Sunday, February 5, 2023

Our Next Steps with the ATF Stabilizer Brace Decision

Our Next Steps with the ATF Stabilizer Brace Decision

Despite actually showing a friend Biden’s own website and pre-election step-by-step plan to ban nearly all modern guns in existence, my friend said “they are not coming for your guns.” Well, I sincerely believe my friend is a brainwashed idiot at this point, because when the president publishes a plan to take away our 2A rights and then immediately rallies an anti-gun caucus in the congress and senate less that a month after inauguration to launch a barrage of proposed anti-2A bills, then illegally wields the power of the ATF… he is most definitely following his plan to take away our guns. Let’s face it, we have never had such an assault on our 2A rights, but there is potential light at the end of a very long tunnel. The June 2022 “Bruen” Supreme Court Bruen Decision actually expanded and guaranteed 2A rights and paired with the Heller decision we have never had such an opportunity to reclaim our constitutional freedoms.

With both the Heller and Bruen decisions on our side, we likely will win in the courts and potentially even have an opportunity to roll back many restrictions. We may even have a chance to remove the entire “F” in ATF. Notably, that is a very long path of court cases and in the interim of what could be a five-plus year set of court battles won and lost, we lose so much. Despite the highest court in the land saying 2A rights are guaranteed, many states are still fighting one court case after another based on state level 2A rights infringements ranging from firearms ownership and purchase restrictions to really basic rights on concealed carry and right to personal protection. Many attorneys are now noting that technically the Heller and Bruen decisions make all gun laws illegal and unconstitutional including the NFA, ATF, and GCA… indeed a long and massive legal fight has begun at the Federal, State and local levels.

ATF Wasting $ Billions for What?

Bump Stocks are a great example of the millions of dollars in products which were just cut up or surrendered. The bump stock ban also destroyed many good and legal businesses all while the court battles were fought on the illegal overreaching ATF ruling. In Jan 2023, the US Appeals court blocked the ATF bump stock ban and still the ATF has not lifted its restrictions on its site. Will we again have bump stocks? Time will tell. Let’s not forget the bump stock ban was signed off by Trump, a “conservative” Republican devoid of any real gun knowledge beyond aristocratic estate shotguns. Just because a politician says they have guns, does not mean they know guns. He just bowed easily to political pressure from the gun control lobby, but of course Biden and his peers have been hell bent on gun control his entire career… and tell me again why we banned bumpstocks? It was just one guy right… just one?

ATF’s Magic Regulation Power

Over the years the ATF has magically added to their regulation power without legally being provided that power legislatively. They based these “new interpreted laws” based on clarifications, expanded definitions, and interpretations of the GCA and NFA laws included, lightning links, bump stocks, forced reset triggers, suppressor-like technology, AR pistols, “ghost guns”, and now stabilizing braces. Some of those battles we won but most we lost due to the courts wide interpretations of the second amendment. Hopefully, the Heller and Bruen decisions will help. At some point the same attacks are expected for Shockwaves, all modern sporting rifles and pistols, and magazine and ammunition restrictions despite all of those regulationtion falling outside the ATF’s actual power to make law. This is to reduce crime? Even a six year old would cry bullshit if you explained it to them, because even he knows bad people do bad things.

The Harm of the ATF

Over the years homes, properties, businesses have been raided by the ATF, dogs shot, sex abuse (April 2022), allegedly hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, impacts to livelihoods, women and children burned alive and many other horrific senseless deaths. Remember Waco TX where the ATF murdered 76 men women and children of which many were burned alive who allegedly had illegal firearms. Why was the ATF there again killing and burning men, women, and children alive… ah yes they thought they had some illegal guns and they were covering up a sting operation. Totally makes sense these idiots have power.

But doesn’t the ATF get Bad Guys?

Well… not really. The ATF conviction rate is insanely low for consumers. According to their own stats nearly all of their actual cases are firearms records related to manufacturers and FFL dealers. For consumers, courts typically side with defendants against vague, confusing, and poorly written regulation and in many cases courts note the ATF did not even have the regulatory power to “make law”. Again though, damage gets done, livelihood are destroyed, people lose their jobs, deaths occur, and usually most and in an acquittal but the ATF never pays the price.

On top of murdering and burning alive men, women and children like they did in Waco, the ATF als conducted illegal straw purchases through firearms dealers where actual real production guns were ultimately given to unregistered and untraceable Mexican Drug lords - AKA the ATF Gunwalking Scandal. 

