ATF Comments on 88-Day Automatic Denial of Pistol Brace Tax Stamps

The MCX pistol with folding brace is super compact and easy to carry. IMG Jim Grant

WASHINGTON, D.C. -( Gun Owners of America’s (GOA) attorney Stephen Stamboulieh claimed that if a NICS check is not completed within 88 days, then the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will automatically reject a Form 1 application. Mr. Stamboulieh claimed that an ATF employee at SHOT Show told him if that happened, the ATF would take enforcement action. This claim received pushback from other gun influencers who believed the 88-day period was fear-mongering or didn’t really exist. AmmoLand News spoke to one well-known influencer who witnessed the conversation and backed up Stamboulieh’s claim. AmmoLand News wanted to follow up on these claims, report on both sides of the issue, and let the readers decide.

One big misconception is an eForm 1 will be rejected if the form is not approved within 88 days. Stamboulieh was talking about the NICS background check portion of the tax stamp process. The ATF will contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to run a background check during the process. If a check is not completed within 88 days after the ATF contacts the FBI, the check will be purged from the system and returned as “open.”

This check is the same Brady Law-mandated background check run by the FBI when a person purchases a firearm from a federal firearms licensee (FFL) and fills out an ATF Form 4473. Under the Gun Control Act (GCA), the FFL can complete the transfer after three days if there is no response from the FBI, so if the background check never is returned, the gun owner will never know since the transfer has happened.

Under the National Firearms Act (NFA), the tax stamp process cannot be completed without the NICS check returning “approved.” After 88 days, the check will be purged, and the ATF will deny the tax stamp.

AmmoLand News spoke to Public Affairs Division Deputy Chief Erik Longnecker, who confirmed that an ATF Form 1 would automatically be disapproved if the NICS check is not returned in 88 days. He puts the onus on the applicant to contact the FBI to find out what caused the delay and fix it. Longnecker went on to explain that the applicant can resubmit their form outside the 120-day window.

“The 120-day period is for when applications must be submitted to ATF, not the time period for when they must be processed. The processing time will vary based on the volume of applications submitted to ATF.; however, the background check is one of the final steps in ATF’s processing of an application. If an application is disapproved due to the FBI not being able to provide a proceed for the background check (after 88-days), the applicant can resolve issues with the FBI and resubmit their application to ATF (See items 21-23 in the questions and answers at, even if that resubmission is after the initial 120-day period,” Longnecker said.

AmmoLand News read through the document provided to us by the ATF to contact the FBI about the ‘open’ background check. We tried to follow the procedure, but the link in the document where we could reach the FBI returned a “page not found.” After examining the document, we were able to determine there is a white space in the link. A white space refers to a blank space and is invalid in URLs. We were able to figure out the correct link and complete the process.

Results of ATF Provided Link

According to the latest statistics, 2.2% of NICS checks will never be completed and purged by the FBI. AmmoLand News has obtained documents of an NFA transaction rejected because the 88-day window to complete a background check expired and was purged.

There is a deep distrust within the gun community. GOA is not willing to take the ATF at its word. The organization points to a history of regulatory abuse and a near schizophrenic approach to rule-making. One example would be the ATF stating in court that the frames and receivers rule allows companies to sell pistol frame blanks without background checks or serial numbers as long as it doesn’t come with a jig and tools. Then two days after Christmas, the ATF issued an open letter stating that the rule requires pistol frame blanks to be serialized and are firearms regulated by the GCA.

“The ATF considered the 88-day problem prior to issuing the final rule and then explicitly failed to address it, except in an ambiguous, non-binding Q&A document and in an email to Ammoland News. That isn’t good enough,” Aidan Johnston, GOA Director of Federal Affairs, told AmmoLand News. “This rogue agency has a history of flippantly changing rules that would make felons of everyday Americans.”

“This was seen as recently as this week when the ATF made significant changes to the NFA FAQs that made a commonplace occurrence a criminal violation,” Johnston continued. “The agency then deleted the change within 24 hours without any official comment. “

“If the ATF wants to clarify that it will use appropriate discretion and not prosecute gun owners who have received a denied amnesty application because of an ‘open background check’ but continue to possess the ‘illegal firearm,’ it should have been mentioned in the final rule, and further binding clarification should be issued.”

“The ATF is not a legislative body, and they are playing with people’s lives and livelihoods with their thoughtless and draconian ‘rules,’ and that’s why GOA will be attacking this rule from every angle—legally, legislatively, and administratively,” Johnston said.

