I have seen various estimates of the percentage of pistol brace owners who have complied with the new BATFE rule that deems braced pistols to be subject to prohibition or registration as Short Barreled Rifles (SBR) under the National Firearms Act (NFA).
The most defensible estimates seem to be around 2.5% compliance. The most generous estimates come in near 8% compliance, while other estimates come in as low as .6% (yes, 6/10ths of one percent).
Nobody really knows for sure, but whatever numbers you believe, it seems apparent that there is wholesale noncompliance. This just proves the old adage that stupid laws breed disrespect for the law.
We know that just over 250,000 braced pistols have been registered as SBRs. The Congressional Research Service estimates(embedded below) that there are between 10 and 40 million pistol braces in private ownership in the U.S. Suppose half of the high number, or 20 million, is correct. Suppose half of those owners have become compliant by destroying their braces, surrendering them to the BATFE, attaching a 16″ upper to a braced lower, or other means. Yeah, right. That’s a stretch.
Given the remaining pool of 10 million brace owners and 250,000 who registered SBRs is what gets us to about 2.5% overt compliance.
That gets us to 97.5% NONcompliance. Thus, stupid laws simply breed disrespect for the law. In this situation, this breeding makes mosquitoes look slow and unsuccessful.
What? Not concerned as long as you are allowed to possess your over-and-under shotgun for bird hunting? Just wait for the administrative rule change declaring your favorite fowling or trap and skeet gun to be a trench gun and, therefore, a “destructive device” subject to felony prosecution for possession. Need only your bolt-action rifle for deer and elk hunting? Watch as those are administratively declared to be “sniper rifles” and suddenly quite illegal to possess.
There is a reason why this fight over pistol braces is essential and why the BATFE’s ability to turn millions of lawful gun owners into federal felons with the stroke of an administrative pen is an unacceptable hard crossing of a double-yellow line.
It will be interesting to see how this wholesale noncompliance with the BATFE’s pistol brace rule plays out. That and magazine capacity, semi-auto function, “safe storage,” mandatory insurance, forced reset triggers, key cards, bump stocks, [firearms ID cards, pistol purchase permits], and more. Stay tuned. It is getting spicy.
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
Congressional Research Service Handguns, Stabilizing Braces, And Related Components
About Montana Shooting Sports Association
The Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. For more information, visit: www.mtssa.org.