What type of rulings will come from the ATF under Joe Pee Pads Biden?
The ATF is a boogeyman to any and all members of the 2nd Amendment community. Time after time they have proven to be hard at work chipping away at the right to bear arms, despite being an enforcement agency, not a regulatory agency.
The ATF decided once again to tangle with gun owners everywhere and begin going after pistol braces, (for example with the ‘Honey Badger’ SBR). Again. A stabilizing brace is designed to make shooting a rifle or shotgun one-handed possible for people with disabilities. Of course, this hasn’t been the first time the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has tried to regulate braces.
The pistol brace has been somewhat of a controversial debate when it comes to the ATF and gun owners across the country. Initially, pistol braces weren’t much of an issue. Disabled people could now shoot without their disability interfering with the activity. Non-disabled people also used stabilizing braces as a substitution for shoulder stocks to circumvent another ATF regulation regarding Short Barreled Rifles which require an expensive tax stamp that requires months of waiting just to have a rifle barrel under 16 inches.
Then in 2015, the ATF ruled that shouldering braces were “a redesign of the purpose of the brace” effectively and illegally banned shouldering braces. This caused outrage within the gun community sparking armed protests and rallies. It’s important to understand that the ATF is merely a regulatory agency and not a legislative one. Their regulations are illegal and unconstitutional, yet they continue to “make laws” at a rate that makes it difficult to discern what’s legal and what’s a felony.
In 2017, the ATF changed the pistol brace regulations, no longer classifying pistol braces as an NFA item. Gun owners could now legally shoulder pistol braces without fear of raids on their homes putting their lives and their family’s lives in jeopardy.
Now flash forward to 2020, the ATF has once again changed their minds and put new regulations in place on a whim. This time more stringent, wildly unconstitutional, and absurdly complex regulations were put in place. They were so complicated in fact, that the ATF recommended you send your firearm in so the ATF could “assess” if your weapon was a felony or not. This would effectively create an illegal national gun registry.
The ATF pistol guidance was incredibly vague and essentially impossible to decipher, based on subjective and unquantifiable factors like “Weight and Length”. The weight and length of the firearm used with the stabilizing brace. A firearm that is so heavy that it is impractical to fire or aim with one hand, or so long that it is difficult to balance the firearm to fire with one hand, is likely to be considered a rifle or shotgun.”
This is entirely subjective based on who’s holding the rifle. A 115 lb woman is not going to be able to hold the same weight on one arm the way a 220 lb man will be able to.
Additionally, they include the type of optic selected as an indicator of whether or not the rifle was built to be used one-handed completely ignoring switching optics for different firearms. The fact that taking an optic off of your weapon suddenly makes it legal is absurd and makes it clear that this was just a sweeping attempt to regulate a constitutionally guaranteed right.
It only takes a cursory look to realize that this “guidance” was a half-cocked attempt to maintain control over the second amendment community. This predictably did not go well in the current political climate of the country.
No matter what you think of the events happening in the United States this year, the cumulative problems we are facing have started a shift where more people are beginning to understand and believe that the 2nd amendment is necessary to protect themselves from aggressors, whether that’s other citizens, foreign interferences, terrorism, or oppressive governments.
To invite further agitation, the ATF then opened themselves up by allowing people to comment on this pistol guidance. As expected, the response was rather impolite, to say the least. It mostly consisted of vitriol and threats of violence from people who are fed up or have been victimized by government agencies.
Now, in late December, the ATF has officially withdrawn its proposed pistol guidance. Despite this, citizens are not relaxed; they are more concerned than ever. At the height of a pandemic and civil unrest, the blatant disregard for the constitution has Americans wary and outright hateful of the ATF.
Now more than ever, American citizens are slated against the ATF and wait for the next set of regulations with an anxious breath.
Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.