Re: All the Honey Badgers in the house go ruh-roh

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BREAKING: ATF Withdraws “Guidance” for “Stabilizing Braces”
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 23, 2020) — Today, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) issued “the withdrawal of a notice and request for comments” regarding the agency’s recently published “guidance” document captioned “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’.” The ATF’s notice of withdrawal can be found at
While the ATF is apparently withdrawing this particular “guidance” at this time, the matter is still “pending further Department of Justice review,” which could lead to ATF taking different and potentially far more aggressive actions in the near future, especially under a Joseph Biden-led administration. Rather than publishing guidance, or conducting a rule-making process with notice and comment under the Administrative Procedure Act, such as the Trump Administration engaged in for its ban on bumpstock-type devices, the ATF and DOJ may simply begin to prioritize enforcement actions based upon their clearly erroneous and dangerously broad reading of the law, such as by arresting and prosecuting those who merely possess a stabilizing brace-equipped handgun.

“The National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act, along with their regulations, clearly state objective criteria as to whether a firearm is a short barrel rifle, short barrel shotgun, or any other weapon,” explained Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy. “It remains evident that ATF’s policy preferences are hostile to law-abiding Americans and the agency’s schizophrenic approach to addressing these issues places individuals at risk of prosecution for simply following and relying on guidance from the agency.”
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Re: All the Honey Badgers in the house go ruh-roh

[Well Regulated] The pit in my stomach
On December 23, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) withdrew its letter on brace classification from the Federal Register. Many in the firearms world were quick to herald this as a victory for gun rights, an example of the people making their voice heard, and a government agency backing off. While this is the preferable interpretation of the withdrawal to have, something in my gut tells me that this was not a victory at all. Consider that this letter was provoked by several congressmen sending a letter to the ATF asking for specification as to what constituted the legal characteristics of a stabilizing brace. It was then withdrawn after another letter (this time signed by 90 representatives) was sent in opposition to the ATF’s “clarification”. Anyone with even a modicum of firearms knowledge could tell by reading the ATF’s list of “objective features” that the verbiage was imprecise and sloppy at best, and maliciously vague at worst. But for such an opinion letter to be issued and then abandoned in a week, with less than a month until the inauguration, does not instill in me any confidence of actual progress being made in favor of gun rights.

In November, the firearms community was made aware that the Biden transition team had met with ATF director Lombardo, and discussed their top two gun control priorities: braces, and 80% receivers. Which is more likely, that the ATF suddenly changed their minds and realized the error of their ways, or that they’re willing to wait a few weeks to implement regulations on gun owners? In firearm circles, the analogy of boiling a frog alive is often brought up: you place a frog into cool water and turn the temperature up very slowly so that it doesn’t realize it needs to jump out. This method of taking away our rights inch by inch over decades has been the modus operandi for gun control proponents for over 100 years. A blanket ban of all firearms followed by door to door confiscation will not happen in the United States, at least not within the next several decades (but that’s a subject for a different article). The optimal time for the ATF to implement additional restrictions would be after the inauguration, and with over a year until the midterm elections. This period of lowered political awareness would allow it to implement regulations with minimal pushback, and a willing executive.

Frankly speaking, the question of braces is not if they will go back on the chopping block, but when, and what else will go with them. The last edition of Well Regulated discussed a potential situation where, under the Biden administration, the ATF could make good on his promise to add all semi-automatic firearms to the NFA by considering them to be “readily converted” to machine guns. Of course, the agency would likely be gracious enough to allow the American people the opportunity to register, destroy, or surrender their weapons before becoming felons, just as they offered to for braced firearms.

Re: All the Honey Badgers in the house go ruh-roh

I have a sneaking suspicion when they do it will be challenged in some southern court with a trump appointed judge who will then (correctly if I'm reading this right) toss it because limiting what individuals can own is not rooted in tradition and history, or whatever. And the SC is getting ready to get rid of deference to administrative agencies in interpreting statutes. Which gives people another way to challenge the regulations if they do not match the actual statutory language (which they don't). It's going to be a field day for 2A attorneys (and who always wins- the attorneys). Let the games begin.

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