TOPEKA (KSNT) – Sen. Roger Marshall, one of the state’s Republican senators, is in opposition to the ATFs rule 2021R-08 regulating firearms with “pistol braces.” His Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today (SHORT) Act would remove taxation and regulation of firearms such as short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns and any other weapons.
“Finalization of this pistol brace rule represents the worst fears of gun owners across the country,” Marshall said on his website. “The SHORT Act will protect Americans from the anti-2nd Amendment gun registry that the ATF is abusing the National Firearms Act to create. This Congress, I challenge my colleagues in both chambers to make protecting Americans’ 2nd Amendment Rights a priority and sign onto this legislation that will stop the ATF’s pistol brace rule in its tracks.”
The ATF has provided an amnesty period to register weapons equipped with braces. Firearm owners are expected to register their guns equipped with stabilizing braces by May 31 or they will be in violation of the National Firearms Act.
The rule 2021R-08 amends the ATF’s regulations to clarify when a rifle is designed, made or intended to be fired from the shoulder and determine if these weapons are considered a “rifle” or a “short-barreled rifle”.
“You can register the gun, destroy the gun, give them the gun and I think you can modify it too,” Ozawkie business owner Tony Stein of Free State Armament said. “But there’s no grandfathering.”
Firearms with a barrel length of fewer than 16 inches and a total overall length of fewer than 26 inches are considered short-barreled rifles and require an ATF Form 1 to be submitted along with a $200 tax stamp. The amnesty period would waive the $200 tax stamp for registering the firearms. Before the rule, firearms equipped with a stabilizing brace under the length requirements were considered pistols and didn’t require a Form 1 registration or tax stamp to be paid.
Stabilizing braces, also known as pistol braces, are accessories that attach to a firearm’s rear and allow the gun to be fired single-handed. Of the designs described in the rule, “fin-type” designs incorporate a thin “blade” designed to rest against the shooter’s arm. “Cuff-type” designs are the more prevalent form of stabilizing brace and typically envelop the forearm and use straps to limit movement of the cuff.
“Sometimes it takes six months to a year before you’re approved and that doesn’t really work out when you only have 120 days to get the thing finished,” Stein said. “It would virtually become illegal in 120 days, and you’ll never get an answer back. There’s going to be a bit of a lapse in there where your gun would actually be illegal.”
The ATF responded to the registration times stating, “as long as the form is submitted by May 31, and the person can legally possess such a firearm in their state, the processing time does not matter.”
A table on page 47 of the 2021R-08 rule provides a summary of the affected population and costs. Between 3 million and 7 million braces have been sold by 8 brace manufacturers. 3,881 short-barreled rifle manufacturers have used the braces on their firearms. There are 13,210 firearm dealers and 1.4 million firearm owners affected by the rule.
“I had pistols we’d manufactured that had braces on them,” Stein said. “As of now we can’t sell them. If they’re outlawed, we’re left holding the bag with this material, all the components, buffer tubes, braces themselves, we’d be stuck with all that and we’re a small shop anyways.”
Some alternatives to registering the firearms with a Form 1 are, removing the brace and disposing or altering them in such a way they cannot be reattached, abandoning the rifle to the ATF, replacing the short barrel with a 16-inch or longer barrel, or destroying the firearm.
Kansas has joined 24 other states in a lawsuit against the ATF, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Director of the ATF Steven Dettelbach. The lawsuit purports the rule 2021R-08 vests the ATF with unbound discretion and will result in the forfeiture of over 750,000 firearms and cost the private sector somewhere between two and five billion dollars. West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming are members of the plaintiffs.