ATF Says a Quarter Million Guns Registered Under Pistol-Brace Ban

The ATF told The Reload on Friday it has received just over a quarter million applications to register pistol-brace-equipped firearms. Registering the affected guns was one path toward avoiding possible criminal punishment for possessing the guns under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) after the agency implemented a rule reclassifying the firearms as subject to NFA restrictions. The ATF waived the tax requirement for registration to encourage owners to comply before the deadline.

“The final rule provided possessors of such firearms the option to comply with the registration requirements of the National Firearms Act through a tax-free process using either the ATF eForms System or a paper application process with a deadline for such applications of 11:59 PM (ET) on May 31, 2023,” Erik Longnecker, Deputy Chief of the ATF’s Public Affairs Division, told The Reload. “As of June 1, 2023, ATF received 255,162 applications for tax-free registration.”

That number represents just a fraction of the braced guns believed to have been sold in the decade since the ATF first classified a version as outside the scope of the NFA. In the impact assessment for the rule, the ATF estimated that three to seven million devices exist. However, the Congressional Research Service puts the number much higher at somewhere between 10 and 40 million.

That puts the registration rate for pistol-brace-equipped guns at between 0.6 percent and eight percent.

I’m surprised it is this high. The compliance rate for “assault weapon” bans and registrations is in the two to five percent range. And the pistol brace issues is just as bogus and without a serial number on the brace it is much more difficult to track down those who don’t comply.

Had people been able to wait until the court case they could have avoided registration and/or loss of their brace by joining SAF and/or FPC (see here).


6 thoughts on “Defiance

  1. Are we even sure the ATF isn’t just in business to control the dog population?

  2. One explanation for the high number might be found in the suppressor market. As so many trusts have been created for suppressors, why not just roll in an SBR, too?
    That way you can’t get in trouble either way. And if the courts blow the ATF out of the water at a later date? Just build another lower. And leave the SBR lower in the safe.
    Could be I’m full-o-crap too.

  3. I found this terribly obscure document, largely ignored by both the Dem-wing and Rep-wing of the UniParty; it’s called the Constitution of the United States. In it is a section regarding laws passed after the fact:
    Article I, Section 9, Clause 3:
    “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”

    Now if someone could explain to me how a (non-legislated, bureaucratic ukase from an unconstitutional federal agency) regulation carrying criminal penalties, that criminalizes the possession of an item that they themselves previously declared to be legal, is NOT an “ex post facto” (i.e., “after the fact”) law I’d greatly appreciate it.

    Note: I’m just a poor, dumb retired engineer; I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. But this seems pretty clear to me. And how about some poor SOB who bought what he was told was a legal accessory for his pistol, has a copy of the ATF letter to the manufacturer deeming it to be legal, and has then ignored things afterward? I know that there’s that weird “ignorance of the law is no excuse” thing, but tossing someone into prison for failing to keep up with the news strikes me as a little tiny bit excessive.

    • Not to mention in several states the pistol brace rule is an outright ban of a legally owned firearm. There is literally no way to register them and comply because the state itself bans NFA items. Removing the brace might keep the pistol legal but otherwise, it would be a taking under the 5th Amendment. One would need to check state law carefully to ensure the pistol would be still legal to possess (thinking “assault pistol” bans here).

      Here in Maryland, there is a rule that an SBR cannot be shorter than 29 inches overall length. That means several brace-equipped pistols sold legally in the state cannot be registered with the BATFE because such violates State law. The MSP here has stated that is a Federal matter and wasn’t involved which totally glosses over State law and puts the owner in tension between the two. Legally register as a MD-illegal SBR and MSP can nail you for it later. Sure you’ve complied Federally but are forever under a sword of Damocles if you ever get caught innocently with it. Not a taking but a definite Catch-22.

  4. I was considering registering all my Glocks, simply so it’d be legal to ENDO brace them at a future date or stick them in those tactical clamshells.


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