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They didn't "overlook" it. They told people braces were legal. Millions of people bought aftermarket and OEM braces. This is a common use item now.

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A lot of brace manufacturers flat out lied when they claimed that their braces were approved by the ATF. I started looking into this several years ago. Here is what I found along with the sources so you can look them up and verify that the same stuff I saw. Years ago I learned to go back to the source documents and read them for myself rather than depending on someone else's interpretation.

From what I have seen, they all depend on three letters sent to SB Tactical (from 2012, 2015, and 2017) and the ATF's 2015 "Open Letter on the Redesign of "Stabilizing Braces"" and a clarifying letter on March 22 2017. You can get the SB Tactical letters from their web site. In the 2012 letter, they described the brace sent and its use. The letter stated "...we find the device is not designed or intended to fire a weapon from the shoulder".
The December 2015 Letter to SB Tactical includes photos and includes the statement "Central to ATF's determination is your representation that the purpose and intent of your design, as with previously approved designs, is solely to allow shooters - particularly those with disabilities--to better support large handguns or pistols when firing one-handed." They even insist that the rear of the brace have no ridges, "a feature commonly associated with butt stocks/shoulder stocks" in order "as to preclude its usefulness to be shouldered". The 2015 "Open Letter" states "The pistol stabilizing brace was neither “designed” nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock ..."

In the March 22 2017 letter to SB Tactical, they pointed out that the submitted and approved sample "... cannot be comfortably fired from the shoulder".
The 2015 "Open Letter" states "Any 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. "
 

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A lot of brace manufacturers flat out lied when they claimed that their braces were approved by the ATF. I started looking into this several years ago. Here is what I found along with the sources so you can look them up and verify that the same stuff I saw. Years ago I learned to go back to the source documents and read them for myself rather than depending on someone else's interpretation.

From what I have seen, they all depend on three letters sent to SB Tactical (from 2012, 2015, and 2017) and the ATF's 2015 "Open Letter on the Redesign of "Stabilizing Braces"" and a clarifying letter on March 22 2017. You can get the SB Tactical letter from their web site. In the 2012 letter, they described the brace sent and its use. The letter stated "...we find the device is not designed or intended to fire a weapon from the shoulder".
The December 2015 Letter to SB Tactical includes photos and includes the statement "Central to ATF's determination is your representation that the purpose and intent of your design, as with previously approved designs, is solely to allow shooters - particularly those with disabilities--to better support large handguns or pistols when firing one-handed." They even insist that the rear of the brace have no ridges, "a feature commonly associated with butt stocks/shoulder stocks" in order "as to preclude its usefulness to be shouldered". The 2015 "Open Letter" states "The pistol stabilizing brace was neither “designed” nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock ..."

In the March 22 2017 letter to SB Tactical, they pointed out that the submitted and approved sample "... cannot be comfortably fired from the shoulder".
The 2015 "Open Letter" states "Any 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. "
I have even emailed and called other companies who claimed ATF approval for their braces and the few that responded sent copies of letters that were addressed to SB Tactical about the original Sig Brace. Most just didn't bother to respond. So you have the fact that the manufacturers lied to the public and then you have youtubers lying to the public claiming that ATF said it was OK to shoulder your brace and it is pretty obvious what caused all of this. Now consider the fact that so many videos were put out of people (even gun manufacturers in a few cases) shooting braced pistols from their shoulder. What was the agency tasked with enforcement supposed to do? Just continue to turn a blind eye? I think we all need to lobby our representatives to have the NFA overhauled. That would be the best thing that could come out of this debacle in my opinion. At the very least drop SBR, SBS and suppressors from the NFA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
I'm still confused as to what constitutes a legal built ar pistol. If I have a 5.28" long pistol buffer tube with no brace on my lower and a 12.5" ARP 6.8 barrel equipped with a 1-4x scope for hunting, would this be considered legal? Total length of weapon is 25.75". I shoot with a cheek weld on the buffer tube and nothing is touching my shoulder.
I'm no lawer either, but I'm going to have to disagree with the previous replies. Yes , it would be legal.

