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Compliance = Defiance?

I had a conversation recently in the real world with a gun nut friend in which I basically said that gun rights folks were sort of like prisoners. If you’ve ever worked in a prison, you know that the prisoners have nothing to do all day long except plot how to circumvent the rules. And, if you work there, you have a job to do while they figure out ways to squeak out an extra privilege or whatever. And that’s what most did. Why not? Nothing else to do! The folks watching you have jobs to do.

Gun rights folks, while similar in circumstance, are different in motivation. They want to figure out the rules and exactly how they comply with them because they can. Or they want to prove how stupid gun laws are. Or because fuck you.

And gun rights folks also have the occasional person, who’s rather like the prisoner who thinks life is better if you accept your fate and suck up to the guards, that wags their finger when a firearms law hack presents itself.

I was rather surprised that a gun blogger, commenting on the SB-15 and tax avoidance, opined that: But to those people I overheard saying, Yay! Now I can have a short barreled rifle without the paperwork! I say, Shame on you! This part of the post was as surprising to me as the hideous grammar and spelling.

Shame on me? What on earth for? Those that snatch up a SB-15 for giggles (like me) are complying with the law. And, as the owner of a tax stamp collection, I can tell you it’s a pain in the ass to get your SBR on. I don’t mind paying the tax. I mind the ridiculous bureaucracy-imposed 18 month plus waiting period that has grown substantially worse under the current administration. And I mind the national gun registry that is the NFRTR. And I mind an administration that doesn’t like gun owners very much. Or, I could hop on the internet and have a SB-15 shipped to my house overnight.

For a gun that’s just going to be a plaything anyway, it’s easy math.

So, yeah, from this inmate, I’m cool with anyone dropping their SB-15 on a sub 16 inch gun. Hell, I’m going to build four of them before ATF changes it’s mind or whatever it calls that arbitrary rules making apparatus it uses. And you should too.

16 Responses to “Compliance = Defiance?”

  1. Linoge Says:

    “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

    In this case, you have the best of both worlds – you are strictly complying with the BATFE’s rulings regarding the arm brace, while automatically exposing just how idiotic the NFA has become over the years.

    Shame on those who seek to stifle innovation, whether that is actual technological developments or workarounds of idiotic laws.

  2. HSR47 Says:

    “I mind the ridiculous bureaucracy-imposed 18 month plus waiting period that has grown substantially worse under the current administration.”

    First, I doubt that any form 4 has taken 18 months during this administration; If one has it’s a statistical anomaly. If you look at NFA tracker’s trend graph*, and add in the delays noted in the last letter the BATFE issued regarding E-Forms**, you’ll see that peak transfer times were roughly 330-360 days from the date check was cashed, plus another ~90 days (~56 days for data entry delay, 30 for proof reading/error correction, remainder for postal delays), for a total of 420-450 days, or roughly 14-15 months (this also assumes that the check wasn’t cashed until the data had been entered and corrected, which might not be the case). You’ll also see that the peak lasted from roughly the beginning of February through the end of May of 2013, and has been declining steadily since. Since their introduction, I don’t think E-Forms ever went over 6 months. (One of mine was submitted Dec 13, and approved Sunday May 18th). In the last 18-24 months, it is my understanding that BATFE has hired additional examiners twice: 15 roughly a year ago, plus another 15 within the last 1-3 months (they have also assigned an additional 15 existing employees to temporary duty in the NFA branch), and per the graph at NFA tracker* they have been making significant progress reducing the backlog.

    Second, I’m not sure how much we can honestly blame this administration for the way NFA wait times exploded: As I understand it, the number of NFA exaiminers was stagnant from the Bush years, and thus prevented the BATFE from hiring more examiners immediately when there was a sudden spike in the number of submitted transfers in the fall/winter of 2012.

    Since the hiring freeze was largely a result of budgetary issues and the lack of a duly appointed & confirmed director (since well before Obama took office***), it seems to me that Congress bears more responsibility than the President.

    Don’t get me wrong: I love to complain about this president as the next guy, I just think we should be intellectually honest when we bitch about things.


  3. SayUncle Says:

    During the bush years, my wait time was 2 months. Too many people say it’s longer now

  4. HSR47 Says:

    “So, yeah, from this inmate, Im cool with anyone dropping their SB-15 on a sub 16 inch gun. Hell, Im going to build four of them before ATF changes its mind or whatever it calls that arbitrary rules making apparatus it uses. And you should too.”

    Keep in mind that they’re only “legal” due to a BATFE opinion letter. Such letters aren’t statute and aren’t binding jurisprudence; they’re just an opinion someone put on paper. As such, they’re only good until congress passes another law, a court adjudicates the issue, or (much more likely) the BATFE sees what they’ve done and decides to issue another letter abrogating the current letter.

    As such, while I don’t have a problem with such uses of the Sig brace (or even related hardware*), I would caution against investing heavily in them for the time being: All BATFE has to do is issue another letter, and all of a sudden you have ~115*n dollars worth of contraband on your hands.


  5. ben Says:

    So how long till someone is arrested for an illegal SBR, then points out to the court that there’s no functional difference, and very little cosmetic difference between an illegal SBR and an AR pistol with the SB15 strapped on it?

    Wonder what the outcome would be…

  6. HSR47 Says:

    “During the bush years, my wait time was 2 months. Too many people say its longer now”

    Refer again to the fact that the NFA branch had ~10 examiners at the end of the Bush years, with no hiring through the end of Obama’s first term. Note also the fact that up until quite recently NFA examiners were assigned to specific states (which often resulted in some states having significantly faster transfer times). If you look at NFATracker’s complete trend graph**, you’ll notice that forms submitted prior to approximately March of 2011 tended to have extremely variable wait times.

