BATFE Leadership Push Biden to Target Pistol Braces and 80% Receivers

NRA-ILA Biden Yelling
Former VP Joe Biden yelling at dozens of his supporters at a rally. IMG NRA-ILA

U.S.A. -( Just in case anyone needed further proof that much of the federal bureaucracy is more interested in serving themselves and left-wing political interests than public service, news broke this week that rogue elements of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) have been conspiring with Joe Biden’s transition team to enact gun control by executive fiat. At the top of these anti-gun government functionaries’ wish list is executive regulation of commonly-owned pistol stabilizing braces and materials used by individuals to make their own firearms –sometimes referred to as unfinished or “80%” frames or receivers.

On November 10, gun rights activist John Crump published a piece for with details of a leaked BATFE conference call in which BATFE Acting Director Regina Lombardo and Associate Deputy Director Marvin Richardson participated.

According to the article, “Acting Director Regina Lombardo told those in attendance that the anti-gun Biden transition team has reached out to the ATF to get the agency’s ‘top priorities.’”The item went on to note that “Lombardo told those on the call that her priorities would be pistol braces and 80% lower receivers.”

It is unclear from Crump’s initial report how Lombardo wants the BATFE to target these items, but under a proper reading of federal law, the agency’s options are limited.

Pistol stabilizing braces are an item that attaches to the rear of many configurations of commonly-owned semi-automatic pistols that helps stabilize the pistol on a shooter’s arm so that they may effectively shoot the firearm with one hand. These items are particularly valuable for differently-abled shooters who may not have the use of two hands. BATFE has approved several arm braces for this purpose. At present, Americans own over 4 million of these items.

BATFE already has a fraught history with pistol stabilizing braces. In January 2015, BATFE released an Open Letter on the Redesign of “Stabilizing Braces.” With the letter, BATFE sought to stop individuals from using pistol stabilizing braces in a manner in which they were not designed for –specifically, using a brace to shoulder the pistol.

Federal law defines “rifle” as “a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.”Further, a “rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length” is categorized as a “short-barreled rifle.” “Short-barreled rifles” are subject to the National Firearms Act and must be registered with the federal government in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. On the other hand, a “handgun” is defined as “a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.”

In the letter, BATFE contended that an individual who shouldered a pistol equipped with a pistol stabilizing brace was creating a short-barreled rifle.

This reading of the law was patently absurd. The definitions of both “rifle” and “pistol” turn on how a particular firearm is designed and intended to be used. Pistols equipped with a pistol stabilizing brace are designed and intended to be “fired by the use of a single hand. ”The object of a pistol stabilizing brace is to facilitate single-handed shooting.

A person using a firearm equipped with a pistol stabilizing brace in a manner in which it was not designed for, by shouldering it, does not change the fact that the firearm was “designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. ”Under such tortured logic, someone who attempted to fire a stock Glock 19 by placing it upon his shoulder would be creating a short-barreled rifle. What matters under federal law is what the firearm was designed and intended for, not how any individual user might use it.

In early 2017, BATFE reconsidered its incorrect reading of the law. In a letter to pistol stabilizing brace manufacturer SB Tactical, the agency explained,

To the extent the January 2015 Open Letter implied or has been construed to hold that incidental, sporadic, or situational ‘use’ of an arm-brace (in its original approved configuration) equipped firearm from a firing position at or near the shoulder was sufficient to constitute ‘redesign,’ such interpretations are incorrect and not consistent with ATF’s interpretation of the statute or the manner in which it has historically been enforced. 

For three years gun owners enjoyed some measure of sanity on the pistol stabilizing brace issue. However, the BATFE – perhaps anticipating a more anti-gun political climate –has begun targeting pistol stabilizing braces again.

In August, the agency sent firearm manufacturer Q LLC a cease & desist letter informing the company that its “Honey Badger” pistol, which is equipped with a pistol stabilizing brace, was in the agency’s view a “short-barreled rifle” subject to the NFA. After grassroots action taken by NRA members and other gun rights supporters in early October, BATFE suspended the cease & desist order for 60 days.

