATF at the moment. And it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving organization.
On January 15, 2023, Tactical Life reported:
UPDATED: Well the ATF finally did it. The agency released its Final Rule on the Pistol Stabilizing Brace, putting all previously legal gun owners of AR- and AK-style pistols using the device in serious peril of becoming felons.
ATF Pistol Stabilizing Brace Final Rule Released
The convoluted and confusing 293-page document becomes yet another bit of ATF guidance that proves difficult to understand. It appears the rule attempts to prevent anyone from using a pistol stabilizing device to fire from the shoulder. The rule stipulates it will “not affect ‘stabilizing braces’ that are objectively designed as a ‘stabilizing brace’ for use by individuals with disabilities, and not for shouldering the weapon as a rifle.”
For everyone else, the Rule says “Any weapons with ‘stabilizing braces’ or similar attachments that constitute rifles under the NFA must be registered no later than 120 days after date of publication in the Federal Register; or the short barrel removed and a 16-inch or longer rifle barrel attached to the firearm; or permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the ‘stabilizing brace’ such that it cannot be reached…”
This one will most likely play out further in court, much like bump stocks. This is a developing story, so stay tuned for more updates.
ATF Goes After Pistol Stabilizing Braces
On Dec. 21, 2020, Tactical Life’s Will Dabbs reported:
PSB—Fallout. Nope, that’s not the title of the latest first-person shooter video game; it’s the ominous dark cloud you see building on the horizon. PSBs (Pistol Stabilizing Brace) are an entire world that seems about to change fundamentally thanks to the ATF.
Alex Boscoe’s PSB altered most everything about the American gun scene. Boscoe originally developed this delightful device to allow disabled shooters to run rifle-caliber pistols safely one-handed. However, there have been rumblings for literally years now that the ATF was trying to exert more control over PSB-equipped firearms. Now, with the pending arrival of a liberal Presidential administration, things have reached critical mass.
Fallout From the ATF Pistol Stabilizing Brace Guidance
A recent announcement of proposed rule making portends significant new restrictions on PSB-equipped weapons. These proposed rules also imply that there will be an amnesty of sorts. Presumably this would allow owners of PSB-equipped firearms to register their guns as short-barreled rifles (SBRs) easily and without payment of the $200 tax. If this is indeed the case, much will change about gun ownership in America. I’m no psychic, but here are a few of the changes I could see coming as a result.
1. Goodbye PSB-Specific Companies
If PSB-equipped guns are indeed reclassified as SBRs, then companies making PSBs will implode. SB Tactical is one of my favorite gun companies. It changed the paradigm of American gun ownership by successfully challenging the status quo. I love those guys. However, if PSB-equipped guns suddenly and administratively become SBRs, then SB Tactical’s market is irrevocably gone overnight.
There is a precedent. I’m old enough to remember when this happened to machine gun manufacturers in 1986. On May 19, they were engaged in a legally, albeit heavily, regulated business. The next day, everything they produced was untouchable by normal American citizens.
Don’t expect Uncle Sam to care about those who lose their livelihoods because of any new regulations. He won’t. These are gun guys, not violent social justice protestors. There won’t be any verklempt celebrities weeping on national TV over their sordid plight.
2. Flooding the SBR Market
If this is indeed an amnesty allowing us to register guns as SBRs tax-free, then we will have some hard decisions to make. I own several PSBs myself. It will be tempting to sign up all those AKs and AR receivers as SBRs. It would admittedly be great fun to replace my PSBs with real-live buttstocks. However, that would absolutely flood the market with SBRs.
If that’s the case, the resale potential for those guns drops to nothing. If everybody and their grandmother suddenly has amnesty registered SBRs, then nobody is going to be willing to pay $200 to transfer one. The decision to be made will be whether to register the gun or just remove the PSB and run it as a conventional old school big-boned pistol.
3. Wait Time Increase
Current estimations have around four million PSBs in circulation. As of 2017, there were 5,203,489 firearms listed in the National Firearms Registry and Transfer Record (NFRTR). A sweeping SBR amnesty could easily bump the number of guns in the registry by 50 percent. All those new American gun owners added to a spooky government database should put a smile on Kamala Harris’ face.
The current wait time for processing a Form 4 (the ATF form used to transfer an NFA item to an individual) is seven months, as per the ATF website. One Form 4 I did a while back took a full year. Dumping another couple million guns into the NFRTR won’t do much to speed that up.
The ATF folks in Martinsburg really are working their butts off to process these things. They moved 2.6 million forms in 2016; that’s 9,731 forms each and every work day. Now we propose to add another several million guns to the registry. I don’t envy them.
This has been done before. In 1994 the ATF reclassified the USAS-12, Striker-12, and Streetsweeper shotguns as Destructive Devices under the NFA. I guess just because they looked scary. This seems awfully silly in light of the subsequent Saiga shotgun. Regardless, there was a tax-free amnesty covering these three models that ran from 1994 until 2001. During that time, Americans registered some 8,200 guns. A potential PSB amnesty, however, would be on an altogether different scale.
The Internet is awash with conspiracy theories. The most prevalent seems to be that the ATF has been planning this crackdown for years awaiting the advent of a suitably liberal president and his administration. Perhaps that is the case. However, the possibility of an SBR amnesty—despite the unconstitutional nature of the parent law—seems to me to be a fairly compassionate way to go about it.
There’s another angle at play here, though. The skeptic will appreciate that this move does potentially bring millions of guns and, more importantly, gun owners into a registration scheme that involves demographic data, fingerprints, and photos. There will be inevitable concerns about this sweeping registration being used as a stepping stone to gun confiscation.
I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist myself. I used to work for the government. The government I worked for wasn’t competent enough to manage a proper sweeping conspiracy without botching it up. However, this is not 1994.
Final Thoughts on the ATF and Pistol Stabilizing Brace
We put-upon American gun guys grumbled at the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. However, unlike 1994 there are nearly 400 million firearms in circulation in America today; 20-30 million of those are “scary” black guns. There are 20 times as many guns in America as there are soldiers serving in every nation on the planet combined. I wouldn’t want to be the guy who tried to force American gun owners to give up their firearms.