    Also note that in the last 2-3 years there has been a massive surge in the popularity of NFA ownership: Many states have legalized the use of mufflers when hunting, and a significant number of states have also lifted bans on short-barreled guns.

    While I’m not trying to excuse the transfer times*, the fact remains that the majority of the blame lies with the agency itself (it could have diverted existing employees at a much earlier date), and with Congress (which should have specifically earmarked funding to NFA branch based on income from tax stamps).

    *I’m currently waiting on 6 forms (the bulk of which should be back between June and September), and I’m debating sending in some form 1s for MGs which will probably get denied (another of the agency’s opinion letters opens the door***)



  7. Paul Kisling Says:

    If Compliance = Defiance wouldn’t just registering and SBR be the ultimate form of defiance??

    Personally I consider these things a joke. They look like a prosthetic and after you pay for the AR-Pistol and the prosthetic you are looking at very nearly as much for it as an SBR.

    Seems to me the only real advantage is time savings. Like most Americans people want their paperwork approved a week BEFORE they submit it. It comes down to the bane of modern America. ME ME ME! Now Now NOW!!!

  8. Someone You Know Says:

    Dear Uncle:

    I hear y’all discussing being accurate on the facts(HSR47), the duty of a citizen to obey just laws/disobey unjust laws (Linoge), and wait until the ATFE changes their minds (Ben and HSR47). The real situation, to me: the ATFE shouldn’t exist, taxes on firearms shouldn’t exist, and we (as citizens) should be able to build, buy, and barter, and just plain acquire any firearm we choose.

    So, …

    I think the conversion should be ‘I’m not voting for Chris Christy because he has done very little to restore our rights. I’m not voting for any Democrat (I’m pro-union) because they continue to play the gun-control (anti-freedom) game after every election.

    And, …

    If we don’t have the firearm-friendly candidates, we need to run for office. We have to find willing candidates.

    So, …

    “Uncle for Tennessee State House in 2016”

    Sincerely, Someone You Know

    We are making gains in public; We are making gains in the courts. We are making gains in legislation, but we haven’t made firearms freedom, self-protection, and … the default setting when it comes to firearms.SYK

  9. Old NFO Says:

    I’ll stick with an SBR… And I agree with HSR47, you’re one more ‘letter’ away from trouble…

  10. M Gallo Says:

    They are a niche product and have the benefit not only of avoiding running afoul NFA but also of qualifying an AR platform under a CCW in many cases.

  11. HSR47 Says:

    @M Gallo:

    In PA, the definition of “firearm” as it applies to the license to carry firearms simply talks about relative lengths. Generally speaking, many short barreled rifles/shotguns qualify, and I believe that all AOWs do as well.

    @Someone You Know:

    I agree completely that the federal gun control apparatus is completely unconstitutional, and it should go.

    That being said, the unfortunate reality is that we must make at least some efforts to publicly comply with many of these laws until we, as a community, are prepared to lay on the line our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. As far as that goes, it looks like the residents of NY/CT have largely made that decision, whereas I don’t believe we are quite there federally.

    @Paul Kisling:

    The real benefit is not only the time saved, it’s the avoidance of a lot of the major tertiary issues with NFA ownership. NFA items can be registered to individuals, corporations, and trusts; With the first method, the single registered owner MUST maintain custody of the NFA firearm(s) registered to him/her. The latter methods require a relatively significant financial investment, as well as a good lawyer.

    Going with an option to which the NFA does not apply sidesteps that issue.

  12. Paul Kisling Says:

    I figure the real issues with the NFA will develop when all those pistols you guys put that thingy on are all suddenly required to be registered as SBRs’. That sounds like something the BATF would do punitively, and so what if you take them to court? US v Davis shows that they do not care what the courts say.

    There are plenty of cool toys that were once legal but suddenly and arbitrarily banned by the BATF.

  13. Sendarius Says:

    So I go the AR pistol route, and add the SBR15 separately.

    I pay cash.

    Other than the Form 4473 for the pistol – which BATFE will have to specifically LOOK for since the FFL holds it – how would .gov know that I have the two, and thus could possibly have created an SBR?

  14. HSR47 Says:


    As far as what might happen, I think the most likely eventuality is that they’ll require immediate registration (like they did with the Striker shotguns). Unregistered examples would thence forth be contraband.

    Keep in mind that opinion letters are very often politically motivated; when the antis get wind of this, it WILL become a big deal; At that point, BATFE is likely to shut down the gravy train.

    While I agree that NFA ownership is a HUGE pain in the ass, the fact remains that it is at least on relatively firm legal footing.

    The Sig brace is, on the other hand, only enjoying it’s time in the sun due to an ATF opinion letter that is non-binding, and is likely to change.

  15. emdfl Says:

    So when – not if – the bstrs decide to change the rules, take the thing off,put it in the drawer, and go back to having an unstablized pistol – except when you’re alone on your property or after the SHTF of course, heh, heh, heh…

  16. HSR47 Says:


    I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud here, I just want to make sure that everyone is on the same page with regard to what we’re talking about: If/when (the latter is more likely, given this administration) BATFE decides to reverse themselves on that opinion letter, possession of an AR pistol and Sig brace will likely be deemed to be possession of an SBR.

    If you don’t have a problem potentially violating the NFA, then by all means go all out on these braces.

    If you have plenty of money, don’t want to muck about with or violate the NFA, and don’t mind losing some due to the petty decisions of a faceless bureaucrat, then by all means go all out on these braces.

    If you don’t want to worry about that whole NFA business, and don’t want to worry about losing a lot of money on these braces, then you probably shouldn’t go all out on these braces.

    I’m not saying “Don’t do it.” I’m saying “Be aware of what might happen, and think about that before you do it.”