Arm Brace Rule Change
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) is at it again. Their Boston Field Division issued a cease and desist letter on the Q-Honey Badger. Once again, they changed their mind on one of the most common attachments on the market today—the pistol brace. Do not rest easy; the ATF is coming for your AR pistol.
By way of background, Q, LLC manufactures and sells an AR-style pistol they call the Honey Badger. The Honey Badger features a 7-inch barrel, an AR-style receiver, and a two-position pistol stabilizing brace manufactured by SB tactical. The overall length of this firearm is listed on their website as 20 to 25 inches.
Unfortunately for the Honey Badger and the American public, Q, LLC received a not-so-sweet cease and desist letter from the ATF. The ATF stated, without further explanation, “[The] ATF believes these firearms are designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder.” Therefore, the letter said the company is required to cease and desist all manufacture of the firearm.
This is a departure from their previous rulings on stabilizing braces, when the ATF specifically stated that the addition of a stabilizing brace to an AR pistol did not make the firearm into a short-barreled rifle. However, it appears they have changed their mind. You might be wondering: how can the ATF do this? As discussed in previous blog articles, AOW Loophole and the Origin 12 shotgun, the ATF letters are interpretations of the law and are subject to change.
This ruling is a cause for concern. Possession of an unregistered short-barreled rifle is a federal felony, subject to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years imprisonment. Many Americans relied on the previous rulings and bought or built AR-style pistols, utilizing barrels less than 16 inches in length and the SB tactical brace—just like the Honey Badger. If you were one of these law-abiding citizens, this letter should scare you. You may need to register your firearm as an NFA item.
Due to this bizarre and unprecedented situation, there could be several practical solutions. One such solution may be, a person possessing what is now considered to be unregistered SBR could immediately disassemble the item, separate the parts, and apply for a tax stamp utilizing an ATF Form 1.
Author: Curtis Reynolds
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