I was thinking about this last night after my post about the new ATF arm brace rule.

There are millions of arm braces that were sold.  It was much more common than bump stocks ever were.

The Reload says the estimate at 10-40 million.


The ATF will not be able to process even a fraction of guns submitted on a Form 1 in anything close to the timeline they require.

But then there are other considerations.

There are many people who own braced pistols because they cannot own SBRs.

AR pistols are/were legal outside of Cook County (until this latest AWB).  Illinois dies not allow the possession of NFA items.

Upstate New York and California are the same.  It was possible to assemble a compliant pistol but not own an SBR.

Then there are counties where SBR possession might be legal by state law but the local Sheriff won’t sign the Form 1 paperwork.

Blue counties in Red states are notorious for this.

These individuals have no choice but to destroy their guns or hand them over to law enforcement.

There is the issue of interstate travel.  Most people, even some SBR owners, don’t know that to take an SBR out of state requires permission from the ATF on a Form 5320.20.

This is why I never did a Form 1.  I’ve moved four times in six years.  With an SBR I’d have to get ATF permission to do that.

And removing the brace isn’t enough.  The whole definition of a pistol has been changed.  In essence, if you own a pistol version of a rifle or sub machine gun, it’s an SBR by intent.


So your 11.5 inch AR pistols or CZ Scorpion or any other PDW style 9mm pistol now requires a Form 1.

Considering how many of those were sold in the last decade or more since the ATF let them be pistols, this is going to turn tens or possibly a hundred million guns into illegal SBRs.

The only good news here is that this has the potential to be so disruptive that if the court shot down the bump stock ban, it will have no choice to shoot this down too.

If anything, this decision might have given ammunition to the case for challenging the constitutionality of the SBR/SBS clause of the NFA (if not the whole NFA) by suddenly turning SBRs into guns in common use with a rule.

What I do know is that a blizzard of lawsuits need to be filed.

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By J. Kb

7 thoughts on “Bring on the lawsuits against the ATF”
  1. The ATF seems to really be pushing the “intent” thing recently – not only this, but also the recent rule changes re 80% / homebuilt firearms. (This is of a pattern with what they’ve been doing for a long time now re home built suppressors.)
    We need the lawsuits, and the courts really need to rein in this rogue agency. Of course, it’s not just the ATF … but that’s a different topic.

    1. Intent (IANAL warning in full effect here) cannot be determined by a government employee sitting in an office somewhere miles away from a gun owner.
      Intent requires a jury, or at a minimum arguments from both sides, and signficantly more information than can be collected by a form.
      Granted, intent can be assumed under the law. If a person is kicking in my front door, it is legally supportable to assume they intend to do me harm. But, a bureaucrat assuming intent is a suit waiting to happen.

  2. Legislative intent is an interesting aspect. As I understand it, the SBR provision of the NFA was meant to discourage people buying unrestricted rifles and cutting them down to concealable size, bypassing the (removed from the bill somewhere along the line) restrictions on handguns.
    Current interpretation is that adding a stock to a handgun, thereby making it less concealable, violates that provision. Kinda the opposite of what Congress had in mind.
    Revisiting Miller could get extra-fun, given that the current-issue infantry rifle is both a machine gun and an SBR, and the new one apparently has a suppressor as standard equipment….

  3. “What I do know is that a blizzard of lawsuits need to be filed.”

    Which, unfortunately, will be defended using our tax dollars.

  4. The point was made that this is “gun registration” because a firearm that formerly was legal to own now MUST be registered as an SBR, and atf said earlier they are legal and now changed thier mind..
    But on the other hand, you put a shoulder stock on a 1911 pistol it now is an sbr. These braces look like a stock, can be used as a stock, some are adjustable like “real” stocks so (in atf eyes) they ARE a stock and any “rifle” with a barrel shorter than 16 inches is a SBR. Therefore they should be registered as such or add 16 inch barrel or remove brace…

  5. I decided to attempt to take my legally built PCC 9mm pistol and make it compliant using the ATF Worksheet 4999. I removed the adjustable stabilizing brace and installed a plain buffer tube which has no provision for a brace to be attached to it. Now the pistol measures from the end of the 10.5″ barrel to the end of the buffer tube, 24.5″. The length of pull is 10″. I have 45-degree offset pop-up iron sights and a Trijicon 1x25mm MRO 2.0 MOA w/MRO 1/3 Co-witness Mount on the rail, as far back as possible on the rail. And I’m not sure after reading the “Peripheral Asscessories” section of the 4999 worksheets if this earns any points. There is one point earned for having “rifle-type back-up/flip-up sights or no sights, however. In the seven accessories listed I see nothing that penalizes me for just a 2.0 MOA red dot sight without magnification (although a reflex sight with FTS magnifier w/limited eye relief would earn one point)

    In section 2 I’m not sure which, if any, of the three conditions applies to this pistol—1: not based on a known shoulder stock design, 2: Incorporates shoulder stock design features, 3: Based on a known shoulder stock design. I am hoping by having a buffer tube which doesn’t allow for any attachments for shoulder supports, it would be number 1, and thus no points earned.

    In the fourth factor listed in ‘The Other Factors” section stated above in J.Kb’s posting of the ATF statement, it says, “whether the surface area that allows the weapon to be fired from the shoulder is created by a buffer tube, receiver extension, or any other accessory component, or other rearward attachment that is necessary for the cycle of operation”. Does this mean a buffer tube is considered a shoulder attachment? On the ATF 4999 form I’m assuming that in section 2 under Accessory Design, the second condition applies to my pistol i.e., incorporates shoulder stock design features, which earns one point, or is it the first or third condition? Not sure if my pistol earns one of two points in this section. If it earns two points, and I’m correct on my assumptions about my two sight systems, I’m ok…I think, I hope. Damn the language is unclear as to correct application to my situation.

    It comes down to a buffer tube and sights. I just need to know which way the ATF will categorize my pistol. The total weight is 100 ounces btw.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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