Today, March 31st of 2023, marks the final day of ATF amnesty regarding pistols equipped with a stabilizing brace. As of tomorrow, anyone who has not submitted an ATF Form 1 and still has a stabilizing brace attached to their pistol will be committing a felony according to the ATF’s new rule.
So what can you do? Well, I’m no lawyer, but…
On the 26th of April, 2023, ATF Director Steven Dettelbach was sworn in before congress to share testimony about these stabilizing braces. In his testimony, he stated that simply removing the brace from the pistol was enough to comply. When asked if the ATF had any plans to charge people with constructive possession of a short-barreled rifle (SBR), the director replied in the negative.
That turned out to be a lie. Today, many firearms-related youtube channels have videos revealing and discussing the ATF’s plans to charge people with constructive possession.
So what is this “constructive possession”? In the most simple terms, it is a way for prosecutors to charge you with a crime you didn’t commit because you COULD commit it. How the ATF and other law enforcement entities would, in this case, conduct such a task is to find that you own a pistol and you own a stabilizing brace. They aren’t connected, but they could be stored next to each other or even in different rooms. You could even keep the brace in the storage shed out back while your AR pistol is in the safe in your bedroom. If the government’s puppy euthanizers knock on your door and find them both, there is the possibility of being charged.
So how can we avoid this?
There are a few options to stay compliant with the cheapest, fastest and easiest way being to remove the brace and toss it in the trash.
Another thing you can do, granted you have an AR pistol, is to spend $80 to $150 to get yourself a 16” (or longer) barrel and replace the 7” or 10.5” barrel on your pistol to turn it into a rifle. Doing this lets you use the arm brace as a stock and you’re good to go if where you live doesn’t have other goofy gun laws.
The ATF is getting sued left and right these days, and the chances of this rule being struck down is higher than 0%, so there’s one more easy option you may want to consider: Remove the brace, call up a trusted friend who doesn’t have an AR pistol (you don’t want your friend charged too, after all) and ask if your friend can store your arm brace. This way, there’s almost no way you can get charged with constructive possession.