ATF’s Latest Failed End Run Attempt to Curtail Gun Rights Makes America More Volatile

The May 31 deadline to register pistol braces came and went. With more 30-million pistol braces in circulation, the ATF reports that a quarter of a million pistol brace owners complied. For those not familiar with the issue, a pistol brace is a stock designed for use with AR “pistols.” Pistol braces allowed owners to have some type of stock on shorter AR15s without having to register them as a short barrel rifle (SBR).

atf gun control

Americans' Message to the ATF—

Though they seem to “pass laws” and “make rulings,” to be clear, the ATF is not a legislative or judicial body. But that's a discussion for another time.

Despite a lack of authority, they can scare people into compliance. If the ATF's numbers are accurate, the quarter million who registered represent only 0.83% of those targeted. That works out to over 29-million owners who took their chances and chose not to register their braces.

I'm no legal expert, but this seems like a failed attempt to create a “law,” or at least an excuse to pursue enforcement action against tens of millions of Americans who became felons overnight by simply refusing to comply.

If the above makes sense to you, you may work in the ATF.

Now What?

The logistics of pursuing enforcement action on more than 29M citizens is, to put it mildly, daunting, bordering on unrealistic.

ATF has 5,099 total full-time employees and 2,586 special agents. Despite being grossly outgunned and outnumbered in this scenario, they'll inevitably still pursue action when possible. After all, this is the agency that has shot puppies and killed cats, so anything is possible.

This could prove a pivotal moment in US history, and it really could go either way. Currently, non-compliant pistol brace owners considerably outnumber the ATF. But the federal government can always bolster those numbers by teaming up with other federal agencies, as well as state and local law enforcement.

However, they may not find willing assistance in some areas, as 26 states joined gun groups26 states joined gun groups to block this pistol brace ban. The ATF might find further non-compliance in attempting to enlist law enforcement agencies in these states to assist with enforcement action. And, if the treasure trove of anti-ATF memes readily available in gun circles from Fudd sites to more mainstream sites like Reddit are any indication, some people may be willing to die on this hill.

I Hope I am Completely Wrong, But—

By labeling anyone who disagrees with their politics as an “extremist,” the government may very well force Americans into violence against their fellow countrymen. I hope it doesn't come to this, but the last few years have not left me in an optimistic frame of mind.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment section.

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About J. Gibson

Technology, history, and criminology geek with more than a decade in physical and digital security roles.


  1. N. Buford on June 12, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    Mr. Gibson, thank you for a well written & informative article. This definitely clarifies some of the murky details of the ATF’s logic. 🫢 Did I just use ATF & logic in the same sentence? Impossible!
    Most all of us know this is only a game of smoke & mirrors & the ultimate intention is far more extreme than banning pistol braces.
    You did ask for our opinion on this matter. However, I feel certain that any site/group that is a bastion of the 2nd Amendment will be at the top of the list of any of our excellent government alphabet groups to monitor for threats, Or comments. Taking that into consideration, I don’t feel that I have an opinion.
    This is where I pause for a sarcastic chuckle at the millions of Americans who are now felons. I could only imagine that if they were to be prosecuted, fined & possibly imprisoned, who would work to pay the taxes of the our wonderful government entities that keep me feeling so safe every night?

    • unsoundwon on June 17, 2023 at 8:06 am

      Well said. I figure, just remove the brace. Good to go eh?
      If ATF knocks on my door, I will need to report a most unfortunate accident at the lake involving all my firearms, ammunition and a XL range bag. Tragic! 😔

  2. Gary on June 28, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    This is only the beginning of the overall threat to our Second amendment! This Administration in DC and all three digit letter officers who believe that (WE THE PEOPLE) are not the GOVERNMENT and they are!
    If the SECOND AMENDMENT IS TAKEN OUT, the rest of the AMENDMENTS CAN NOT BE PROTECTED! That’s exactly what these officials and three letter officers want so they can demand obedience or take any person to jail that will not comply! Patriots for this UNITED STATE OF AMERICA WHO KNOW WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN! So have fun trying DNC AND RINO,s you are all A(JACKA$$ if you do)!!! But you already know that.!

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