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Another Week, Another Executive Gun Control Action: BATFE Reverses Prior Position on Pistol "Stabilizing Braces"

Friday, January 16, 2015

Another Week, Another Executive Gun Control Action: BATFE Reverses Prior Position on Pistol "Stabilizing Braces"

Earlier today, BATFE released an Open Letter on the Redesign of “Stabilizing Braces.” This letter articulates BATFE’s official position on the use of pistol stabilizing braces like the Sig Sauer SB15. It concludes that “[a]ny person who intends to use a handgun stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock on a pistol (having a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length or a smooth bore firearm with a barrel under 18 inches in length) must first file an ATF Form 1 and pay the applicable tax because the resulting firearm will be subject to all provisions of the NFA.”

According to the letter, BATFE finds that “[b]ecause the NFA defines both rifle and shotgun to include any “weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder,” any person who redesigns a stabilizing brace for use as a shoulder stock makes a NFA firearm when attached to a pistol with a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length or a handgun with a smooth bore under 18 inches in length.”  It’s unclear how simply using a device in a certain way without altering it “redesigns” it, but the letter insists that BATFE “applie[d] the common meaning” of “redesign” in order to reach this conclusion. 

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, the letter keeps using the word “redesign.” We do not think it means what BATFE thinks it means.

Moreover, this conclusion is the exact opposite of advice that BATFE provided to individuals in private letters, the reasoning of which BATFE is now clearly abandoning.  The new open letter stipulates that “[a]ny individual letters stating otherwise are contrary to the plain language of the NFA, misapply Federal law, and are hereby revoked.”

As with other recent rulings from BATFE, the letter does not seem to acknowledge (and perhaps its authors don’t understand) the full effect of its conclusion that use of a firearm in a particular way without alteration constitutes a “redesign” of that firearm.  The only thing that is clear from the letter is that BATFE considers shouldering any pistol with a stabilizing brace as making a firearm subject to registration and other requirements under the National Firearms Act.

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Maine: Firearm Seizure Bill Heads To Judiciary Committee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Maine: Firearm Seizure Bill Heads To Judiciary Committee

On April 22nd, the Maine Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Legislative Document 1312, which would allow for firearms to be seized and Second Amendment rights to be suspended without due process. 

California: DOJ Issues “Notice of Modification” to Proposed Ammunition Background Check Regulations

Thursday, April 18, 2019

California: DOJ Issues “Notice of Modification” to Proposed Ammunition Background Check Regulations

Today, the California Department of Justice issued a “Notice of Modification” to their proposed regulations regarding the soon to be implemented ammunition background check procedures. As a result of these changes, a second 15-day public ...

Idaho: Governor Signs Important Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Idaho: Governor Signs Important Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Yesterday, Governor Brad Little signed important self-defense legislation, House Bill 206, into law.

NRA Statement on New York City's Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

NRA Statement on New York City's Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

NRA reacts to New York City's attempt to avoid having the NRA-supported Supreme Court case N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association, et al. v. City of N.Y., et al heard in DC. 

Oregon: Gun Control Package Sent To Another Committee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Oregon: Gun Control Package Sent To Another Committee

Thanks to NRA members and Second Amendment supporters who contacted their state Senators in opposition, Senate Bill 978 has been sent to the Oregon Senate Committee on Rules instead of directly to the Senate floor ...

Pittsburgh Residents Seek Preliminary Injunction Against Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines

News  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pittsburgh Residents Seek Preliminary Injunction Against Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines

With support from the NRA, gun owners challenging Pittsburgh’s ban on publicly carrying loaded magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds filed a motion today seeking a preliminary injunction. If the motion is granted, ...

Texas: House Passes Evacuation Carry Bill

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Texas: House Passes Evacuation Carry Bill

On Thursday, the Texas House gave final approval to House Bill 1177 by a vote of 102-29.

Swiss to Vote on Implementation of EU Gun Controls

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Swiss to Vote on Implementation of EU Gun Controls

On May 19, Swiss citizens will go to the polls to vote in a referendum that will determine whether the peaceful mountain nation will acquiesce to the mandates of the European Firearms Directive. The Swiss have a proud ...

Breaking! Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

News  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Breaking! Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

In one of the strongest judicial statements in favor of the Second Amendment to date, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined on Friday that California’s ...

Another Day, Another Hearing with Anti-Gun Democrats Grandstanding on Firearms

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Another Day, Another Hearing with Anti-Gun Democrats Grandstanding on Firearms

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing it called, “Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 years after the Financial Crisis.” If you are wondering what that could ...

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.