Banning Braces

By Mr. Black

Okay, so we were a month off. Still, our insider information regarding the looming ATF Pistol Brace Rule was correct. It’s here. The final rule was published on Friday, January 13, 2023. That’s right, the government just turned millions of Americans into instant felons on Friday the 13. That’s not where the bullshit ends though.

In his statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland claimed that “Almost a century ago, Congress determined that short-barreled rifles must be subject to heightened requirements.” That statement is incredibly misleading. You see, the original National Firearms Act of 1934 would have taxed ALL pistols and revolvers. Since $200 was a shit- ton of money during the height of the Great Depression, it was effectively a ban. SBRs and SBSs were included to prevent individuals from making handguns out of long guns to get around the ban.    

Then Congress did what all free legislative bodies do and cut a deal: the bill would pass, taxing machine guns and “silencers,” but handguns would be excluded. In this revision, short-barreled rifles and shotguns remained in the bill, not because they were particularly dangerous, but likely as an oversight. There was simply no one to advocate for this uncommon category of firearm in those days. Other than niche guns such as the Ithaca Auto, they didn’t exist in a factory format.         

Decades later, the pistol brace came along. It looked sort of like a stock but it wasn’t. ATF said it was legal, then said it wasn’t if you used it like a stock, then said it was legal either way. An estimated seven million braces were lawfully purchased by Americans. All was right in the world. Then, upon the bureaucratic whims of the executive branch (the same one that is considering banning gas stoves), braces became contraband. It almost seems like the feds used braces as a Trojan horse to get a bunch of guns registered, because they know not many of us are likely to turn them in or destroy them.

Owners of AR pistols that wear arm braces have 120 days from Jan. 13, 2023 to register them. The good news is that the $200 tax is being waved. The bad news? (Other than the whole Constitution thing) ATF’s already-shitty web-based NFA system will no doubt collapse faster than the Afghan Army. Will brace owners be held responsible for not registering when and if the system goes down? Only time will tell, but history isn’t on the gun owners’ side. 

If you’re looking for an excuse to register an SBR without paying the tax fee, now is the time to make it happen. If you’ve always wanted to know what it feels like to be an outlaw, leave your brace attached and, while you’re at it, invest in a copper whiskey still and a Dodge Charger. You decide, it’s a free country … or at least it was. 

Editor’s Note: Field Ethos brought you the ATF’s FAQs concerning the rule the same day it was published. CLICK HERE for our post and a link to the FAQs.