Legal Brief’s Insight Into The Sig Brace And The ATF Might Be Wrong?

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Adam Kraut, a 2A lawyer with Prince Law Offices, has been crushing it with Jon Patton of The Gun Collective in their legal side of shows dubbed The Legal Brief. In their most recent video, Adam goes over the legality of making a firearm with an arm brace. While a lot of the content is something we have heard in some form or another, Adam brings up an very interesting opinion. Note that he and I said “opinion”. It is his opinion that the ATF is incorrect in their narrow focus of redesigning and intent. Adam brings up an example where someone buys an pistol that was made from factory with an arm brace. Take which ever gun you can think of. Sig MPX, Sig AR pistols, plus a whole array of other pistols with factory braces. Now that you have a factory made pistol with factory installed brace you have not redesigned the brace since you did not make it or install the brace. If you shouldered this factory made weapon you haven’t redesigned it, you simply misused it. Since the ATF is particular on the definition of the vocabulary they use, Adam’s point does make sense. However in the video he states that the ATF does not agree and a court may or may not agree. Hence why there are lawyers to argue the point. While Adam’s opinion is just that, it is an educated opinion and one from a 2A lawyer. It is certainly food for thought.

 



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • TheNotoriousIUD

    First off I feel so sorry for the poor unfortunate souls who must live in this firearm purgatory.
    Neither a true pistol or rifle but the worst elements of both.

    Now, do people really get locked up for shouldering these things? If so, how? Are there ATF agents at the range hanging out? Do range officers report it?

    • ostiariusalpha

      They mostly just care about if you shoulder it in the commission of a crime, then they can tack on extra charges. There’s always that one vindictive, petty agent that will stalk anyone they see with a brace to try and catch them shouldering it.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Not worth it.
        What kind of time do you get?
        I would literally shoulder it every time. Such a stupid law.

        • De Facto

          10 years and $100k fine.
          wikipedia (.) org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act#Criminal_penalties

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Lol
            Over a stupid useless pistol/rifle.

          • Mack

            Max of 10 years and $100k fine. Most people that break NFA laws either unknowingly or are not using the weapon in any kind of crime, get slaps on the wrist.

            Just had a guy walk in to my store who had an ex make some very wild claims on him that ended up getting his guns seized. He was a collector and thought if assembled a full auto thompson, but just made it inoperable, that he would be fine. (receiver was just tacked back together from what i recall). when the guns were seized, he was told he was in violation of the NFA act. He got $400 dollar fine and had to destroy the one gun, nothing else happend.

        • Road

          The best part is, it’s not even a law. It was an interpretation from some “acting” technology officer from the ATF. He simply wrote a letter stating that shouldering the brace constitutes a “redesign” of the brace, making it a shoulder stock, and thus, subject to NFA controls.

          It’s such a steaming pile of BS. Would this apply in any other context? Ever? If I place my cell phone on the passenger seat of my car while driving, has the seat been “redesigned” into a cell phone holder?

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Life is easier when you expect nothing from the government to make sense.

          • Mystick

            Furthermore, it applies to one brand/make and not another, even though both are functionally identical.

    • There’s a Predator drone over every outdoor range just waiting to see it touch your shoulder.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Is that what those f-ckers are doing??
        I thought they were following me because I blew thru the toll booth.

      • valorius

        post a video of you shouldering a braced AR pistol, and send it to the ATF. If they dont arrest you, then we’ll all breathe easy.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      To my knowledge no one has ever been prosecuted.

    • Bill

      Actually, I’ve starting to transition from a scoffer to a true believer. Of course it’s ludicrous to think that its an actual “arm brace,” but it provides near-SBR performance with none of the regulatory downsides.

      I still haven’t found the actual USC or CFR section that makes shouldering, whatever that means, a braced pistol a crime and what the penalty is. I’m slightly more worried about catching Zika than getting busted for holding a pistol wrong.

  • KestrelBike

    Oooh, never heard of that channel, will subscribe, thx!

    • It’s new and it’s VERY well done.

      • Nicholas C

        Yeah they have great content.

  • nova3930

    Wake me up when ATF actually goes after someone for shouldering a brace.

    • De Facto

      Thing is, the unlucky gun owner who becomes the test case will have 10 years, 100k in fines, and complete loss of firearms and voting privileges hanging in the balance. I’m not willing to go anywhere near that, infinitesimally small chance though it may be.

