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Posted by karljebert
Jan 17, 2023

What To Know about the new ATF Pistol Brace Rule

Over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, the ATF/DOJ published their new rule on pistol braces. This ruling is incredibly vague with plenty of gray-area so we're going to try and condense almost 300 pages for you. While there are thousands of different models of pistols that can have (or could have had) a brace attached, we will be using the term "AR pistol" in this article for simplicity.

Please note that nobody involved in the writing, publication, maintenance or dissemination of this post is a lawyer, and nothing in this post should be considered as legal advice.

The ATF's new rule essentially requires gun owners to modify their braced pistols, register them with the ATF via "ATF Form 1", surrender the pistol to law enforcement, or destroy the pistol. Here's a chart to tell you your options.
According to this chart, if you're an individual, you can put a rifle-length barrel on your AR pistol and you will be fine until the ATF changes their mind again. Since the ATF and DOJ consider pistol braces to be stocks now (for the most part, details below), with a 16+ inch barrel length, you will have a rifle.

You can also remove the brace from your pistol. A caveat of this includes that, in plain English, you better not get caught with it. Look up the definition of "constructive intent" for a proper definition. For a TL:DR version, law enforcement can charge you with a crime even if your pistol brace isn't attached. Owning a pistol brace isn't illegal, but, "B- b- bu- but they COULD attach it!" is enough of an argument for the commies. You can throw the brace in the trash, but the "right answer" seems to imply they want you to chop it up and keep it in a bag for when they start going door-to-door to make sure everyone is playing by the rules.

You can also register the gun as an SBR by filing an ATF Form 1. None of us are going to destroy the entire gun, nor will we be turning any of them in.

There are other options listed for gun shops and federal agencies listed as well.

In proper ATF fashion, there is a lot of confusion as to which braces are still allowed without the need for taking any action. Ironically enough, the ATF was asked to create a list of approved braces by one individual, and they responded with a 293 page ruling that included on page 113 "the Department does not find it administratively feasible to replace the worksheet with that commenter’s suggestion of an exhaustive list of “braces.” 

The first 269 pages of this ATF ruling allege an attitude of elitism as felt by many of the individuals who have read the 293-page document. Their Department Response text suggests a we-don't-care-what-you-think approach was taken when writing this rule that completely contradicts an "of the people, by the people and for the people" approach to governance, and instead smells of overreach and arbitrary tyranny.

Page 270 begins the actual text of the ruling. Here's a simplified breakdown:

-"Rifle" has been re-defined and includes anything with a brace. The ATF has offered no quantified metrics for determining 

-You can put a 16+ inch barrel on a braced pistol to make it a rifle. At that point it appears you are good to go...for now.

-You can remove the brace and yeet it into a dumpster or something...Maybe cut it up into pieces and take a selfie with it all busted before you throw it out for future reference.

-You can register the pistol as an SBR.

Full text of the new ruling can be found here:

Edit: A lead attorney at Gun Owners of America introduced as "Steve" reported some troublesome news about the new ruling at SHOT Show 2023 in Las Vegas, and this problem can only be described as a trap.  The short explanation of this involves the Form 1 application for braced pistols essentially being self-incrimination.  

Here's the video explaining the trouble:

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