Short Barrel Shepard was informed of a new ATF opinion letter making the rounds, this time focusing on installing a tube to facilitate the attachment of arm braces. The questions and their answers are found in detail, with the ATF basically holding that the installation of a tube itself is indicative of a manufactured firearm, but one with the arm brace is legal.
This sort of makes sense, until you consider the order in which people typically attach a brace to a pistol buffer tube.
First the tube goes on the firearm, and then the brace goes on the buffer tube.
According to Curtis’s opinion, doing so in this order could be interpreted as manufacturing an SBR. Given other legislation, once an SBR is assembled, it’s an NFA item until removed from the registry. This further complicates things unnecessarily.
Is someone from the ATF watching you assemble your brace-equipped pistol? No — but this is the kind of illogical thoughtlessness that leads to more confusion instead of more clarity.