Concerning unfinished frames and receivers, the current federal statute and regulations are clear. Federal law defines a “firearm” to include “any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive” and “the frame or receiver of any such weapon. ”In the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), “firearm frame or receiver” is further defined as “That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.”

In order to target unfinished frames and receivers, BATFE would likely attempt to broaden the definition of “firearm frame or receiver” in the CFR. Such a change is inadvisable and should at the very least require a formal rule making under the Administrative Procedure Act.

By targeting the materials Americans use to make their own firearms, BATFE is striking at the core of the Second Amendment right in a manner that has no basis in the text, history, and tradition of the right. Since long before the founding, Americans have enjoyed the right to make their own firearms for personal use without government interference.

The interest in regulating these items by executive diktat shows a willingness at BATFE and in a prospective Biden administration to ignore the law. This is not the opinion of NRA-ILA, but of the Barack Obama administration.

In late 2015, Obama tasked his White House with doing everything within their lawful authority to pursue gun control through executive action. Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said of Obama’s administrative gun control efforts, “he has asked his team to scrub existing legal authorities to see if there’s any additional action we can take administratively…The President has made clear he’s not satisfied with where we are, and expects that work to be completed soon.” In remarks announcing the new actions, Obama stated “we’re going to do everything we can to ensure the smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books…” Further, a press release that accompanied the announcement of these measures, stated, “The President and Vice President are committed to using every tool at the Administration’s disposal to reduce gun violence.”

Both pistol stabilizing braces and unfinished frames and receivers existed at the time of the Obama administration’s efforts, yet they were not targeted for prohibition. The fact that BATFE, and possibly the Biden team, believe they could do even more than Obama suggests that they are willing to go beyond what even the anti-gun Obama administration considered a legitimate use of executive authority.

As BATFE leadership scheme with a potential Biden administration, gun owners must remain vigilant to protect their rights by providing a political counterweight to unwarranted unilateral executive action. Biden has already made clear that he does not recognize the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution and its Second Amendment, so there is no telling the lengths he would go to subvert the law by edict.

About NRA-ILA:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess, and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit:

National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

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Deplorable Bill

Yup, that’s how socialism, communism and tyranny works. I doubt that anyone who has been watching them (the demoncraps, the atfe, the fbi, the cia, the nsa etc) for the last year can’t see them for the evil S.O.B’s they are and what they are doing to the nation. If there is a way that the nation survives as the free and righteous nation it was birthed as without the tree of liberty being refreshed, I don’t see it. I expect when they try to disarm the American citizen it will come to blood. Maybe they should look into the… Read more »


Is it worth sending an email to the chairperson of your state’s Republican Party? How many people that rant about our rights have done that (answer: less than 1%)? If the person who holds that office in every state was inundated by emails letting them know it was their responsibility to let the National Chairperson of the Republican* party know that Trump went off the rails on 2/28/18 and that instead of instructing the BATFE to do something even Obama’s lawyers counseled him not to do, he should have been reining them in, we would be in a better place… Read more »

Dave in Fairfax

JSNMGC, I’ve written my party, as well as the national, repeatedly. It got me no response other than being put on a list for donations and trash mail. In fact that was what I got when I wrote the WH, repeatedly. It used to be that when you wrote, you got a response from a person. Now it’s just harvested for the e-mail addy. I got more responses from the NIXON or LBJ WHs than I did the Trump one. The GOP doesn’t respond or seem to care what its voters think as long as they vote R rather than… Read more »


I did not say I am Ronna McDaniel. It was a footnote explaining who is the Chairperson of the Republican National Party. Sorry, if that was not clear.

Thank you for writing the Chairperson of your state Republican Party. If you have a group of like-minded friends, consider becoming a county delegate. You can then organize an effort to vote your Chairperson out of their position if they are non-responsive.