One critic of people sounding the alarm over the 88-day “open” NICS checks that will lead to an NFA denial is Second Amendment attorney Matthew Larosiere, who runs the YouTube channel Fudd Busters. He believes the issue of the 88-day purge is being overblown.

“While what ATF is doing is incredibly wrong, what I see here is intense disingenuity,” Larosiere said. “NICS checks being purged after 88 days is no new feat; it’s been the state of the law for decades. It does not operate as a denial; it is merely an inconclusive background check.”

“The problem is, people are acting as though if the form isn’t approved in 88 days, they’d instantly be a felon, and that’s not the case,” Larosiere continued, “while people who fall in this category may find themselves in an awkward position if their form is disapproved following the 120-day window, federal law has specifically prevented any information submitted on these registration forms from being used criminally against an applicant since 1968.”

When it comes to individuals living in states which independently ban or regulate SBRs, Larosiere opined that “the individual ought to very carefully read their state law, and in most instances will, unfortunately, feel forced to dispose of their brace rather than attempting to apply for a stamp.”
“People are suggesting this is a trap, and I agree, but not in the way it’s being pushed,” said Larosiere, “the trap here, if you ask me, is getting people accustomed to the idea of registering common firearms. Not some massive honeypot.”

One concern is that on a normal Form 1, the gun owner does not build the rifle until the tax stamp is issued. In this case, in the eyes of the ATF, the short-barreled rifle with a pistol stabilizing device already exists. Even if the ATF does not take enforcement action, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer has been notified of the existence of an unregistered SBR and could act if the tax stamp is disapproved. Those charges might not stick for the reasons Larosiere cited, but it could be costly for the gun owner.

The biggest issue might be that the rule is so convoluted that even highly intelligent people have fundamental disagreements about what the rule states and what actions the ATF will take against individual gun owners. Not only do intelligent people have disputes over the final rule, but apparently, so do ATF employees.

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

John Crump

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Ex post facto laws are expressly forbidden by the United States Constitution in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3 (with respect to federal laws) and Article 1, Section 10 (with respect to state laws). Ex post facto law – Wikipedia IN OTHER WORDS: If it was legal to buy it yesterday and WAS APPROVED TO DO SO, NOBODY can change that now, making YOU a criminal. Then again, THIS is all about a RULE, that hasn’t passed through Congress. ALL EMPLOYESS MUST WASH THEIR HANDS AFTER USING THE RESTROOM…. THAT is a RULE! What the BATFE is attempting to do is dictate to… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by USMC0351Grunt
Watch um

As a simple an not highly educated but honest citizen will I be a criminal if I have a brace MCK that was legal to own before the ATF rule was published but not made law by the Congress ?
I do not own an AR style pistol with a brace


Yes, you will no longer be a law abiding subject(citizens have natural rights), and conservatives will support socialist enforcers harming you over your 2nd Amendment. A local cop, will violate your rights and then the socialist scum will say they support the 2nd Amendment. You might as well smoke a joint and make a coat hanger lighting link for your ar15, since it is the same charge as having a brace. The older folks, especially conservatives turning our rights into privileges, is what has done this to us. The older folks and their Stockholm syndrome to just following orders socialists… Read more »

Courageous Lion - Hear Me Roar

I’m one of those older folks who has been saying for YEARS they can KMA. I carried in states that had permits without permits. And as for the ATF…I think I’ll deal with them the same way King George’s enforcers were dealt with.


I hear that. Either we stop the Despot in office now, or it’s only going to get worse.


I would not generalize that all young people are being over confident and unaware of history while insulting their elders like you. I’m sure there are some young people that can grow into great patriots. How we got to now is a long complicated story. Being an elderly person I can remember a lot more freedom in this country than is allowed now. One example, a person could walk into a hardware store and buy dynamite and caps with no special permits required. That was over 50 years ago. I think the blame you seek to lay on older people… Read more »


www … You wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for older people . I’ll give you that … Your mother made a mistake !!!!

Wild Bill

You are funny because the Gen. Z’ers are saying the same thing about you. Obsolete and in the way are the words that they use.


The British are here. Again.

Country Boy

It’s the communists actually…..same difference though….


Same remedy is in order.


As Paul Revere said: “The Lefties are are coming!, The Lefties are coming!”

Courageous Lion - Hear Me Roar

The “DEALERS” actually like having the BATFE do the “background checks” and the “approval” for all tax stamp items. Can you figure out why ? L-I-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y (criminal and civil).


BATFE doesn’t do background checks. The FBI does them and, no, we don’t like it. NICS is unconstitutional hot garbage that has a 94% false positive rate and tax stamps are infringement as well.


