U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In recently obtained documents, the ATF’s Firearms Technology Criminal Branch argues that in this particular instance a single CAA Industries Micro Roni under evaluation and equipped with an arm brace, was a short-barreled rifle (SBR). Wait, what?
It is important to stop and note that despite the ATF’s Firearms Technology Criminal Branch letter we are about to look at, no charges were ever filed related to this determination in this criminal case investigation. The ATF received the product in question back on 10/9/18.
But this single letter once more highlights the continuing confusion that is created by ATF’s refusal to have hard, measurable, standards for firearms brace devices.
Also, the reader should note the company involved is CAA Industries an Israeli company (not to be confused with CAA USA, a separate company, with no connection to the products seen in this letter) that produces a device that allows the user to insert a pistol into the accessory to increase stability. Some of the CAA Industries’ devices have braces that are attached.
In the original report (embedded below) dated February 5th, 2019, the ATF states that they received a Glock 19 Gen 4 pistol and a CAA Industries Micro Roni Stabilizer device on October 9th, 2018. According to Special Agent and investigator Nate Anderson’s product description, the manufacture made the brace out of stiff rubber material that was one inch wide by two inches long. The brace also had flexible rubber-like straps that extended downward, approximately three inches. The ATF agent noted that the brace resembled a stock and remarked that the device “fits comfortably into one’s shoulder.”
Anderson does note that CAA industries say that the “rubber flaps are designed to fit over the forearm, with the Velcro straps to provide additional security.” He does note that the product allows the user to operate a handgun with increased functionality and stability. According to the ATF document, once the user inserts the pistol into the Micro Roni Stabilizing device, it becomes a weapon itself. He claims by doing so; the user redesigned the gun to fire it from their shoulder.
Because it has a barrel less than 16 inches, the ATF considers it an SBR.
One of the ATF’s issues with the device is the pistol’s weight before the user inserts the weapon into the CAA Industries Micro Roni.
According to the ATF, pistol braces are designed to help disabled shooters manage heavy guns such as pistols based on AR15 lowers or sub guns. The ATF reasons that a pistol is light enough for a disabled shooter to fire the gun with one hand without the need for a brace.
The ATF report states: “The use of a ‘stabilizing brace’ on a standard sized semiautomatic pistol results in the redesign of the pistol to be fired from the shoulder and hence becoming an SBR. The addition of a carbine-type kit to a standard size semiautomatic pistol does not warrant the use of a ‘stabilizing brace,’ as these devices are only added to be used for no other purpose than as a shoulder stock for the pistol.”
Anderson claims that this stance is a long-held belief in the agency. He points to Revenue Ruling 61, where the ATF’s predecessor ruled that Luger and Mauser pistols with stocks were SBRs under the National Firearms Act. In that case, those pistols had stocks and not braces, but the agent is considering the stabilizing brace on the Micro Roni is a stock.
Investigator Anderson also took issue with the actual design of the brace. He claims that it is too close to a stock to be considered a brace. In the now-retracted letter recently submitted to the Federal Registry, the ATF stated that braces based on stocks would be consider shouldering devices. With the letter’s withdrawal, it isn’t clear if Anderson’s reasoning would still be valid.
The ATF also points out that CAA Industries designed the Micro Roni Stabilizing devices based on its Micro Roni carbine conversion device. The Agent notes the only difference is that one has a stock, and one has a brace. He reasons that since the company based the stabilizing device on a carbine design, it will always be a carbine.
Anderson does state that a shorter length of pull doesn’t automatically make an SBR a pistol. He does state length of pull does go into the classification of firearms. We have seen this recently and in other cases, I have recently covered.
The agent’s final objection to the CAA Industries Micro Roni Stabilizing device is that the forward portion of the accessory has a thumb rest!?
He surmises that if CAA Industries did intend the device to help the user fire a pistol with one hand, then there would be no need for the thumb rest.
Many in the gun community argue that these letters, like the one highlighted, are prime examples of the ATF not giving clear guidelines to the industry or the general public. It seems the ATF takes a holistic approach in determining what is and isn’t an SBR. It is a “we know it when we see it” stance that leaves gun owners in legal jeopardy and at the vagaries of government agents.
As of this writing, the ATF has never produced any criminal charges related to CAA Industries Micro Roni and makes no claims that it is banned.
CAA Industries was not aware of the agency having any issues with the Micro Roni or related products and appears to be another victim of ATF’s bureaucratic morass.
This is just one more confirmation that with the continued lack of logical-measurable-standards for firearms braces, even the ATF themselves can not agree on what they are looking at.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.
Editors Note: This article was updated 1/22/2021 to remove the word “shoulder” where it was miss applied by editors and not author John Crump.