      • Ranger Rick

        Don’t forget the legal fees and incarceration time.

      • valorius

        This. None of that is worth it so my AR can be 6″ shorter, have much shorter range, vastly greater blast, and be far less powerful.

    • valorius

      Make a video on Youtube of yourself shouldering a braced “pistol”, and send the link to the ATF.

      Then you can be the test case. I promise we’ll all donate to your defense team.

      • nova3930

        I guess if you want to play stupid games you’ll win stupid prizes, which poking the bear with a stick is a stupid game. It’s like the difference between smoking a joint on your back porch vs the front steps of the local police precinct. Reality is most people DGAF about the former including the police, but if you antagonize the police, they’re going to hammer you.

  • Fourth Reich

    F#ck the ATF

    • KestrelBike

      haha was with you until I saw your name/avatar. smh.

      • Fourth Reich

        because what came after AH is everything he warned that Europe(and the US) would become- untermensch infested hellholes? good luck keeping your guns under that bolshevik Hillary Clinton and the mexicans from taking your job and the ni##ers from raping your wife

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Go f-ck yourself instead, white trash POS.

      • AndyHasky

        Why not both?

        • Fourth Reich

          chinga tu madre

      • Fourth Reich

        f#ck you J#w-boy

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          lol

          • Fourth Reich

            so being a nationalist and being proud to be white makes someone white trash? typical J#w

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Yeah, thats pretty much the definition.

          • iksnilol

            Why be proud of coincidences?

            I mean, it is a coincidence (a play of chance if you will) that you were born white and into a specific country. Why be proud of something you had no part in?

          • valorius

            why not?

          • iksnilol

            Well, you didn’t do anything. That’s why I think you shouldn’t feel any specific pride of being born something. I mean, everybody can be born. Nothing special there. Accomplishing something? Now that’s something to be proud of.

            I like my heritage and all, but I don’t consider it something to be proud of since I didn’t have to do anything for it. The houses I was a part of building? I am proud of that, since that’s something I did with my own two hands which will also leave a mark on the world… No matter how small, a mark or impact is still what it is.

          • valorius

            Sadly, not everyone can be born. Since 1972- nearly 58 million unborn children have been aborted by American mothers.

            At any rate, some cultures are worth being proud of. Some are very much not worth being proud of.

          • iksnilol

            Can we at least agree that you your skin color isn’t something to be proud nor ashamed of?

          • valorius

            Yep.

          • Anonymoose

            Go back to /pol/.

          • Paul White

            I need vodka and brain bleach after that image.*shudder*

          • Anonymoose
  • Rick O’Shay

    I’ve not seen any hard evidence that the ATF can regulate behavior. They can regulate the legality of firearms and their components, but I don’t see how they can regulate actions. A pistol is designed to be shot one-handed, so by their logic anyone who uses both hands to fire the gun is violating the law, as now the gun is being misused.
    What’s more, I’m not aware of any circumstances where anyone has been arrested or brought to trial for shouldering a pistol. It’s honestly much ado about nothing.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      This IMO goes along with all the “constructive intent/possession” and all the NFA myths.

      99% of what you read on the internet as “the law” is ATF wives tales. It’s uncommon to see people caught with full on machine guns in the news, and I have yet to see “ATF arrest man for having a stock in his house while waiting on Form1 to come back” or anything even like it.

      It’s in the ATF’s favor that people keep repeating these myths. I refuse to.

      • Constructive possession isn’t a myth there is an actual conviction with it, but it was the least of his worries there were a number of other non-gun charges as well.

        First off a federal prosecutor isn’t going to bring constructive possession charges unless they have a long list of other felonies to charge you with or you raped his daughter.

        Second if there was a clean case (ie one that doesn’t involve other charges) that resulted in a conviction it is my opinion that it wouldn’t likely stand up on appeal.

        But seriously there is no reason to be a test case. As long as you have a legal configuration for all your SBR uppers you are fine. If you don’t have a legal configuration store your SBR upper at a friend of family members house. Or hide it in a deep dark corner of your house and learn to STFU as the ATF isn’t auditing every SBR upper sent out the only way they would know is if you talk or you have a meth lab in your living room.

        • Salty

          300 million people? 1 conviction?

          • Ranger Rick

            Who wants to be #2 ?

