The Firearm Blog

BREAKING: ATF White Paper Leaked

Just in the last hour someone leaked an ATF White Paper regarding changes to be potentially made in the ATF.

Washington Post posted the file. Read-the-white-paper-on-firearms-regulations <—– Click that to open the document.

For those not familiar with a White Paper, click here for the Wikipedia definition. To sum up it is a summary of issues and proposals to amend or address such issues.

There are some bold issues being addressed. One of which is point 5, the use of a stabilizing brace.

5.  Firearm Arm or Stabilizing Brace:
Manufacturers have produced an arm brace or stabilizing brace which is designed to strap a handgun to a forearm to allow a disabled shooter to fire the firearm. ATF determined that the brace was not a stock, and therefore its attachment to a handgun
did not constitute the making of a short-barreled rifle or “any other firearm” under the
National Firearms Act (NFA). (NFA classification subjects the product to a tax and registration requirement.) In the determination letter, however, ATF indicated that if the brace was held to the shoulder and used as a stock, such use would constitute a “redesign” that would result in classification of the brace/handgun combination as
an NFA firearm (i.e., the “use” would be a “redesign” and making of a short – barreled rifle). ATF has not made an other NFA determination where a shooter’s use alone was deemed be a “redesign” of the product/firearm resulting in an NFA classification. This ruling has caused confusion and concern among firearm manufacturers, dealers, and consumers about the extent to which unintended use of a product may be a basis for NFA classification. To mitigate this confusion and concern, ATF could amend the determination letter to remove the language indicating that simple use of a product for a purpose other than intended by the manufacturer – without additional proof or redesign – may result in re-classification as an NFA weapon.
While many at ATF are concerned about manufacturing processes continuing to push
the boundaries between a Gun Control Act (GCA) and an NFA firearm, ATF has a
relatively consistent history of what crosses the line between GCA and NFA firearms
with which to draw from, and still maintains the ability to exercise good judgement with
future requests based upon the firearm’s individual characteristics

This could change their determination that came out back in 2015 that using a brace could constitute a redesign. As Adam Kraut had explained, misusing a product is not the same as redesigning or manufacturing.

If that got you excited wait until you see what else they got cooking.

Next up is the point about Slencers.

Silencers: Current Federal law requires ATF to regulate silencers under the NFA. This
requires a Federal tax payment of $200 for transfers, ATF approval, and entry of the
silencer into a national NFA database. In the past several years, opinions about silencers
have changed across the United States. Their use to reduce noise at shooting ranges
and applications within the sporting and hunting industry are now well recognized.
At present, 42 states generally allow silencers to be used for sporting purposes. The
wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created
substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF
to have a significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is
now approximately 8 months. ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses, and dedicating over 33 additional full-time and contract positions since 2011 to support NFA processing. Despite these efforts, NFA processing times are widely viewed by applicants and the industry as far too long, resulting in numerous complaints to Congress. Since silencers account for the vast majority of NFA applications, the most direct way to reduce processing times is to reduce the number of silencer applications. In light of the expanding demand and acceptance of silencers, however, that volume is unlikely to diminish unless they are removed from the NFA. While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated. ATF’s experience with the criminal use of silencers also supports reassessing their inclusion in the NFA. On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendants a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately 6 of the defendants had prior felony convictions. Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings. Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the GCA.
If such a change were to be considered, a revision in the definition of a silencer
would be important. The current definition of a silencer extends to “any combination of
[silencer] parts, ” as well as “any part intended only for use in” a silencer. Compared to
the definition of a firearm, which specifies the frame or receiver is the key regulated
part, any individual silencer part is generally regulated just as if it were a completed
silencer. Revising the definition could eliminate many of the current issues encountered
by silencer manufacturers and their parts suppliers. Specifically, clarifying when a part
or combination of parts meets a minimum threshold requiring serialization would be

These two points are huge. There are other great points addressed in the White Paper and I encourage you to read it all.

The conclusion of the White Paper addresses it nicely:

There are many regulatory changes or modifications that can be made by or through ATF that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATFs mission or adversely affecting public safety.
There are also areas where adjustments to policy or processes could improve ATF operations. Alleviating some of these concerns would continue to support
ATF’s relationships across the firearms and sporting industry, and allow ATF to further focus precious personnel and resources on the mission to combat gun violence.
The future looks bright and I hope the ATF accepts these issues and solutions.