The rule says that parts required for function of firearm are not to be used when considering classification as an SBR, buffer tubes are specifically called out as one of those parts. I'm not going to look for the documentation, but I recall that specific question arising to the ATF during past pistol braces stuff in regards to cheek welds on AR pistols. The statement was along the lines of they could not tell you how you were allowed to shoot the pistol. It is perfectly legal to have a cheek weld on an AR pistol, but that a brace could not be used to avoid SBR. If you want to hole the pistol at arms length and shoot, that's legal. If you want to draw the pistol back to your shoulder and fire from that position, it's legal. If you wanted to put a 1-4x with short eye relief and hold it close to your eye to shoot, it's legal. Installing a brace with the intent of using it like a stock makes it an SBR.

Yes, as @Nativeman30 mentions, they did mention sights in the rule and also alluded to eye relief. That was criteria to be used in making a determination about status as an SBR due to an installed brace. If there is no brace installed, that criteria is moot. If there is a brace installed AND a short eye relief scope, it may be deemed by that criteria to be an SBR.

Is this a SBR then? IMO the ATF is about to get smacked down again by SCOTUS.
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Exactly! Both short and long eye relief scopes exist. There are valid reasons for either to be used on a rifle or pistol. In the AR pistol as mentioned by mogunr, a short eye relief scope could be used with a cheek weld to give better sight picture and stability. I have used long eye elief pistol scopes on a rifle, due to necessity to place the scope in front of the action. Well both rifles were my dad's, but one was a top eject lever action, and the other was a bolt action that used clips fed through top of action. Can't remember which gun that was.

Now tell me honestly. If earlytom removed the scop from revolver, land took that same picture without the revolver, would you know if that is a long or short eye reliev acope from the picture alone?

Well maybe YOU can, but I and 90% of other people looking at the picture wouldn't know. I'd go out on a limb and say that 99% of ATF agents would be included in that 90%, and the remaining 1% would be talking shit. If mogunr sent in a picture (still haven't seen that requirement) of his AR with a scope on it, the agents looking at it would have no basis on which to claim that it is a short or long eye relief scope, unless the make and model of scope were plainly visible in the picture.
 

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Millions of people bought braces with the intent to use them as a shoulder stock. You know it and I know it. Why argue the point? There are very few who actually use them as designed. As I said, SBR laws are antiquated and should be repealed but don't get mad at a government agency for doing the job they are paid to do.
Work has been crazy, took a while to reply. I agree the NFA is the problem and it is unconstitutional on its face. I also agree that the ATF is obligated to write and enforce regulations in compliance with laws passed by congress.

However the regulations may not in effect make new laws or new categories to regulate. The ATF's previously okaying braces as long as intent of use was appropriate and now saying that a scope constitutes proof of intent of illegal use of the brace is a real problem.

We all agree the problem is the NFA. I also am submitting that the ATF has written a monstrosity of a document that is riddled with leverage points which would be useful in defeating the NFA itself. I suspect that allys of the constitution will miss the opportunity while tilting at a windmill that likely only results in more clarifications.

The past clarifications are a huge problem as they have resulted in years of ATF approved 'in common use'. The ATF in my opinion is trying to put the cat back in the bag for a device that they already have admitted isn't dangerous all to comply with an unconstitutional law.
 

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Let's keep it civil guys. We are all adults here. JoshT in response to you last post saying that it should be legal you may be right but the line of thought is that if you have a standard relief scope such as a rifle scope, you would not be able to shoot it without shouldering it. A handgun by definition is designed to be shot with one hand. Not two hands and a cheek.
 
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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
Woodstock, thank you for cleaning that up. I know he was trolling (is he Stanc reincarnated?) and I shouldn't have responded, but did anyway. I've marked him on my ignore list, so that should help prevent a repeat. If I don't see it I won't be tempted to respond.

In regards to the scope, there is also the matter from my last post. From a picture, how is anyone going to know if the scope is short or long eye relief? They won't.

We all know the definition of a handgun, by this point we should also know that AFT has also thrown that definition out the window with their published responses. Particularly regarding cheek weld, see the ATF Response to Thordsen Custom's AR pistol cheek weld kit. Here's an excerpt:

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If that cheek welding an AR pistol is okay with that saddle, and that approval letter tells me that it is, then it's also got to be acceptable to do without the saddle.