I realize that ex post facto laws are prohibited by the Constitution: but I also recall Bill Clinton getting a back-dated tax increase through the democrat run congress! Nothing was ever done about it!

Last edited 2 months ago by Bill
Courageous Lion - Hear Me Roar

And an “law” or rule that is made CONTRARY on not in PURSUANCE of the Constitution is null and void. Some day I’ll write a book on what ”
THEY” ignore when it comes to the Constitution. Read the 8th amendment and tell me if a $250,000 FINE for not paying $200 is excessive? Or if 10 years in a cage for not paying $200 is cruel and unusual punishment? I think we are on the verge of another PURGE. Tell king XIDEN to KISS OUR ASSES.

Country Boy

Let’s see….. for many years now AR pistols with braces were legal….now they’re not…..One or the other is a LIE.
And we all know which one is the lie.

Since the BATFE (Bureau of Assholes Tyrants, Facists and Egomaniacs), does *nothing but lie to us*, why should we believe anything they tell us?

Last edited 2 months ago by Country Boy

What is this thing called legality? We have been mentally washed with the technicalities of government since we could first hear. It would be wonderful if we just handled situations ourselves, instead of hiring the government to do it. Now the ones we have hired have become supreme; they tell us what to do from their own book. See the ez post above. Why are we powerless?



The British are here. They are using the same tactics as they did in Boston.
The revolution is here.


Will Not Comply


DO NOT COMPLY. Rules are not laws and the atf can not make laws. Don’t be a sucker.


They can role that form up tight and the stamps and bend over and insert them in thier rectal port for all I care as this will go the same way as the bumpstock ban .


I Don’t have any braces (my teeth are sort of straight)
They are all cleaning stands, so my Banshee’s won’t fall over while cleaning them.


All I can say is What a friggin mess…keep yer powder dry boys and girls, buy more ammo, practice often and “don’t fergit nothin”….lol.


” But when a long train of abuses and ursurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinced a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right it is their duty, to throw off such Government and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

The train of abuses began in 1934, and it’s past time we put an end to the ride.


Last edited 2 months ago by Chuck


Last edited 2 months ago by Bubba

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by ez
Courageous Lion - Hear Me Roar

But, but, but….won’t Jesus save us??? Maybe he wants us to save ourselves. There are countless articles and commentators and pundits who fence and tangle, who tumble and roll the slogans and platitudes of gun control, civilian disarmament, public safety, gun violence epidemics, commonsense restrictions, loopholes, Second Amendment rights and other sophisticated and nuanced and ultimately irrelevant sophistries that dance around and completely avoid the blunt and brutally honest point of lethal, military grade weapons in the hands of civilians. They are in those hands for one purpose, and one purpose only. That purpose is cold, unmistakable and ruthless. It… Read more »

Roland T. Gunner

Sounds like a “Second Amendment attorney” needs to unass the fence and pick a side. A Second Amemdment true believer does not know the word “but” and will mever use it in a sentance while discussing gun rights.


Sounds like the general public needs to pick a side and show up with their arms.


Courageous Lion - Hear Me Roar


2nd Amendment.png

This is the government our Forefathers warned about…and for which they penned the Second Amendment. Apply Liberally…pun intended.




Didn’t George Bush do an amnesty program for the immigrants that completely belly flopped? This is a similiar method that is destined to fail as well. Waste of money and resources.


Reagan did so you can thank him for that as well as the Mulford Act and Hughes Amendment.


This is the state building and testing the universal registry. First will be braces. Once they get the system debugged, more types of firearms and accessories will follow until they have us registering all semi-auto, detachable mag firearms. Eventually, gun ownership will be such a hassle, the owners will thin to a manageable number for ban and confiscation. The election system is ruined. There will be no voting out of this mess. You are just going to have to decide where you personally draw the line.

Matt in Oklahoma

Change Requires Discomfort and all y’all are still comfortable so off like rats following the pied piper ya go trying to get get that free government tit stuff wearing your molon labe Spartan percenters riflemen swag
I’m gonna start calling y’all 7 days


So what states ban SBRs?


looks like the usual suspects:

California Curios & Relics Only
District of Columbia No
New York No
Hawaii No
Maryland Kinda (State law has further restrictions)
New Jersey No
Rhode Island No
The Ultimate Short Barrel Rifle Guide | Lynx Defense says updated 2023

What NFA Firearms are Permitted by Each State? – National Gun Trusts says updated 2019 but also shows status of laws on SBS, MG, Supressors, DD & AOW.

Have a Good Day!!


