US Gun Schemes Illustrate the Foolishness of Firearms Regulations

Rules range from absurd to appalling without respect for civil liberties or basic logic.

As expected, the Biden administration released proposed new rules for pistol braces and model legislation for "red flag" laws that make it easier to confiscate privately owned firearms. Also needless to say, the proposals are ludicrous. On the one hand, they're pointless and nitpicky rules that are ultimately unenforceable, and on the opposite hand they're dangerous end-runs around due process of law that threaten fundamental rights. Taken together, they illustrate the unserious nature of gun regulations which are crafted more to appeal to political audiences than to realize positive results.

The silliness inherent during this kind of rulemaking is clear from the Department of Justice's announcement of "a notice of proposed rulemaking that creates clear that when individuals use accessories to convert pistols into short-barreled rifles, they need to suit the heightened regulations on those dangerous and simply concealable weapons."

For those new this controversy, stabilizing braces were developed to assist disabled veterans more accurately shoot pistols (usually those built around AR-15 receivers) one-handed. The "problem" is that a lot of resemble shoulder stocks and may be utilized in that role. By no means does an attachment that lets a pistol be fired from the shoulder make it especially "dangerous and simply concealable." Instead, it makes it less concealable since it's a brace sticking off the rear. Braces do render pistols more accurate, which might be interpreted as dangerous if you're upset by shooters hitting where they aim.

But a pistol which will be fired from the shoulder is arguably a short-barreled rifle under the National Firearms Act (NFA), and subject to special restrictions, taxes, and registration requirements that do not apply to regular pistols or regular rifles but do apply to (among other weapons) rifles with barrels shorter than 16 inches. These regulations aren't evidence that short-barreled rifles are particularly dangerous, but that, like many laws, the NFA is thoroughly idiotic.

Braces are treated as legal devices for years but have recently been targeted by the type of individuals who see advantage in pretending that a firearm with a buttstock and a brief barrel is more "dangerous and simply concealable" than stock-less pistols and long-barreled rifles. In compliance with White House direction, proposed rules from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) would impose new requirements to work out if braced pistols achieve Great Pumpkin-level sincerity or are super-dangerous and concealable short-barreled rifles in disguise.

Among other tests, the rule would set the utmost length of a pistol at 26 inches (because 27 inches is super-dangerous and concealable). These tests add up to a four-point assessment, starting from "1 point: Minor Indicator (the weapon might be fired from the shoulder)" to "4 points: Decisive Indicator (the weapon is meant and intended to be fired from the shoulder)" with four points the last word sign that a firearm crosses the road into very naughty territory indeed.

The ATF estimates that between 3 million and seven million braces owned by a minimum of 1.4 million individuals are going to be affected should the new rules be adopted and proposes four possible scenarios in response. Owners could: surrender firearms with attached braces to the ATF for disposal, convert firearms into long-barreled rifles, apply for NFA registration in order that the supposedly "dangerous and simply concealable" firearms are taxed and registered, or remove or alter affected braces.

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