You can shoot an AR pistol, with a standard relief scope, with a cheek weld, without a brace, and without shouldering it. I've done it with my 10.5 5.56 pistol before SBRing it. I didn't care for it. Turns out I didn't much care for shooting the 6.8 with a reflex sight as a pistol either, much more fun shooting both on the SBR lower. That's why my pistol lowers are mostly being used as holders to transport and store extra uppers. That's also why I'm interested in this free amnesty period deal. I understand people's hesitation to comply, but isn't it possible that for some people compliance could be beneficial? Almost a bit of malicious compliance, I get something I want and they don't get the tax money. Sure, they aren't going to miss the lost revenue, but the $200 stamp fee was never about raising revenue anyway.
 

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I'm still confused as to what constitutes a legal built ar pistol. If I have a 5.28" long pistol buffer tube with no brace on my lower and a 12.5" ARP 6.8 barrel equipped with a 1-4x scope for hunting, would this be considered legal? Total length of weapon is 25.75". I shoot with a cheek weld on the buffer tube and nothing is touching my shoulder.
If you are using a pistol buffer tube with nothing on it, I think you are fine. My interpretation is that the ATF is just trying to put the proverbial toothpaste back in the tube and make things like they were before braces were a thing.

In my state, there are some compelling reasons for AR pistols as WA law prohibits loaded rifles in vehicles and of course you get complications with NFA items regarding crossing state lines and family member possession. I build every stripped lower into a pistol as its first configuration for the reasons Josh mentioned. That said, my 12.5" 6.8 is a registered SBR.

There are some "gotchya's" in this new ruling and there is no way I'd ever recommend to anyone to do anything that relies on being on the good side of ATF's "enforcement discretion". Getting the "free tax stamp" requires that you submit documentation to the ATF that you are in possession of a non-registered SBR - in essence, you are declaring that you are in violation of federal law and would like to take advantage of the ATF's grace. Yeah, what could go wrong with that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
Looks like I found the answer to the last question that remained from why I created this thread. From another ATF FAQ that I had previously seen:

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That, along with other statements made in the FAQ, tells me that they will be treated as any other SBR would be.

To clarify my last post, I am not saying that Thordsen's cheek weld kit is still exempt from the brace ban. I'm saying that ATF has made it clear that cheek welding an AR pistol is fine. My reading of the classification factors says that the buffer tube will not be counted as it is a required component for function of the firearm, therefore lack of a brace or other attached extension device means that the scope doesn't matter. I stand by my idea that a brace or extension accessory must be present before the type of sighting device matters or is taken into consideration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
If you are using a pistol buffer tube with nothing on it, I think you are fine. My interpretation is that the ATF is just trying to put the proverbial toothpaste back in the tube and make things like they were before braces were a thing.

In my state, there are some compelling reasons for AR pistols as WA law prohibits loaded rifles in vehicles and of course you get complications with NFA items regarding crossing state lines and family member possession. I build every stripped lower into a pistol as its first configuration for the reasons Josh mentioned. That said, my 12.5" 6.8 is a registered SBR.

There are some "gotchya's" in this new ruling and there is no way I'd ever recommend to anyone to do anything that relies on being on the good side of ATF's "enforcement discretion". Getting the "free tax stamp" requires that you submit documentation to the ATF that you are in possession of a non-registered SBR - in essence, you are declaring that you are in violation of federal law and would like to take advantage of the ATF's grace. Yeah, what could go wrong with that?
I agree except for the last part. I see "the trap" as paranoia to raise view counts and drum up financial support. I'm not saying that anyone is wrong for buying into it, just that I'm not going to.

Everything we're talking about here has to do with intent. I'm not going to rehash the finer points that have already been covered here. The jist of it is that the original indended use of pistol braces was as a brace. ATF was fine with that use and said as much, they even gave leway for the occasional unintended shouldering of a brace. Gun bloggers and guntubers (any likely many others) intentionally twisted that to mean that it was ok to shoulder a pistol with a brace, the populace followed suit. It never was ok. Those people intentionally/unintentionally pushed the ATF into a corner and are getting upset that its pushing back.

