Understanding the implications of the recent ATF ruling regarding overall length measurements

Social media is buzzing about the recent release of a letter from the ATF regarding folding or telescoping ‘stabilizing braces’, non-standard receiver extensions, and the measurement of overall length (OAL).

I have received several calls and emails from clients who are unsure whether this ruling will impact their particular configuration(s).

While there may be other implications, this ruling will primarily affect those who have added a folding or telescoping stabilizing brace (or other non-standard receiver extension) to a pistol with the intent of making the OAL greater than 26 inches so that a vertical fore-grip may be added to the pistol without it becoming an Any-Other-Weapon (AOW).

The ATF’s position is as follows:

a) Adding a vertical fore-grip to a pistol generally makes it an AOW subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act (NFA).

b) However, if the overall length (OAL) of the pistol is greater than 26 inches then adding a vertical fore-grip doesn’t result in the pistol becoming an AOW.

Previously, many people have concluded that the OAL of a pistol containing a folding or telescoping stabilizing brace would be measured with the brace extended since the OAL of a rifle or shotgun is measured with the stock extended (see below).

However, this latest ruling makes it clear that ‘stabilizing braces’ are NOT stocks and they must be measured with the brace folded or collapsed.  If the OAL with the brace folded or collapsed is less than 26 inches then the addition of a vertical fore-grip will render said firearm an AOW.  If you have such a firearm, I recommend remove the vertical fore-grip immediately.

Finally, there is a second component of the ruling that few people are discussing: the language regarding non-standard receiver extensions.  What does this mean?  I interpret it to mean that if you have a non-folding and non-telescoping brace which would, in its default configuration, not be greater than 26 inches, you cannot use spacers or other extensions to artificially extend it beyond 26 inches.  If the only reason your pistol configuration is greater than 26 inches is that you have a spacer installed and you have a vertical fore-grip installed, I recommend you remove the vertical fore-grip immediately.

If you are looking for alternatives, see my article on angled fore-grips or my article on permanently attaching a muzzle device.


Disclaimer:  This information is presented for educational purposes only and does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship. Additionally, I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and this answer may not be appropriate for other states.

Posted in Administrative Law, AOW, AR Pistols, ATF, ATF Guidance Letters, ATF Ruling, BATFE, Overall Length (OAL), Stabilizing Brace | Comments Off on Understanding the implications of the recent ATF ruling regarding overall length measurements

Can a private seller ship a Curio and Relic firearm directly to an out-of-state C&R FFL holder?

One of my clients called with this question today.  He was selling a firearm that happens to be listed on Section II of the latest Curios and Relics List and the buyer was a C&R FFL holder from another state.

For those unfamiliar with the Curios and Relics List, Section II contains those firearms that are deemed to be a Curio and Relic (C&R), but which are still subject to the provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA).

Never having dealt with an out-of-state C&R holder before, my client was concerned about the ‘still subject to the Gun Control Act‘ verbiage and how that might intersect with interstate shipment.

As it turns out, from a federal law perspective, there is a fairly simple answer to this question for most classes of C&R firearms (those on the C&R list but still subject to the National Firearms Act require additional details and are not covered here).

In short, a C&R FFL allows a holder to receive intrastate and interstate shipments of C&R firearms directly from a seller (licensed or individual) without violating federal law.

However, as is always the case where legal issues are concerned, that isn’t the end of the analysis.  There may be additional requirements imposed by state law in the C&R holders state.

Therefore, while there is no bar under federal law, anyone shipping to a C&R holder in another state would be advised to get appropriate legal advice regarding the laws in the C&R holder’s state prior to shipping the firearm.

Posted in C&R, Criminal Law, Curio and Relic, Federal Law, FFL 03, FFL Issues, Interstate Firearm Transfers, Private Sales | Comments Off on Can a private seller ship a Curio and Relic firearm directly to an out-of-state C&R FFL holder?

Status of the Bump Fire Stock Ban

I receive calls almost every day from clients asking for an update on the status of the bump fire stock ban.

The ban is currently scheduled to go into effect (with items surrendered or destroyed) on March 26, 2019 unless one of the four legal challenges succeeds in postponing or overturning the regulatory ‘redefinition’ of bump fire stocks as machineguns.

For those who are not familiar with the history and ongoing status of the attempted ban, the following is a simplified timeline of the steps which lead us here.

Until we get a final answer, this post will contain updates as they occur.  However, it isn’t looking good for law-abiding gun owners.

In the meantime, Firearms Policy Foundation attorney Joshua Prince has published a guide to surrendering your bump stock to the ATF under protest.

The ATF has also ‘helpfully’ provided a Bump Fire Destruction Guide.

Posted in Administrative Law, ATF, ATF Ruling, BATFE, Bump Fire Stocks, Federal Law, Machine Guns, Regulatory Rulemaking | Comments Off on Status of the Bump Fire Stock Ban