New 2023 ATF Pistol Brace Rule.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted its 2023 ATF Pistol Brace Rule “Final Rule” on pistol stabilizing braces to the Federal Register on January 13, 2023. Many are concerned that this new rule could turn millions of previously legally owned firearms into National Firearms Act (NFA) regulated short–barreled rifles (SBRs), and the people that possess those firearms into felons.
What is the 2023 ATF Pistol Brace Rule?
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rule 2021R-08F called “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces”, is the latest ATF pistol brace rule. This rule aimed to clarify if a firearm was made, designed, and intended to be fired from your shoulder, effectively classifying millions of pistol braced pistols as SBRs which are subject to the regulations of the NFA. This 293 page ATF pistol brace rule uses vague language about what constitutes an SBR, including eye relief of the optic, the weight of the platform, and the general public’s likely use of the weapon. The new 2023 ATF pistol brace rule has many asking, will pistol braces be grandfathered in? The answer is NO, the ATF will not be grandfathering in any pistol braced firearm configurations that they deem to circumvent the NFA.
Are Pistol Braces Illegal Now?
The ATF clarified that pistol braces themselves are not subject to any sort of ban or regulation, as the agency does not regulate accessories. However, the 2023 ATF pistol brace rule does specify that many braced firearms, i.e.: firearms with an attached stabilizing or pistol brace, may be subject to the NFA as they could be SBRs. Weirdly the 2021R-08F pistol brace rule does not specify what exactly makes a braced weapon an SBR, giving the ATF complete discretion to apply the rule as they see fit to individual examples, and you don’t want that. In a practical sense your firearm is almost certainly an SBR according to this new 2023 pistol brace rule. On the ATF’s website is a list of examples and configurations deemed to be SBRs but there is currently no list of ATF approved pistol braces. If you are curious if your specific configuration qualifies as an SBR, you can submit your firearm to ATF’s Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) for classification.
Pistol Brace Amnesty Period.
Included in new 2023 pistol brace rule 2021R-08F is a 120-day forbearance period, beginning the day the new rule was officially added to the Federal Register. This 2023 pistol ATF pistol brace amnesty period will serve as a small window to give owners of these firearms time to comply with the new definition and rule by either removing the pistol brace, installing a barrel 16” or longer, registering the firearm as an SBR, or destroying the braced firearm. After the forbearance period concludes, firearms that are determined to be SBRs will be treated as unregistered NFA items, and penalties for possessing an unregistered NFA item include fines of up to $250,000, up to 10 years in federal prison, and the loss of firearm ownership rights.
Do You Need a Tax Stamp Now?
YES, if your braced firearm meets the new criteria to be considered an SBR it will require a tax stamp to remain in that configuration. The new 2023 ATF Pistol Brace rule does state that during the forbearance period, the ATF will waive the cost of an NFA tax stamp for those who choose to register their firearm as a SBR. Registration can be done as an individual or a trust as long as the trust owned the firearm prior to the final rule being added to the register. This registration would be done via an ATF Form 1, which is the form required to manufacture an NFA item.
If you have any questions about this new new 2023 ATF Pistol Brace Rule please feel free to reach out to us an schedule a consultation HERE. You can also use our NFA Gun Trust builder site to create your own firearm trust which will save you a little money but still deliver a very high quality legally binding product. You can find the NFA Gun Trust builder site HERE. The NFA Gun Trust builder site also offers an attorney review option as well if you want a set of attorney eyes to make sure everything that you enter into the site is in proper form.