Via Uncle, Prince Law.
ATF is at it again in their latest determination later. Previously, I discussed their determination in relation to the sample that Black Aces Tactical submitted and hinted that ATF might be shifting its view on stabilizing braces …
The letter notes that the literature included with the sample states the Stabilizer is not designed nor intended to enable a user to fire a weapon from the shoulder (Page 1 of the letter). FTISB correctly finds that attaching the Stabilizer does not turn the pistol into a “firearm” as defined by NFA, but then states “provided the Blade AR Pistol Stabilizer is used as originally designed and NOT as a shoulder stock.”
The issue with FTISB’s latest determination is they are attempting to classify a firearm based on the end users use of an attachment designed and intended to be used in a certain way.
[ … ]
The letter to FTISB stated that the device was not designed OR intended to enable a user to fire a weapon from the shoulder. So how does FTISB come to the conclusion that an end user shouldering the Stabilizer turns the firearm into an item regulated by NFA?
[ … ]
Allow me to pose this hypothetical to you using the logic in this latest determination letter. If an individual attaches the Stabilizer to his AR pistol, goes to the range, shoots it as the manufacturer intended and then hands it to his friend who shoulders it, did it just become an illegal short barreled rifle?
I know that the good and smart folks from Prince Law are attempting to make sense of an arcane law and regulation thereto. That’s their profession and they’re good at it. And to be clear (although unrelated exactly to this post at Prince Law), lawyers do things that sometimes puzzle us, like argue for or against something before a court and then argue (in case the court rejects that argument) something that undercuts the first argument to see if the court accepts that position, as if they didn’t believe the first argument. But the problem is that none of this (stabilizer brace ruling) makes any sense.
Let’s circle around on this one again. The problem is that none of this makes any sense. It’s similar to the same thing we observed with the sporting purposes test for the importability ruling for shotguns.
On page 4 the following statements are made: “The 1989 study then examined the scope of “sporting purposes” as used in the statute. The study noted that “[t]he broadest possible interpretation could take in virtually any lawful activity or competition which any person or groups of persons might undertake. Under this interpretation, any rifle could meet the “sporting purposes” test. The 1989 study concluded that a broad interpretation would render the statute useless.”
Wrapped up in this paragraph we have not only an amusing logical blunder but also the real crux of the problem. Authors have presupposed the answer (so-called circular reasoning) at which they must arrive, i.e., the statute must remain useful. Thus, all interpretations by ATF are biased to yield that result. It is not the responsibility of the ATF nor is it within the purview of their authority to ensure the continued usefulness of a statute, if in fact it is rendered useless by advances, common practices, evolution in sporting, or lack of wise crafting of the statute (such as the fact that nowhere in this discussion of “sporting purposes” is there any latitude given for personal protection and home defense under the second amendment to the constitution of the United States). This single paragraph renders the study itself as useless as the statute has become.
The entire NFA is useless, (in the main) unenforceable, and nonsensical. It needs to be repealed, along with the GCA. This ruling by the ATF on stabilizer braces is yet another demonstration of that fact. Fortunately, we have another option.
In each case, Bloomberg understood his enemies, their foibles and their failures far better than they understood him. So he won and they lost.
But then something happened that Bloomberg in his arrogance never expected, something that the “mainstream gun rights organizations” for their part never expected either — in every single state where Bloomberg had “won,” it turned out that the victims of his unconstitutional laws had other ideas. And they didn’t need “leaders” like Wayne LaPierre and Alan Gottlieb to lead them.
The “I Will Not Comply” movement in the various affected states began the instant Bloomberg’s Intolerable Acts were passed. Individual firearm owners, led here and there by some courageous activists of the smaller rights groups who were not so worried about raising money and preserving their press image than their “betters,” simply announced that they would not obey such unconstitutional laws.
In the case of a stabilizer brace (and I don’t currently have one and I also have no AR pistol or SBR), if my home was threatened by invaders intent on doing harm, I would use whatever weapon was within reach, including a pistol with a stabilizer brace, and deploy it the way I deemed best suited for my own safety and the safety of my loved ones. If that meant shouldering a pistol, they so be it.
The folks at Prince Law will not argue that way because it isn’t their job. But it’s our job to disobey unjust laws.