Last edited 2 years ago by JSNMGC
Dave in Fairfax


I’m in FAIRFAX,VA…there are no like-minded individuals. The GOP doesn’t even bother to run candidates in many of the elections.

I got involved in politics in the 60’s, and learned my lesson. Regardless of the party, if you stand near it long enough you begin to smell like it. All parties and political movements morph over time and become corrupt. Governments do not exist to serve the people. They exist to consolidate power and subject the people to their will.



I agree with you that the Republican party left to its own, will continue to march away from freedom and toward totalitarianism.

Our founding fathers warned us about the exact dynamic you have described.

What happened in Virginia over the last two years is horrible and a warning to people living in states that think it can’t happen to them.

I do remain optimistic that if non-totalitarians organize locally they can pull the Republican Party back. It does take a lot of work and I understand that in your county it is probably too late.


On May 25, 1961, John Kennedy gave a speech to congress describing the, “Adversaries of Freedom.” Since then, the democrat party has become everything he described. To keep the Republican party from becoming the same thing we need to start renewing the members we elect to office after they serve two terms regardless of the experience they have gained from combating the enemy on the other side of the aisle. Combat fatigue can keep one from focusing on the reason they came to congress in the first place. As the tree of liberty needs watering, so also keeping fresh fighters… Read more »


Why would we want to mandate that a pro-liberty politician step down from office? Sometimes people use term limits as an excuse for a lazy, uninformed electorate. If the politician loses focus, vote them out. If they remain an advocate of liberty, don’t mandate they leave – vote to re-elect them. The answer is for people to miss going to a soccer practice or a church choir practice and, instead, attend (or organize) a townhall meeting and organize and exchange information. You can’t imagine the excuses I have received for people not going to a local political meeting. Then they… Read more »


That is why the founders wrote such things as: “There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”, and: “Society in every state is a blessing, but government EVEN IN ITS BEST STATE [emphasis mine. Knute], is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” They knew Governments will always attempt to subjegate and dominate their citizens for their own selfish ends. It’s what evil men always do. And it occured long ago in the US. It started… Read more »


I agree. It is far easier for people to go on the internet thumping their chest about how they are going to be part of the 3% when bullets start flying than it is to go to a meeting in real life and talk face-to-face with other people who are trying to stop totalitarianism.

Democrats/Socialists/Communists are very good at organizing and prioritizing their time to politics. Republicans? “I would go to the meeting, but ____”
The reasons that go into the blank space are comical.


A good short vid on today:

Last edited 2 years ago by Knute

What he said is true, but the examples were a little one-sided.

A large percentage of Republicans do not want to get involved. They will go on Facebook and re-post a funny meme, but go to a meeting to discuss how to defeat a State Representative and replace him with someone who will vote favorably on bills? “Sorry, sounds interesting, but my wife is going to Bunco that night and I have to stay home and watch the dog.”

Dave in Fairfax


I agree with one exception, I think it started around the time of the Whiskey rebellion. Speaking of which, drag up a chair and pass the bourbon.


Ok, but it will have to be Maker’s Mark. I’m out of Gentleman Jack, and have yet to find Buffalo Trace. So far I’ve looked in Glasgow, Wolf Point, Williston ND, Billings, Great Falls, and Spokane. All no dice. But MM is good too.

Dave in Fairfax

Works for me, got ice?

Dave in Fairfax


I told him that I wouldn’t bug him. He is able to contact me any time he wants to, but when he does I let you guys know. I guess that makes it a “No”, but he says that he will be back. It’ll be in his own time, as hopefully, The Revelator will.


Always. I even have the tray to make clear ice spheres. They look real nice in a rocks glass. Who says we can’t be sophisticated out here in the bush? 🙂


You have to remember one thing in all of this; Republicans are not, with possibly one or two exceptions, Conservatives. If they were, when they held both Houses, all arms control along with funding for Planned Parenthood and a host of other things would have been eliminated.

