Friday, June 18, 2021

My Comment on ATFE's Proposed Arm Brace Reguation

Not that I expect it to do much good, or that it will make much of a difference, but I just submitted a comment on FR Doc # 2021-12176, The ATFE's proposed new rule on stabilizing braces.

In short the rule doth suck, and in going over the worksheet it seems practically that there is no pistol with an arm brace that will not likely be found to be an SBR under their criteria.

I'd suggest commenting, and there's over 79,000 comments there so far.

When you comment, do be polite, don't swear, and don't copy and paste other people's comments.  Point out what is wrong with the regulation and how it is unnecessary.

You can go and comment here.

So here's the comment I submitted:

Comment on FR Doc # 2021-12176

Agency Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau

Arm braces have been evaluated and specifically determined by ATFE in 2012 and 2014 to not create Short Barreled Rifles (SBR). Millions of law-abiding firearms owners have relied upon that series of determinations and have obtained, installed, and used arm braces on pistols in a law-abiding manner. DOJ and ATFE now seek to withdraw those determinations relied upon by millions of Americans and instead proposes an arbitrary and subjective standard that places millions of law-abiding firearms owners at risk of a felony or being required to pay a tax and wait up to a year or more and have the resulting firearms that they already own now be regulated as an SBR.

DOJ and ATFE’s explanation for the proposed rulemaking identifies 2 illegal shootings that have occurred with firearms equipped with arm braces as one of the rationales for this proposed rule. However, DOJ and ATFE in the explanation also states there are between 3 million to 9 million arm braces currently in circulation. This means the concerning criminal use of such braces varies between 0.0000666% to 0.0000222% of all extant braces, which is statistically insignificant by any rational analysis. With 3 to 9 million arm braces in circulation, one may indeed say that arm braces are now “in common use” under the Heller test. Furthermore, it is clear that considering their ultra-low and infrequent usage by criminals per DOJ and ATFE’s own stated analysis, they do not pose an issue as “dangerous”, nor given their popularity and widespread adoption can they be considered to create “unusual weapons” when installed upon a pistol.

Furthermore, the DOJ and ATFE’s proposed worksheet is both arbitrary and capricious in its composition and in it’s stated subjective enforcement. The worksheet criteria makes it highly unlikely that any arm brace, including all those already examined and found by ATFE and DOJ to be an arm brace, when placed on a pistol would not lead to the resulting firearm being classified as an SBR by ATFE and DOJ.

The proposed Worksheet 4999 is clearly arbitrary as one of the points used to determine if a pistol is to be considered an SBR is the presence of iron sights, earning one point out of a possible four towards a finding that a pistol is instead an SBR. ATFE and DOJ should clearly know that iron sights have been present on the vast majority of, if not practically all, handguns sold and produced in the United States for well over two hundred years. As such, making this a point that may classify a firearm as an SBR is inane as such a feature is absolutely normal and standard for handguns. Further, the addition of a red dot or other electronic sight is considered another point towards a determination that a pistol is an SBR. As ATFE and DOJ knows or should know, red dot sights have been a feature of handgun sport competition for decades, and have in the past few years have become prevalent on everyday handguns used for self-defense, competition, and other lawful usage. As such 50% of the possible points to determine if a handgun is an SBR are awarded for standard or normal accessory items that are installed on handguns today. Many of the other proposed criteria such as that setting of an overall length for a pistol are similarly subjective and flawed in that any AR15 pistol with a barrel over 7.5 inches will now be deemed an SBR under these criteria regardless of the type of brace used. None of these criteria are necessary. All ATFE and DOJ truly need to do is determine whether the end point of a pistol is a brace or a stock. If it is a stock then it is an SBR. If instead, the item has instead been previously examined and declared by ATFE to be a brace, not then it is a brace and the resulting firearm is a pistol and not an SBR.

In conclusion, there is simply no justifiable need for this proposed regulation, nor for this subjective criteria. Crimes committed with brace-equipped pistols remain statistically insignificant. The braces are now well and truly in common use on pistols and ATFE has already evaluated and regulatorily declared brace-equipped pistols to not be SBRs and there is no justifiable basis for, nor any need to be changing that relied-upon determination.

While it's unlikely for the comments to have an effect on changing their proposed rule, we might as well make them work for it as they do have to review properly submitted comments.  Note well that telling them to perform anatomically improbable acts upon themselves is not a properly submitted comment and will be deleted.


dub said...

Thank you for doing this. Your comment was alot better than mine would have been, so I copied your comment, made my own edits to it an then posted it to the ATFE comments.

Aaron said...

dub: Feel free to take whatever portions of it you like and make it your own.