          • ozzallos .

            Which would have happened long ago if it was a serious issue. because nobody has done it. Ever. At all.

          • Ranger Rick

            Oz, perhaps you are correct, but I have had others make similar rematks to me when I have knocked on their doors regarding other matters. What is prosecuted can litterally change over night and federal district to federal district.

            For example, the Southern District of Arizona would hardly ever do a felon in possession of a firearm, just wouldn’t even on gimmie cases. Then they went all in on Fast and Furious. Regular folks are lucky that ended because a number of “Joes” would’ve been sucked up into it.

        • valorius

          Actually, if you think the NSA and US govt arent monitoring every single transaction of every type that every one of us makes, i’d like to introduce you to a man named Ed Snowden.

          Cause they are.

        • Daniel Elardo

          Actually, there is no such thing as a SBR upper as uppers are not regulated. Only lower receivers are regulated depending on the length of barrel you install with the upper.

          You can walk into a gun store that sells uppers with barrels less than 16″ and buy it with no paperwork involved, even buy it in cash if you don’t want any records. What you want to be careful with is having an upper less than 16″ barrel and a complete rifle lower without paperwork.

          • I am well aware the the SBR status is on the lower (I have a four myself). I just use the term SBR upper as an easier reference to sub-16″ barrel length uppers.

    • Road

      And that’s the very heart of the gun debate itself. They’re trying to control violent behavior by controlling inanimate objects, while completely overlooking the fact that motive is the only thing that determines whether someone will commit murder. What weapons happen to be available only dictates the way in which they’ll go about committing it.

      • AirborneSoldier

        Thats what they say. Their real intent is CONTROL, period.

        • Road

          Agreed. For the powerful ruling class, it’s definitely about control. For the less-than-powerful masses they’ve managed to manipulate, it’s about safety (or so they like to think).

  • thedonn007

    I bought a Sig Brace, and ended up writing a check to the ATF for $200 to put a stock on instead.

    • i_the_jury

      A vile act in and of itself.

  • Dougboffl

    It is expensive to become case law.
    (insert your name here) v. Federal Agency of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms & Explosives.

    • Renegade

      Yup. Right or wrong, dumb or not, I know I sure as hell cant afford to be the test case. And I can honestly say I’ve had an ATF agent at the range without me knowing until after the fact.

      • John Yossarian

        I found out afterwards once. My buddy was the range officer too, a Sherrif’s deputy, and knew all along.

        Not that I had an AR pistol with me, but I wish he’d have said something sooner – So that I could have given them the evil eye.

  • ReadyorNot

    The more people poke and prod the ATF with photos, videos, blogs, etc. the more you risk them actively intervening and prosecuting people just so they can defend why they’re a relevant US Gov function.

    Stop Talking About It.

    • Sianmink

      Let them come and try. Then they will have to explain themselves to a judge.

      • ReadyorNot

        Considering the current political climate, I doubt things will go the way we in the firearms community want them too.

  • cwp

    It’s a nice thought, but the idea that the ATF will be constrained by, you know, logic, common sense, or the law just seems blindly optimistic.

    • The thing is, this and sig’s monocore baffle as a welded brake set the ATF to be stuck declaring themselves to a single stance which could be challenged in court. For decades they’ve been having it both ways by offering changing guidance to whoever they please without ever being constrained to consistent logic.

  • Attorney: “Well you see my dear ATF, your opinions are of as much consequence as a ferret’s flatus.”
    Judge: *snickers*
    ATF: *Chewbacca defense level BS*
    Judge: “I find the defendant guilty of giving comfort to ISIS, killing puppies, and endangering children in letting a Sig-Brace touch his shoulder.”
    Defendant: *commits suicide in prison*

  • gunsandrockets

    Using the same ATF logic, shooting a handgun while holding it with both hands should magically transform it into an NFA weapon too, as if it was a handgun with a forward pistol grip.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Maybe, but technically you’re just holding your own hand, not two separate grippings of the actual handgun. It does give me a chuckle to think how they would respond to an absurd 9″ long grip where both hands are separate.

      • gunsandrockets

        What about squared off trigger guards? Like the Glock. Deliberately designed to aid a two handed grip?

        • ostiariusalpha

          Like with an angled foregrip, if you can’t get more than two fingers in vertical contact, then they don’t seem to care. But consider a pistol grip with a full knuckle guard, like what a Tavor has, how would they handle that?