Ansel Hazen

I am a local level GOP official. My own state chair and vice chair don’t respond to me. Both R and D need to be dismantled. Libertarians likely will never be able to leave the bad impression people have of them behind. But Trump garnered something on the order of 72 millions votes this election and I suspect that’s an unadjusted number that doesn’t account for any of the fraud. If Trump starts a third party he will “lay waste” to both Dems and Republicans.


I’m a GOP delegate – they don’t respond much to me other than when they want a vote or want money.

One of the things I found attractive about Trump was that the Republican establishment (at the national level) hated him – they wanted Jeb or Romney.


The serious move that must be made is stripping NFA ’34. registration and high taxing SBR, Suppressors and other infringements that are not logical. It’s only to reduce citizens ownership abilities and to deter government tyranny. What is the definition of “shall not be infringed”.


Representative Roger Marshall from Kansas tried to make progress on this by introducing a bill in Dec of 2019 that would remove SBRs from the purview of the NFA of 1934. The bill has gone nowhere. The question is, why didn’t a large group of representatives support Marshall in this effort and get it done when Republicans had control of the House and Senate in 2017?


I’m ok with that too.

It doesn’t change the question though, why didn’t Republicans do something in 2017?

Ansel Hazen

Because for the most part the GOP is the political version of the NRA. All talk no action.


I agree. They like it when they are not in power so they can screech about those darn Democrats. “Just send me money and vote for me – I’ll protect your rights.”


Because Republicans only pretend to be pro-2A. It’s just like how constitutional carry keeps getting killed in Texas every legislative session by the Republicans.


But somebody has to think of the children.


Why is “political capital” a consideration whatsoever for the ATF?


When Will We Hear The Next Shot Around The World?


The BATF theme song for today is the old Carpenter’s classic, “We’ve Only Just Begun”. Creepy Joe and the Hoe in office is the BATF’s waking wet dream. It’ll be a return to the days of Ruby Ridge, Waco and Fast and Furious.


Trump encouraged the BATFE to abuse their powers – hell, he ordered them to.


trump needs to fire this witch asap.


He’s a life long New Yorker who vacillates between not liking firearms and not caring one way or the other. When he saw an opportunity to pander to white suburban women and increase his popularity, he threw the firearm community under the bus. Watch the 2/28/18 “bipartisan meeting on gun violence” on C-Span. He was begging for gun control. It was also evident he couldn’t be bothered to spend 10 minutes to understand the issues. I voted for him in 2016 and 2020, but I understand why many in the firearm community did not vote for him in 2020.

J Gibbons

Unless one chose not to vote, I can’t understand why anyone would vote for Biden by voting against Trump. Voting Libertarian in a two-party system is a de facto vote for Democrats.


No, it’s a de facto non-vote (it had the same effect as not voting, which is different than voting for Biden). More importantly, it’s a protest vote. Will there ever be a time that Republican power players and candidates get the message: “no more gun control?” If a majority of the firearm community had not voted for Romney, or McCain, or G.W., or Dole and clearly stated the reason was those candidates advocated for more gun control, maybe Trump would have thought twice about what he said on 2/28/18. Maybe, but I doubt it, the next Republican presidential candidate will… Read more »


So, NRA, are you going to back this unconstitutional BS like you backed the bumpstock ban and red flag laws or will you actually oppose it now that it’s a Democrat?


They are trying to figure out which stance will result in the most donations. Stay tuned . . .

J Gibbons

If anyone is surprised that Biden and the radical Communists leading the Democrat party are willing go above and beyond Obama’s executive order reach…


Democrats, Socialists, Communists, and Republicans all want more gun control. Obama’s lawyers advised him not to order the BATFE to ban bump stocks because it was opening a whole new can of worms. Trump bragged that he was much more effective than Obama at implementing gun control. Thank heaven the Senate wouldn’t hear the bills that Trump made it clear he would sign.


more importantly, where will SCOTUS stand on these unconstitutional and illegal orders?