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ATF Sets Dates for Frame/Receiver and Stabilizing Brace Rulings

Written by Orchid


February 16, 2022


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According to the Federal Register (Vol. 87, No. 20), the ATF has set tentative dates to finalize two proposed rulings with potential to significantly impact FFLs and gun owners. The rulings are related to the “Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms” and “Factoring Criteria for Firearms With an Attached Stabilizing Brace,” with final action expected in June and August 2022, respectively.

The comment period for both proposed rulings ended roughly six months ago.

Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms
Signed by the Attorney General in May 2021, proposed rule 2021R-05, “Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms,” seeks to ensure the proper marking, recordkeeping and traceability of all firearms manufactured, imported, acquired and disposed by FFLs – notably impacting homemade and 80% firearms, as well as suppressors.

Summary of proposed rule:

  • Provide new definitions of “firearm frame or receiver” and “frame or receiver”
  • Amend the definition of:
    • “firearm” to clarify when a firearm parts kit is considered a “firearm,” and
    • “gunsmith” to clarify the meaning of that term and to explain that gunsmiths may be licensed solely to mark firearms for unlicensed persons
  • Provide definitions for:
    • “complete weapon,”
    • “complete muffler or silencer device,”
    • “privately made firearm (PMF),” and
    • “readily” for purposes of clarity given advancements in firearms technology
  • Provide a definition of “importer’s or manufacturer’s serial number”
  • Provide a deadline for marking firearms manufactured
  • Clarify marking requirements for firearm mufflers and silencers
  • Amend the format for records of manufacture/acquisition and disposition by manufacturers and importers.
  • Amend the time period records must be retained at the licensed premises
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    Factoring Criteria for Firearms With an Attached Stabilizing Brace
    Signed by the Attorney General in June 2021, proposed rule 2021R-08, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms With an Attached Stabilizing Brace,” seeks to amend ATF regulations to clarify when a rifle is intended to be fired from the shoulder – restricting some firearms with stabilizing braces and reclassifying many as NFA firearms.

    Summary of proposed rule:

    • Amend the definition of “rifle” in 27 CFR 478.11 and 479.11, respectively, by adding a sentence at the end of each definition to clarify that the term “rifle” includes any weapon with a rifled barrel and equipped with an attached “stabilizing brace” that has objective design features and characteristics that indicate that the firearm is designed to be fired from the shoulder.
    • Set forth a worksheet “Factoring Criteria for Rifled Barrel Weapons with Accessories commonly referred to as ‘Stabilizing Braces,’” ATF Worksheet 4999, to aid the firearms industry and public in understanding the criteria that ATF considers when evaluating firearm samples that are submitted with an attached “stabilizing brace” or similar component or accessory.

    For more on the proposed rulings and how they may affect your FFL, stay tuned to Orchid for the latest firearms industry news or contact us for guidance from our in-house ATF compliance experts.

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