I’ll give this a ‘maybe’. The bureaucraps have a lot of power concerning imports of guns, which seems to be the issue from the linked article below. Just maybe, some people are overthinking this.
An estimated 700,000 owners and users of a popular shooting accessory in the U.S. may soon be left in the dark as to whether their makeshift pistols are legal thanks to a non-public change in federal policy.
International Sportsman reported in June on a long-anticipated move by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to crack down on a loophole that allows owners of AR-15s, AK-47s, and other automatic and semi-automatic rifles to modify their rifles into pistols by use of what’s known in the industry as a “pistol brace.”
Now it appears, based on several sources, the ATF is making that move on the downlow — a loophole to close another loophole (see analysis below).
To recap the situation: In 2012 the pistol brace was introduced to the firearms market as a temporary buttstock solution. It proved effective for those wishing to avoid the otherwise-required federal paperwork, or who prefer a way to legally conceal automatic and semiautomatic firearms. The popularity of pistol braces soared and became a favorite among gun owners with disabilities who find it difficult to handle and fire a rifle of conventional length.
ATF wavered for years on exactly how to approach this innovation. From our June article:
ATF has maintained for years that 26 inches is the maximum length for a concealable firearm. Barrels, according to ATF’s rules, must be 16 inches or longer with a buttstock, or it falls under the National Firearms Act (NFA) restrictions for automatic guns. Without a buttstock, an AR-15 pistol (for example) may have any barrel-length.
The introduction of the pistol brace in 2012 created a loophole in the law — being not necessarily a buttstock but at the same time functioning as one. When Sig Sauer unveiled their new SB15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace, it was intended to be strapped around the forearm, improving stability when firing. Many pistol owners saw an opportunity to instead use the brace like a stock, pressing it up into the shoulder and using it as a cheek rest like with a rifle.
This led to a string of ATF rulings. In 2014, ATF nixed “shouldering braces,” arguing a brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle. The bureau doubled down in 2015 at the end of the Barack Obama presidency, clarifying “illegal shouldering.”
At the onset of the Trump Administration, however, the ATF reversed much of its stance and allowed for the use of braces in “situational,” “sporadic,” and “incidental” uses.
In June, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz sounded the alarm that the ATF was poised to begin regulating pistol braces without the purview of Congress or even the White House. Gaetz, while praising the Donald Trump Administration for its many defenses of the Second Amendment, also pointed out that the same administration banned “bump stocks” to answer a swell of criticism stemming from gun control activists. He urged constituents to contact their Congressmen and Senators in response, as many gun-rights advocacy groups have done.
So far, the ATF has not messaged on any changes to its interpretation of what constitutes a pistol, though firearms enthusiasts are already spreading the word.
“… [I]t is something you should take very seriously because of recent actions by the BATF that will affect any owner of AR15 pistols, AK pistols, HK pistols, etc.,” the blog noted via its primary Facebook Page. “Yes, this means your Saint AR pistol or your Draco. That’s exactly what the ATF is targeting.”