Proposed ATF Brace Rule Change
As expected due to the Executive Action ordered by President Biden, the ATF has recently published their proposed rule change on classification of braced pistols.
Long story short, it's terrible and you MUST be prepared to comment on it when the comment period opens to prevent it from going into effect.
I've prepared a video going over my thoughts on it as well as my personal thoughts that I'll be putting into my comment. Video Link
My comment and thoughts can be found below. If you feel like I've made some valid points here, please feel free to use my general thoughts in your comment, but do not copy/paste what I've provided below, as the comment will not be counted.
"I am an amateur firearm designer and builder. I ensure that all of my designs and builds are compliant with codified law and guidance by the ATF. Prior to this proposed rule change, the rules regarding braced pistols and firearms were not difficult to follow. This proposed rule ensures that compliance is impossible, due to vague or non-specified descriptions, arbitrary weight and length requirements, and several other major issues. It works as a de-facto pistol brace ban, hindering all braced pistol owners, but especially those that are differently-abled and unable to properly exercise their 2nd Amendment rights without a braced pistol. A few of the issues that I’ve come across in a brief review of this proposed rule are:
A. The reasons that these specific weights were chosen are not explained clearly enough in the proposed rule. A long, but under 64 oz pistol may be difficult for a handicapped shooter to use properly, requiring the use of a brace. Perhaps the shooter has limited grip strength in which to hold an otherwise lightweight gun, necessitating the use of a brace to properly hold and operate it. Should this person be forced to use too heavy of a firearm that they can’t safely control?
B. Weight with accessories removed. Are you considering the brace as an operational or non-operational accessory? This is not clear in the proposed rule.
C. Arbitrary length determination. Again, this Length measured with all “non-operational” accessories removed. What is determined to be a non-operational accessory and what is an operational accessory?
1. Accessory design – What is the standard to determine whether a stabilizing brace is “not based on a known shoulder stock design”? What are the exact factors to determine whether it is based on a known design or not? Is it cosmetic? Functional? Who makes the determination whether a brace is “based on a known shoulder stock design”? The examples provided rule out almost every brace on the market using “features known to be on a stock” such as the extremely overreaching “incorporating a hardened polymer type material”. That is the vast majority of braces on the market. Adding a sling attachment point is also a stock like feature in that exhibit. Yet, in exhibit C with a Shockwave Blade type brace accessory, both made of a hardened polymer type material and with a sling attachment point, it is not penalized as being “based on a known shoulder stock design. Your examples aren’t applied consistently. How can a designer plan for your arbitrary determination?
2. Rear surface area – Vague descriptions are used in the proposed rule. What exactly is the surface area permitted in each of these levels. Using descriptors of “minimized “ or “useful” are vague and cannot possibly be accommodated when designing an accessory. What is useful for one person may be minimized for another. Without clear, objective measurements here, compliance is impossible. What all are considered a feature to prevent the use as a shouldering device (i.e. the referenced QD sling attachment port at the rear of the stabilizing brace)? Would a simple sling loop extending 1mm from the rear of the brace, breaking up the solid rearmost portion suffice? Clear guidelines must be provided.
3. Adjustability. Is adjustability only determined with front and back movement (i.e. to increase or decrease the Length of Pull) or is the ability to fold the entire brace to the side out of the functional plane when not deployed for use counted as being “adjustable”? Some braces are able to rotate around a central axis on the mount, is this counted as being "adjustable"? Again, this is vague and unable to plan for with the current language.