By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
In the ongoing pistol brace saga, the ATF has recently published a letter informing of a potential policy change regarding pistol braces for pistol versions of long guns. What the letter confirms is that they intend to classify braced pistols as short-barreled rifles.
It also confirms that one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the nation is apparently run by morons.
Granted, there’s something to be said for the idea that maybe this was coming at some point, and more on that in a second, but it’s certainly the case that these clowns really do have better things they could be doing instead.
If one wanted to take issue with them beyond another encroachment on the rights of legal gun owners, it’s that the ATF is deciding to aggressively enforce laws that don’t actually prevent much, if any, crime from taking place.
It’s one thing to enforce laws that actually prevent crimes or laws that actually prevent people from getting harmed. It’s another to aggressively enforce laws that create victimless crimes.
The letter is currently a draft, which will eventually be posted for public comment before potentially being enacted as policy, can be seen here.
The ATF’s rationale more or less goes like this:
Stabilizing braces can give a firearm a length of pull (distance between the butt and the trigger face) similar or the same as that of a long gun. Since these weapons can also be fitted with various accessories such as an optic, a light and a sling, they may be too heavy to fire with one hand.
Since many people who own these guns do just that, it’s therefore the case that the guns meet the definition of a short-barreled rifle outlined in the National Firearms Act in terms of how they’re used, even if they aren’t marketed as such and otherwise meet the definition of a “pistol.”
Perhaps we can give the ATF this much. It would be disingenuous to say that braced pistols don’t, to some degree, exploit a loophole or a gap in the NFA that allows for a compact long gun to be sold without an SBR tax stamp. Yes, it’s going by the letter of the law, but still.
To what degree that is and you can argue that for yourself, but it doesn’t take much to figure out that an AR pistol is not at all like, say, a Glock 19 or a 1911 and an AR pistol. DUH.
A person could argue that possibly we should have anticipated that they’d crack down eventually.
But that would actually be missing the bigger picture. Not only that, but the ATF enforcing the law in such a manner would be as well.
And what is that bigger picture?
Let us consider, for a moment, what the purpose of the NFA actually is and indeed was at the time of its passage, which the ATF actually cites in the letter. Specifically, it’s to inhibit criminal activity.
When the National Firearms Act of 1934 was passed, there was a real problem with gangsters being better-armed than the police. The typical cop had a .38 or .32 caliber revolver – mechanical speedloaders were decades away – and sometimes a pump shotgun in the trunk.
Some agencies and departments or officers would get Winchester or Remington carbines (Winchester 1905 or Remington Model 8) or the odd lever-action rifle, but point being they were not as well armed as the criminals.
Mafia goons in Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, New York and so on had no trouble affording the eye-watering $200 price tag of a Thompson (almost $4,000 with inflation) and armored cars, being flush with cash during Prohibition.
The NFA was passed to level the playing field and, in fairness, it did. Officer deaths, per the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund, actually declined after 1934; after 247 officer deaths in 1934, LEO deaths in the line of duty declined for the next five consecutive years.
Granted, officers die in the line of duty for more reasons than just being shot by criminals; car accidents are just as frequent a killer of police, but the point here is the NFA did reduce the number of police officers murdered in the line of duty.
Now, why bring that up?
Because the entire point of the NFA is to, again, inhibit criminal activity and AR pistols are generally purchased by the people who aren’t committing the crimes.
Not only that, but the Department of Justice knows this. A 2016 BJS report found only about 1 percent of all inmates in federal or state penitentiaries who committed crimes with a gun that was purchased from a retail source.
In fact, let’s take it a step further. Background checks abrogate the need for the NFA. Again, the purpose of the NFA of 1934 was to make it nigh on impossible for criminals to get machine guns, short-barreled (and therefore more easily concealable) long guns and suppressors.
Criminals don’t use them today. The vast majority of gun crimes are committed with handguns. In other words, the NFA could be repealed because it literally does nothing except raise a minor amount of tax revenue.
It would be one thing if the ATF was strictly enforcing laws that actually impact criminal activity, such as being a lot more hard-edged about straw purchases and so on because criminals really do get guns that way.
Just ask Eric Holder.
By now, it’s no secret that yes, there’s more gun violence in the United States than in any other major western nation, but it is also no secret as to who is doing it and what they’re doing it with.
It’s mostly career criminals, who get guns off the black market or from friends and family, and most of the activity is concentrated in the inner cities.
What that means, of course, is that the ATF – the principle federal law enforcement agency when it comes to gun crime – is concentrating its efforts on tax-raising enforcement rather than, say, combating gun trafficking.
Gun trafficking arms criminals, and people die from it. Joseph William Robert Cyrus Vance William Raymond Hogwallop and his PSA AR pistol is not really a problem, except maybe for his personal hygiene and habit of typing “should of” and “their” instead of “there” on Facebook.
All braced pistols do, at their absolute worst, is deprive the federal government of tax revenue and a pitiful amount of it at that. Closing a few corporate tax loopholes would be a lot less detrimental and more lucrative for them.
In short, the ATF are morons. If this is what our tax dollars are being used for, we deserve our money back. One would hope that even in this foul year of 2020, the supposedly bright people in the federal government would know better and do better – but here we are.
Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.