There’s several problems with ATF’s proposed arm brace regulation.
They call the method they’ll use to determine whether a brace is a brace or a stock (thus a rifle) by some ‘objective design features’ but by golly, I don’t think that words they keep using means what they think it means.
The objective design features ATF considers in determining whether a weapon with an attached “stabilizing brace” has been “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder” include, but are not limited to:
Type and Caliber. The type and caliber of firearm to which the stabilizing brace or similar item is installed. A large caliber firearm that is impractical to fire with one hand because of recoil or other factors, even with an arm brace, is likely to be considered a rifle or shotgun.
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.
Length of Pull. The “length of pull” refers to the distance from the trigger to the point at which a stock meets the shoulder. This is a measurement for rifles and shotguns used to accommodate shooters of different sizes. Because an arm brace need only reach the forearm, the distance between the trigger and the back of the brace is generally expected to be shorter than the distance between the trigger and the back of a stock on a weapon designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder. This measurement is not necessarily determinative of the intent of the manufacturer but is used in making an evaluation of the firearm. If a brace is of a length that makes it impractical to attach to the shooter’s wrist or forearm, then that may demonstrate that it is not designed as brace but rather for shoulder fire.
Attachment Method. The method of attachment of the stabilizing brace, to include modified stock attachments, extended receiver extensions, and the use of spacers. These items extend the distance between the trigger and the part of the weapon that contacts the shooter, whether it is a stock or stabilizing brace. Use of these items indicates that the weapon is designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder because they extend a stabilizing brace beyond a point that is useful for something other than shoulder support.
Stabilizing Brace Design Features. The objective design features of the attached stabilizing brace itself are relevant to the classification of the assembled weapon, and include:
○ The comparative function of the attachment when utilized as a stabilizing brace compared to its alternate use as a shouldering device;
○ The design of the stabilizing brace compared to known shoulder stock designs;
○ The amount of rear contact surface area of the stabilizing brace that can be used in shouldering the weapon as compared to the surface area necessary for use as a stabilizing brace;
○ The material used to make the attachment that indicates whether the brace is designed and intended to be pressed against the shoulder for support, or actually used on the arm;
○ Any shared or interchangeable parts with known shoulder stocks; and
○ Any other feature of the brace that improves the weapon’s effectiveness from the shoulder-firing position without providing a corresponding benefit to the effectiveness of the stability and support provided by the brace’s use on the arm.
Aim Point. Appropriate aim point when utilizing the attachment as a stabilizing brace. If the aim point when using the arm brace attachment results in an upward or downward trajectory that could not accurately hit a target, this may indicate the attachment was not designed as a stabilizing brace.
Secondary Grip. The presence of a secondary grip may indicate that the weapon is not a “pistol” because it is not designed to be held and fired by one hand.
Sights and Scopes. Incorporation of sights or scopes that possess eye relief incompatible with one-handed firing may indicate that the weapon is not a “pistol” because they are designed to be used from a shoulder-fire position and are incompatible for the single-handed shooting that arm braces are designed and intended.
Peripheral Accessories. Installation of peripheral accessories commonly found on rifles or shotguns that may indicate that the firearm is not designed and intended to be held and fired with one hand. This includes, but is not limited to, the installation of bipods/monopods that improve the accuracy of heavy weapons designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder; or the inclusion of a magazine or drum that accepts so many cartridges that it increases the overall weight of the firearm to a degree that it is impractical to fire the weapon with one hand even with the assistance of a stabilizing brace.
These factors are based on known stabilizing braces and similar attachments. No single factor or combination of factors is necessarily dispositive, and FATD examines each weapon holistically on a case-by-case basis.
Because of changes in design or configuration of a weapon or attachment, as well as future changes in technology, this list is not exhaustive and other factors may become relevant to a weapon’s classification.
A few of the biggest problems I see are:
The measure of extension of the brace is based on how long a reasonable forearm is, so are they planning on using the longest known forearm? The further from your wrist, the better leverage you have when shooting braced one-armed.
“… too heavy to practically shot one-handed” is another very subjective metric. There are very strong people in this country, who are also depending on the Constitution to protect their right to bear arms. Are these reviewing agents going to take into account the current weight and physical ability of the owner of every single gun?
The idea that some will be seen as “too big to be reasonable shot one-handed” is completely vague and undefined, so again it falls on the agents reviewing a given firearm to decide if it is small enough. Could Dwayne Johnson manage a braced 458 SOCOM pistol? Probably. So what about a ‘normally built’ or ‘slightly built’ person and one in 5.56 NATO? Or 9mm or…….
On almost the exact same note, one of the “objective” measures is the question of magazine capacity, which rests on whether or not a person could reasonably shoot it one handed, such as when using a 100-rnd drum. We’re getting into some weird territory here. Is the ATF suggesting that they are going to not only review and classify each and every firearm, but then even further classify it as paired with the ANY magazine that fits it?
It’s one thing to subject manufacturers to submit each model for inspection, but among the subjects under scrutiny, the AR-15 in particular is very frequently home built. Is the ATF going to individually accept and test and send back each one? Absolutely not. Any subject’s citizen’s comments should mention this absurdity.
All of the above as seen by any sane person can only be incredibly subjective, not to mention downright vague.
This is a ‘We know it when we see it’ method of Law Enforcement and is ripe for arbitrary enforcement of whoever happens to be on their – excuse me – shit list to be made an example of . Exactly the type of goobermint that Ayn Rand wrote:
“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed or enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt.”