      • Gary Kirk

        Unless you’re supposed support hand actually makes contact with any part of the firearm.. Then, you’re a terrorist

  • I think the moral of the story is probably “don’t get caught having done [activity] while committing a different crime, and [activity] won’t be used to tack on an extra ten years worth of courtesy charges for purposes of strong-arming you into signing a plea deal”. It’s basically adding Tax Evasion to the laundry list when a drug kingpin gets busted on RICO charges.

    …ATF is still a dumpster fire at the turd factory, though. Federal law via extrajudicial fiat is straight up un-American.

  • John Yossarian

    The pencil necks at the ATF aren’t shouldering their heads correctly? Or maybe they just needs their brains redesigned.

  • IndyToddrick

    If the ATF thought the Sig brace, or any similar device, would make an effective stock then they shouldn’t have permitted it. Since they permitted it, I can only assume they deemed it ineffective as a stock, and therefore (mis)using it as a stock should not make a pistol an SBR. All AR pistols have buffer tubes, which can be shouldered legally right? Because that’s not really the same as a true stock, and neither is a blade or rubber armband.

  • IndyToddrick

    What reason is there a law against SBR’s anyways? The reason apparently stems from the Al Capone days when gangs with rifles outgunned police. Now they don’t want you hiding a powerful rifle in your overcoat. Hence we have to register SBR’s.

    How does this relate to the brace? The brace lets you own a short barreled rifle that is not registered. So in theory a “bad guy” could be hiding an AR pistol with brace under his coat and when stopped by police and searched, they would have no authority to arrest him. HOWEVER, if they saw him shoulder it…then they could arrest him! Does this make sense? And what of the non-criminal at the gun range who (illegally) shoulders his pistol? If the police come and arrest him, then what have they done to protect us from bad people in any way? After all, the only true usage with a gun that should be illegal is violent crime or the threat thereof.

  • MrEllis

    And that’s how they banned the brace…

  • Sir TuberKopf

    I find it so incredibly stupid that these firearm regulations, so clearly discriminate against the physically handicapped, in direct contradiction to federal civil rights legislation.

    So many state laws intended to control assault weapons simply discriminate against humans because of our physical characteristics. What do I mean? Military and civilian firearms design have evolved to be the best universal ergonomic design/fit possible to fit the largest possible range of human physiology, as in ergonomic engineering.

    Assault weapons bans identify those features and ban designs that include too many. Thus in many states an adjustable stock makes a firearm illegal. The fact that a fixed stock makes a rifle unusable by many handicapped individuals or extreme small or large frame individuals is ignored by obviously discriminatory laws and regulations.

    Many current gun laws make intermediate designs illegal (hybrid rifle pistol designs) that allow a firearm to be used easily and accurately by someone in a wheel chair is simply criminal civil rights abuse by the state.

    The day a good lawsuit hits that reveals the discriminatory nature of these arbitrary gun laws and all these gun laws will fall.

    Imagine a gun law that bans a rifle because it includes an obvious pistol grip for use by humans with opposable thumbs? Oh wait, many states have them!

  • kcshooter

    I’m waiting for an attempted prosecution against a misuser (redesigner?) by the ATF.
    I have a feeling its going to be a long, long wait.

  • Don La Rue

    You missed the circular logic that the ATF idiots have created here. If someone buys a rifle with the intent on shooting it with one hand,…and they shoot it one-handed, that rifle has just been redesigned or remade to be a pistol….And we all know, once a rifle becomes a pistol, it can’t go back to being a rifle. So if the rifle/pistol is now shouldered as a rifle, that would be a criminal act subject to federal penalties…True of course, if what they say about the arm-brace is to be taken as truth.

  • AirborneSoldier

    Glad he likes to shoot, but how many court cases of what type has he won.

  • DaveGinOly

    I’ve said before the whole idea of “redesigning” something by use is utter nonsense. If you took an illegal part (like a vertical foregrip on a pistol) could you “redesign” it into a legal part by using it only in a legal way (such as by using it as a monopod, not a foregrip)? What if you installed a full auto sear in a firearm, but only used the firearm in semiautomatic mode? Obviously, the argument that an illegal part can be “redesigned” by use into a legal part is ridiculous, but it is the converse of the ATF’s position (making it equally stupid).