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Sig Braces, ATF rulings and the Inimicable Mr. Kingery

In light of yesterday's ATF letter regarding the SB15 brace, it's worth noting a few things. Firstly, those of you running around like chickens with their heads cut off, just stop. It's embarrassing to see grown men flap like middle school girls, so grow a pair.

Secondly, the missive sent to FFL holders from Max Kingery at ATF Tech Branch was an opinion, and you know what they say about opinions and assholes. If the ATF were confident that what they were peddling would hold up in a court of law, they would have issued a ruling, rather than opinion. Then they would have published it on their website for all to see. As yet, they haven't (see above).

Now that we've cleared our throats, let's look at the real implications of this.

The first is that the SB15 remains perfectly legal to buy, own and install on an AR15 pistol. Nothing in the current opinion has changed this. What has changed is that a mid level government functionary in a cheap suit and bad haircut has decided that he can dictate to American citizens how they may use their lawfully owned property. Apparently, the role of the legislative branch was never taught in Max's civics classes.

I'll take the liberty of quoting Mr. Kingery.

“The pistol stabilizing brace was neither ‘designed' nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock, and therefore use as a shoulder stock constitutes a ‘redesign' of the device because a possessor has changed the very function of the item. Any individual letters stating otherwise are contrary to the plain language of the NFA, misapply Federal law, and are hereby revoked.”

Quite apart from the painful flip flop from your previously stated position (that is your signature on the letter you sent to Sgt Bradley last April, isn't it Max?), you've just opened up a big ol' can of worms. Here are a few choice ones;

1. According to 18 U.S. Code § 921, the term “handgun” means ‘a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.'

There's that ‘D' word again! So I guess you'll now be prosecuting anyone who has the audacity to put their support hand on the weapon.

2. The AR15's receiver extension or buffer tube, like the SB15 is most definitely not designed as stock, yet in FTB #99146, you ruled that firing a weapon from a particular position, such as placing the buffer tube against the shoulder did not change the classification of the weapon. Clearly, there's incongruity here, so which one is it?

3. Let's go back to 18 U.S. Code § 921, where a the term “rifle” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder. So according to your logic, if I shoot my bolt gun one handed, I've just made a pistol.

4. If I shoot with a plate carrier, the shoulder straps fall naturally on my, well, shoulders. As a result,this forces my AR buffer tube closer to the centerline of my body. Can the ATF please rule at what point the weapon ceases to be ‘shouldered' and therefore becomes legal again? And while you're at it, let me know how many angels can dance on pin.

Finally, how in the name of 8 pound 6 ounce baby Jesus do you douchebags hope to enforce this bullshit?

All of this is somewhat strange, given that the ATF Tech Branch have in the past been pretty even handed towards the whole Sig Brace issue. Were I a gambling man headed to Vegas in the very near future (oh, wait…), I would put money on someone higher up the food chain yanking Max Kingery's leash to get him to completely contradict his previous opinions.

I wonder who that might be…

RECOIL will continue to cover this story in the coming weeks. Class action suit, anyone?

SIG-SAUER-SB15-Arm-Brace 2

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