SIMPLE MATH QUIZ: If Bubba buys (12) stripped AR-15 lowers (Serialized) and Jim Bob buys (14) stripped AR-10 lowers (Serialized) and Earline buys (11) 80% AR-15 lowers and Betty Ray buys (7) 80% AR-10 Lowers, HOW MANY AR-PISTOLS and AR RIFLES did they make?


Easy question. Answer: NONE. Serialized lowers are simply “Receiver” on question 4 and “Other Firearm” on question 24 of forms 4473 and 5300.9a. Betty Ray’s lowers are either post infringement and serialized (see above) or pre-soon-to-be-struck-down-rule un-serialized paperweights.


That would be
“Two postmen times three animal control officers divided by two gas meter readers equals how many dependable, integrated community workers?
Decode your answer now.

Did you remember to carry the bum?”

extra bonus points for those old enough to identify the quote

Country Boy

If it takes two men 4 hours to dig a 4x4x4 deep hole, how long does it take them to dig half a hole?

Country Boy

589….because they didn’t let the bastards know about them.


I take offense to that.

I bought 17. 😉

AZ Lefty

Thanks Mr. Trump! You know the guy who opened us to this by banning Bump Stocks


Well, look at that! You do get something right every once in a while!


That appears to have been remedied by the SCOTUS but apparently you and the clownshow Joe Biden did not get the memo .

Rob J

Sorry Montana, but it wasn’t. A stay was placed by the 5th Circuit Court on the bump stock ban (specifically against “rules” from the BATF as actual law without legislative process), but it has yet to be heard by SCOTUS. The Bruen decision does shine a light of hope in this direction as there were no precedence of banning any items that increase a rate of fire of a firearm during the time of constitution ratification or 14th Amendment. However, there is still a lot of fight left in the argument despite us all knowing the bump stock ban was… Read more »


Yes, I saw Trump live on TV saying that. I almost hit the floor.



MISS Off backer.

Trump did NOT ban bump stocks. He told BATF the should. They do NOT have the power or authority to do this as such a ban comprises a “law” and ONLY cingress can make law. I believe Trump knew this when he spoke up. BATF took the bait and ran away with it and are still running now that Sleepee Dopee Joee is the head honcho. And SCOTUS struck this down as they MUST exactly because Congress did not make it law, but a Fed agency made a “rule”. Not cricket.


President Trump signed a memorandum instructing the attorney general to regulate the use of bump stocks”

“The new regulations, which were signed by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker…”

So President Trump did not ban bump stocks? Kind of like the 2nd Amendment does not say we can keep and bear our arms?



Trump said more than a few things before he quickly backed off or took action on just to play the dems. bumpstocks were just one. after las vegas, every rabid dem desperately sought to ban every modern semi in existence. he threw them a bone.
remember, he also talked about suppressors and those infamous red flag laws… only to back off shortly after being educated on their pitfalls.


Right. Republicans had complete control of DC but Trump needed to appease Democrats. Let’s not forget his support for the first AWB (which he praised in his book), the TAPS Act, and banning body armor. It’s amazing how someone can praise arms laws and even enact two of them in his first two years while his own party is in power (bumpstock ban and FixNICS) and you people will STILL make excuses for him. The guy might as well be holding up a flashing sign saying he doesn’t understand nor respect 2A rights!


I have to go with the belief that I President Trump was ill-informed on the Bump Stock issue by those with a hidden agenda.


The phrase, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”, used to be popular with law enforcement. Now, when people quote the law to them, the same thing is being said, in reverse. Trump oscillated between anti-gun and pro-gun before and after his election. A similar phrase could be used for him, “ignorance of the constitution is no excuse”. Now, I gave Trump the benefit of the doubt and contributed to his election campaign. Then he said and did anti-gun things, and then said anti-constitution things, and he is still doing it. If in saying and doing these things, he conflicts… Read more »


I know exactly what you’re saying but with all that man had going on in office I swear to God I still feel deep down that somebody was jerking his gherkin and pushed that through without his full knowledge. Just look at the way the man handles common sense in business he gets things done with great, better than great agreements. In his inauguration he said flat out I’m giving America back to you the people. I just can’t understand and see any rationale on him doing that all on his own.

Country Boy

Bumps stops have been ruled legal by SCOTUS. it was the dems wanting it..


But who actually did it?



No, they haven’t. SCOTUS has not heard any case regarding stocks. Republicans had complete control of DC when Trump ordered bumpstocks to be banned. He didn’t have to appease anyone. Let’s not pretend you care about who “wanted it” if you’re not going to call out Trump wanting to ban silencers and body armor as well.