In an email announcement sent to ATF mailing list subscribers, the Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch (FTISB) stated that they will no longer accept any accessory for determination without a being installed on a corresponding host weapon. In the past, manufacturers could submit firearm accessories to the FTISB for a classification under the Gun Control Act (GCA) and/or the National Firearms Act (NFA) as a stand-alone item. Effective immediately, the procedure has changed, with previously submitted items being returned to the manufacturer without a classification.
While the email is unsettling, I’m reluctant to declare that the sky is falling just yet. With only a few hours of analysis, I’ve come up with some likely motivations behind the announcement. I welcome your input, both in agreement or to the contrary, in the comments section below.
1. Submitted Accessories Have Multiple Configurations
In strict terms, an accessory submitted by itself could be classified in different ways depending on the host weapon for which it is attached. An example would be a Pistol Stabilizing Brace that could be attached to either an AR15 patterned weapon as well as a compact pistol.
2. Precursor To A Bump Stock Regulation
There could be accessories that would enhance rates of fire on some host weapons while not enhancing rates of fire on others,
3. A Move To Reclassify Pistol Stabilizing Braces
As more and more brace products enter the market, the ATF May be concerned with how they are applied to each host weapon for which they are designed,
NOTE: Please don’t mistake my analysis on the subject of “accessory classification” as support of our current regulatory state. While I hold my nose and comply with all the NFA rules and laws of the land, my personal belief remains that characteristics like barrel lengths, stocks and vertical fore grips have no correlation to violent crime.
Effective Immediately: ATF To Discontinue Accessory Classifications
The Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch (FTISB) classifies firearms as defined by the Gun Control Act (GCA) and National Firearms Act (NFA) based on the configuration and the design features of the firearm as submitted by members of the industry.
Effective immediately, any requests for a determination on how an accessory affects the classification of a firearm under the GCA or NFA must include a firearm with the accessory already installed. Except in cases of conditional import determinations, FTISB will not issue a determination on an accessory unless it is attached to the submitted firearm.
If you have previously submitted a sample accessory for classification, FTISB will be returning your sample without classification. FTISB will contact you in the near future with further instructions to facilitate the return of your sample.