Of course the target “Gangstas” and “Mass Murderers” using the same paperwork records falsification process they lock up manufacturers and FFL dealers for in things like the  ATF ``Operation Fast and Furious” where the ATF flooded Mexico with actual untraceable guns which have allegedly resulted in over 1000 deaths. Tell me again why do we have this federal bureau?

Now On to Stabilizing Braces

When we look at the ATF decision on Stabilizing Braces, no one can really believe the ATF could be allowed to just ignore, void, and reverse 10 years of their own written design approval letters provided to not only various manufactures, but also individuals. Of course, even those without legal training would note these letters are legally binding as personal and business investment are made in these products - legally it is called detrimental reliance. 

ATF - The Mind of A Teenage Girl

Having had a teenage girl, I can say the ATF’s decision making ability is marginally less definitive than a teen girl. If you have followed along the saga since 2012 of ATF drifting back and forth seemingly daily on the legality of shouldering a stabilizing brace, you might understand my observation. 

A congressional research service noted that the ATF’s estimate of around 7M stabilizing braces is actually extremely low and could be as high as 40M in circulation. Doing some math, this is easily near a billion dollars based on the cost of nice braces these days. This is not a trivial amount of investment businesses and individuals have made around this product and the firearms they are attached to. We have all detrimentally relied on all the ATF opinions and decisions dating back to 2012… over a decade ago. Let’s be totally blunt, this is a dick move for the ATF especially considering they know they do not have the power to create law which is what they are doing. They certainly do not have the legal power to make decisions on firearms accessories or regulate how a firearm or accessory might actually be used.

Even if We Ultimately Win, the Cost is High

Like most, I am hopeful with the bump stock ban getting shot down in the Jan 2023 US Appeals court that this begins an avalanche of pro-2A resurgence. Even with the backing of Heller and the Supreme Court Bruen decision on 2A rights, the damage to the industry in the short term is still horrific. Manufacturers will stop development on an entire set of large format pistols that we now have all fallen in love with. In the AR market, barrel manufacturers are already selling and clearance pricing pistol length AR barrels and reducing production. Same with shorter handguards and the entire breadth of pistol braces and secondary accessories focused on the AR pistol market. Even if we win, the ramp back up in production and net new product development will take years. Many manufacturers who had just jumped into the market with manufacturing investment in new fun large format pistol models will never take those chances again until the market has fully stabilized.

There are likely a huge number of owners who will panic in a moment to be uber legal and compliant and start destroying, turning in millions of dollars of braces or submitting ATF SBR registrations right away even before we see what decision the courts will deliver. I think this is completely the wrong message to send and gives the anti-2A exactly what they want; a registry and proof of willing compliance. I think we need to fight like hell to assure the ATF power is not only reigned in but potentially eliminated completely. If you really look at the history of gun control and the ATF, it was completely born from fear mongering of the 1929 St Valentine's Day massacre and Bonnie and Clyde. In fact most rationale for the 1934 NFA was specifically cited based on the guns used in both bloody rampages. Did it stop murders.. nope not a bit.

That fear was fed and gun control and the ATF’s power grew. The ATF will likely attempt to make some examples of people which will cost those people their livelihoods, life savings in legal fees, and potentially jail time while the legal process grinds along slowly. Thankfully, the ATF has at least omitted a destruction order for stabilizer braces. This means for a few years while the legal process decides the ATF was wrong, we can just remove the braces to be compliant and drop them into a storage box. Hopefully at some point we can just slide them back on.

The US Supreme Court Bruen Opinion

In the Bruen opinion, Thomas made clear that, henceforth, the Court’s conservative majority would judge all firearms regulations by a new originalist standard: If there is no historical proof of a gun law linked to 1791 or 1868—the years when the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, respectively, were ratified—then any modern law restricting firearms is liable to be ruled unconstitutional. This opens up options to legally challenge ALL gun laws on the books, because unless the second amendment is actually “amended”, this is the standard by which firearm laws will be judged… and there was no GCA (Gun Control Act), NFA, or ATF in 1791.

What can we do?

Call your Attorney General and let them know that if they are not behind the lawsuits getting filed against the ATF stabilizing brace decisions then they will not get your support in the next election. Explain that from your perspective, you will not allow them to just sit on the fence and need to pick a side.  The same goes for calls to your Governor, senators, and congressmen.

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