ATF Publishes Letter To Address Braces, Potentially Reclassifying Pistols To SBR's

Posted by Magged Supply LLC on Dec 18th 2020

TLDR/here’s the gist: The ATF potentially wants you to destroy, surrender, register as an SBR, or convert to a rifle, your currently configured “pistol”. You can comment on this for two weeks. Please send a letter to the ATF and talk to your local representatives.

Hello and welcome to Magged Supply's first blog post. Recent actions by the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), seem to warrant a blog post to help inform people whose their decisions will directly impact. First, it is important to know the backdrop of what has happened in the last two months regarding braces. Next, understanding the ATF's letter and what you can do to help will be shown. This will be a brief overview, as there could be a 50 page essay written on this topic. As such, many details will be left out and you are encouraged to look into the info yourself.

SB Tactical- America’s Most Popular Brace

SB Tactical is the manufacturer of the most popular braces on the market. Their catalog includes the most common SBA3 and SBA4, as well as manufacturer specific braces such as the proprietary one made for Q (covered in the next section). It appears that the ATF has had pistol braces on their chopping block for at least two years now. In the last month, it has come to the firearm industry's attention that one of the most prominent maker of pistol braces, SB Tactical, received a letter from the agency asking them to remove their approval from their marketing materials.

The initial letter was from 2018. SB Tactical stated on their website and other marketing materials that their braces were “approved” by the ATF, and helped countless individuals achieve a “pistol” classification for their firearm. The pistol configuration allowed the user to have a barrel under 16 inches, with the requirement being a brace instead of a stock. While SB Tactical had received approval from the ATF on some of their products and configurations, they had not received approval on all of them. As such, it appears that they were possibly exaggerating information they had received from the ATF.

Q LLC & The Honey Badger

The next move by the ATF was to go after Q LLC, the infamous firearms manufacturer known to many. Q makes many different firearms, one of their most popular being the Honey Badger. This firearm could be purchased as a pistol (with a SB Tactical brace) or as an SBR (short barreled rifle). Purchasing this as a SBR means that it falls under the NFA (National Firearms Act). When doing this, the purchaser pays $200 to the ATF, waits up to year to be approved, and undergoes a stringent background check. Purchasing this is a pistol negates that entire process and the pistol is received just like any other firearm.

Q LLC was sent a cease and desist in August 2020 that basically said to stop selling the Honey Badger as a pistol, as it is a SBR. This effectively outlaws all of the lawfully purchased Honey Badgers and makes felons of those who possess one. This should not be taken lightly, as an illegally possessed SBR carries a federal prison sentence of 10 years and/or a $10,000 fine.

This came as a shock to many, as the Honey Badger was markedly a pistol when it was configured with a brace. The ATF decided to arbitrarily rule this pistol as a SBR, while leaving all other manufactures alone. Why did they single out the Honey Badger? Only the ATF knows. Our best guess is that Q LLC was using marketing materials that were showing the brace used against someone’s shoulder too often.

What This Means for Braces

The actions taken against both SB Tactical and Q LLC show that there is interest by the ATF to address braces and potentially reclassify them. Since braces have been around for many years now, there are estimates of nearly 5 million on the market. Do you have one? Then this directly affects you.

The reclassification of braces would mean that all firearms with a barrel under 16 inches (for rifles) or 18 inches (for shotguns) that have a brace could now be considered a SBR or a SBS. This would potentially make felons of millions of previously law-abiding gun owners

Today(12/18/2020)- ATF Publishes Brace Letter at 8:15am EST

The entire letter can be read here.

Please note: no law has been passed that suddenly makes you a felon. This letter by the ATF is basically outlining what factors they are considering when classifying firearms as pistols or as a SBR. No where do they state what constitutes a pistol or a SBR, but that it is merely a case by case basis. The letter also provides a fairly clear blueprint for the largest firearm registration event in U.S. history, should it be implemented.

Here’s an excerpt to show their registration plans: “The ATF and DOJ plan to implement a separate process by which current possessors of affected stabilizer-equipped firearms may choose to register such firearms to be compliant with the NFA. As part of that process, ATF plans to expedite processing of these applications, and ATF has been informed that the Attorney General plans retroactively to exempt such firearms from the collection of NFA taxes if they were made or acquired, prior to the publication of this notice, in good faith. This separate process may include the following options: registering the firearm in compliance with the NFA (described above), permanently removing the stabilizing brace from the firearm and disposing of it, replacing the barrel of the firearm (16” or greater for a rifle, or 18” or greater for a shotgun), surrendering the firearm to ATF, or destroying the firearm.”


Comment Instructions

All submissions received must include the agency name (ATF) and docket number (ATF 2020R-10). All properly completed comments received will be posted without change to the Federal eRulemaking portal, www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

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  • Commenters who do not want their name or other personal identifying information posted on the Internet should submit comments by mail or facsimile, along with a separate cover sheet containing their personal identifying information.
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  • Comments that contain excessive profanity will not be considered or responded to.
  • SUBMISSIONS: Starting December 18, you may submit comments in one of three ways:
    • 1. Online - Federal eRulemaking Portal: ATF recommends that you submit your comments to ATF via the Federal eRulemaking portal at https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2020-27857 and follow the instructions. Please keep the comment tracking number that is provided after you have successfully uploaded your comment.
    • 2. Mail: Written comments must:
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      Send written comments to the following address:
      Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
      ATTN: ATF 2020R-10
      Mail Stop 6N- 518 99
      New York Ave. NE
      Washington, DC 20226

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