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ATF Submits Final Rule Impacting ‘Stabilizing Brace’ Firearms (ATF 2021R-08F)

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January 13, 2023

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White text atop red background next to graphic of a non-compliant stabilizing brace on a firearm over ATF seal

On January 13, 2023, ATF Final Rule 2021R-08F, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces,'” was submitted to the Federal Register, amending ATF regulations to clarify when a rifle is designed, made, and intended to be fired from the shoulder. The Final Ruling is to be published in the Federal Register on January 31.

ATF Final Rule 2021R-08F

Final Rule Summary
The Final Rule makes clear when manufacturers, dealers, and individuals use stabilizing braces to convert pistols into rifles with a barrel of less than 16″, they must comply with the laws that regulate those rifles, including those of the NFA. The amended definition of “rifle” shall include a weapon that is equipped with an accessory, component, or other rearward attachment (e.g., “stabilizing brace) that provides surface area that allows the weapon to be fired from the shoulder or indicates that the weapon is designed, made, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.

To comply with new regulations, manufacturers, dealers, and individuals must either:

  1. Register tax-free any existing NFA short-barreled rifles (SBRs) covered by the rule via Form 1
  2. Remove the stabilizing brace to return the firearm to a pistol
  3. Attach a 16″ or longer rifled barrel to the firearm
  4. Turn in to ATF or destroy the firearm

Nothing in this rule bans stabilizing braces or the use of stabilizing braces on pistols.

Proposed Worksheet 4999
The rule also does not adopt Worksheet 4999 as previously proposed. The rule does, however, adopt several of the objective design features that indicate a firearm is designed, made, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and incorporates those features into the definition of “rifle.” These objective features include weight, length of pull, use of optics, existence of a rearward attachment, and manufacturer marketing and information.

Effectivity Date
ATF Final Rule 2021R-08F will be published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2023. The rule allows for a 120-day period, ending May 31, 2023, for manufacturers, dealers, and individuals to register tax-free any existing NFA short-barreled rifles covered by the rule.

ATF Resources

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ATF Final Rule 2021R-08F

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