Best case (for them) of 9% efficacy and $51 million saved – Looking at the ATF’s brace rule amnesty results


That seems like a lot.

The ATF certainly considered it a lot if we look at their speed of Form 1 approvals dropping dramatically during the time period.

However compared against the conservative (meaning realistic low end) estimate of the number of braced firearms that were ‘required’ to be registered during the amnesty.

That number was 10,000,000. At the least. ATF said as low as 3,00,000 but the chances of they cooked that number are absurdly likely and it doesn’t even bring their efficacy into double digits.

Now, this is a win in two ways.

First, it means the ATF’s rule change was bafflingly, hilariously, absurdly useless because I can guarantee those braces are not destroyed or removed in enough quantity to remotely be called a success. I could probably surmise that double the amount of people who registered during amnesty didn’t even here about the rule change and be fairly accurate.

Second, it means that those folks who probably wanted SBRs anyway saved $51 million in extortion fees that were expressly designed to discourage gun ownership. Now I’ve seen some speculation that if the 2021ATF-08F gets rolfstomped by the courts, which is reasonably likely, that suddenly those guns won’t be on the NFA register anymore, and to that speculation I ask: In what world does the ATF want to lose those guns? In what world are they going to try and compound this abysmal policy failure and get closer to risking the closure of the entire NFA register? What action could they take that makes this better for them?

The more convoluted this mess gets the more courts can’t ignore how absolutely absurd the NFA is. There are so many avenues to press for reduction and removal of the NFA and the more common both SBRs and “braced firearms” become the more legal leverage exists to hammer that point home.

Several large customer and membership bases are protected (date dependent) from the brace enforcement already by injunction, and the ATF trying to press the issue is going to once again highlight the absurdity of the notion in the first place. So the ATF is existing in this Catch 22 zone of having regulated to close to the sun and ended up in an emperor has no clothes situation. The less they do to highlight the total inefficacy of their efforts the better it might end up for them. They pick the wrong case, pick up the wrong person with a braced firearm, or amnestied SBR, or something that was said by the director versus. the official guidance, or really anything of the sort and a defense attorney is going to have an absolute field day with it taking them to the entrapment woodshed.

It, from a strategic standpoint, certainly isn’t shaping up to be a question of “Does the ATF win or lose?” It is instead, “How does the ATF lose?” In what order does this nonsense coming crashing down as they are forced to recon with reality?

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Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.