Everything that they put out is about intent. A rifle is designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder. A pistol is designed and intended to be fired single handed. Intent is in everything.

You didn't intend to buy an illegal device, what you bought was perfectly legal until ATF changed the classification on you. By submitting documentation you are demonstrating an intent to comply with the law. The actually the rule says that during the grace period it is still legal to be in possession, and once the documentation is submitted you are in legal possession of the firearm until a determination is made, even if it extends past the 120 day period (which is likely). No intent to do anything illegal there, infact quite the opposite. The established intent to comply with registration, also establishes an intent bring your firearm into compliance if that application is denied.

If anything the ATF is going to go after the Molon Labe keyboard warrior crowd that brags about having these items and expresses their intent to not comply. It's going to go after people that don't comply and continue to flaunt their possession of these items. It's most likely going to do nothing unless possession of a firearm in this configuration arises in conjunction with something else.
 

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You didn't intend to buy an illegal device, what you bought was perfectly legal until ATF changed the classification on you.
It was bought as a legal device as long as you bought it intending to use it as it was designed. As an arm brace and in that case it is still legal.
Pretty much agree with points you are making but you are trying to use common sense where it is not necessarily useful (dealing with a govt agency). The whole thing is a debacle. It was not well thought out.
 

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I have a feeling that with a judge striking down the ATF bump stock ban, this rule will also likely eventually be struck down as well. Because the ATF can't make or change law! But don't be surprised if a democrat doesn't being forth a bill banning them all. Be it at the state or federal levels!
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
At the public range this morning and as several others have alluded to its the idiots that ruin it for the rest of us. Guy next to me clearly has a brace and a short barrel, with a bipod on the front o_O
I wasn't there to see what he was doing, but...

Remington actually sold the Charger with a bipod included. Bipods aren't uncommon for handgun hunters and bench rest handgun target shooters. Often seen in conjunction with long eye relief pistol scopes. Just don't let them catch you using it as a vertical forward grip.

Also, I swear I'm not camping on this thread. I just check my email way to often and look when I get notices. I happened to check my email right after you posted.
 

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I wasn't there to see what he was doing, but...

Remington actually sold the Charger with a bipod included. Bipods aren't uncommon for handgun hunters and bench rest handgun target shooters. Often seen in conjunction with long eye relief pistol scopes. Just don't let them catch you using it as a vertical forward grip.

Also, I swear I'm not camping on this thread. I just check my email way to often and look when I get notices. I happened to check my email right after you posted.
Its an AR15 and he is putting in his shoulder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
Ok. As I said, I wasn't there to see what he was doing and you didn't say that part in the previous post. I was merely pointing out that having a bipod on a pistol isn't illegal or uncommon. Also an AR pistol is still a pistol and wil continue to be a pistol (unless converted into a rifle). At this point an AR pistol with a brace is also still a pistol since as of Friday the new rule hadn't been published yet.
 

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Ok. As I said, I wasn't there to see what he was doing and you didn't say that part in the previous post. I was merely pointing out that having a bipod on a pistol isn't illegal or uncommon. Also an AR pistol is still a pistol and wil continue to be a pistol (unless converted into a rifle). At this point an AR pistol with a brace is also still a pistol since as of Friday the new rule hadn't been published yet.
Putting a bi pod on a braced AR pistol is not illegal. However as many others have alluded to this person clearly intended to fire this from the shoulder (he is sitting at the bench doing so as I type this). Hence his is trying to get around the current rules on an SBR, either for the tax stamp, registration, or both. I personally dont agree with the SBR rules even though I have one. My entire point has been the reason for the proposed rule change isnt people like myself or you that follow the regulations and thier intent, but for the thousands that do not and flaunt it in videos etc.
 

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At the public range this morning and as several others have alluded to its the idiots that ruin it for the rest of us. Guy next to me clearly has a brace and a short barrel, with a bipod on the front o_O
No one ruined it for anyone. It's the governement, plain and simple. Everyone knew what was going to happen with these braces. If anyone is "ruining" anything, it's the human garbage out there using AR-15's to murder others.
 
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