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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since all of the threads on Sig brace are closed, not sure where else to post this:
BREAKING: Statement from SIG SAUER About ATF Pistol Brace Ruling - The Truth About Guns

Here are the highlights in Sig's letter to ATF -
Sig said:
In the letter of January 16, 2015, ATF opines that a person’s actual use of the product as a shoulder stock can change the legal classification of the product.
Opines, interesting choice of word.

Sig said:
We question ATF’s reversal in position that the classification of the brace may be altered by its use. We are reviewing the legal precedents and justification for this position, and will address our concerns with ATF in the near future.
Heck yeah, time to put that expensive legal team of yours to good use Sig.

Sig said:
We will vigorously defend the classification of all of our products and our consumers’ right to use them in accordance with the law. If we find that the open letter opinion is outside the scope of the law, we will seek further review.
That's good news IMO, it sounds like Sig is more prepared to fight this then I originally give them credit for. This could force ATF to completely retract their earlier approval to Sig brace or their open letter about "redesigning" the brace by using it a certain way. Nothing risked nothing gained.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've said this before and I will state it again: if left unchallenged, this ATF determination could set a dangerous precedent for agency to charge gun owners whenever they like by simply outlawing the way we hold our weapons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i don't understand why people are getting bent out of shape about the ATF's new ruling. it makes sense to me.
it basically says it would be illegal to use it other than intended. that applies to many things, and in fact that legal warning can be found in many consumer products. this is the same clause that could be used in the legal defense of someone who was attacked by another person yielding a wooden stick as a weapon. the argument would be that the attacker had remade/re-purposed/redesigned/whatever the stick into a dangerous weapon. it means the person that performed the re-design (i.t.e. the attacker) was responsible, not the product. it's a means for them to prevent a loop-hole (to create an SBR) and to prosecute potential offenders, not to re-classify the arm brace and make it illegal.

people may be having an issue with the word "redesign", thinking that it has to involve physical change of property, or assembly; or that one mis-use will reclassify the entire product. the ATF is saying that it's based on intent in each particular case. i.e. a baseball bat is a baseball bat until it's intended to be used as a dangerous weapon; then it becomes a dangerous weapon in that case. they're not going to reclassify all baseball bats.
Never thought I would see someone arguing FOR a government agency to exercise power that's not constitutionally theirs on a gun forum, especially an agency that's responsible for gun control under an anti-gun administration no less.

Maybe I'm wrong in thinking that only the legislative body can make new laws or change existing ones. Now if I do something that's legal one day then that same thing is now a federal crime the next day. Explain to me how that can happen WITHOUT a new Federal law being in place or change made to the existing Federal law. But don't take my words for it, here's a lawyer talking about the exact topic:

Your baseball bat is a terrible analogy. First of all, assault with deadly weapon is an existing law. The language and legal precedent are clear in what can reasonably defined as assault with deadly weapon. Second, the charge based on the assault which in itself an illegal action; it's not possession or manufacturing or modification. Regarding the sig brace, there's no law that restriction the act of shouldering a rifle or even SBR. And the existing NFA law only limits manufacturing and modification of NFA firearms. What ATF did is intentionally interpreted the law (misinterpreted it beyond its reasonable definition IMO) as to effectively changing it without going through the constitutionally mandated legislative process. If misuse constitute as re-design, then what's stopping ATF from charging individual with possession of unregistered NFA controlled firearms for using two hand grip to fire pistols (AOW), or grabbing magwell on AR pistols ((AOW) or holding pistols against their shoulders (SBR)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh well, maybe my plan to sell off my SBR lower in favor of SIG brace pistol lowers than I can travel across state lines without asking for permission needs to be put on hold until this is sorted.

I think I'll still buy a SIG brace though, I have an itch to have any and all things the Authoritarians tell me I can't be trusted with.

If we still had prohibition I would own a still just for GPs and I don't even drink very much.
I honestly don't see why gun owners aren't more upset over this. This issue goes beyond Sig brace. ATF is basically demonstrating that they can bypass the Senate and House and make their own law regarding guns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
i'm not arguing for the ATF but rather the logic they are making on this whole ridiculous NFA process. if someone is making sense to me, i'm not going to invalidate them just because they wear a government suite.
If the whole NFA law is so ridiculous, then what is making sense to you? How exactly does one make sense to you when they are ultimately making a ridiculous assertion?

the NFA laws (passed by legislation) specify the "attorney general" as the authoritative agent. the ATF, working under the DOJ, is governed by the AG and is essentially the authoritative agent here. their interpretation and authorization is not in question here. if you are saying that ATF is not in a position to interpret existing laws, then that is another argument.
I'm not and never was arguing their power to enforce the law. Their authority to intentionally misinterpret the word of the law IS in question here. Again I have to ask: if I do something that's legal one day then that same thing is now a federal crime the next day. How that can happen WITHOUT a new Federal law being in place or change made to the existing Federal law?

their interpretation is that when the user shoulders the brace, the user has [during such time that it is shouldered] redesigned / remade the brace into a shoulder stock.

that make sense to me.
No it does not. No reasonable (and legal) definition of redesign means using the item in a different manner than the original design. Take End User License Agreement for any software for example, the term redesign means changing the original code, not temporary misuse of it.

if you disagree and win the battle, you have to realize that it'll open a loop-hole that will seek specific legislated banning, or imposed tax, in the future; lose the war.
they're basically coming out and officially saying to not do it, which they have to. the brace remains untaxed and legal.
I would rather ATF go through the proper process for those "specific legislated banning" then arbitrarily declaring something illegal without elected officials. If it is a war, then you're basically saying we should appease the other side with something small hoping they will be satisfied. That strategy worked really well for Europe against Hitler too. Well, fvck that, I rather lose the war after fighting than give up without trying. But seeing how the last election turned out, I like our chance with the legislative channels.

the definition of pistol is: "A weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand" {ref:page 39}

i think the keyword here is originally. if a pistol is held by two hands it would still remain a pistol because it was originally made to be held in one hand. there are no other definitions for "two hand grip" that the user would be jumping/redesigning to. now if the user was to shoulder a pistol, sure - same thing as the brace. it jumps from an "originally made for one handed" device to a "redesigned to be fired from a shoulder" device (i.e. the brace).
Except ATF also this to say about AOW:
ATF said:
ATF has long held that by installing a vertical fore grip on a handgun, the handgun is no longer designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.
They can easily argue that by using the pistol with two hands, you have "redesigned" it to be held two hands, therefore no longer classified as pistol and in possession of an unregistered AOW which is a Federal crime. Also there's this:


what's stopping them? nothing. you don't think ATF would prosecute someone for shouldering a pistol if they want to be asshats or give someone a hard time? are you challenging them to make a decision? i would bet if people were to write in and question shouldering pistols (as dumb as it sounds), the ATF would announce a similar interpretation.
Sure, they certain can "opine" similarly. But answer me these: do you think they would prosecute someone who does shoulder a pistol? And do you think they have a good chance of winning?
 
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Not at all surprising. More of Obama's anti gun initiatives. Firearm maker makes a firearm item after the FTB approves it costing them millions of dollars which they hope to recover after sales of the items so that they can make a profit. Once released, FTB declares "Oops, we were wrong" and changes their mind (which they do with alarming frequency), so Sig is out all of the R&D and tooling money and takes a loss that they can not claim on their taxes. Sig, a firearm manufacturer, looses millions of dollars and Obama's anti gun policies go forward unchecked because FTB now makes decisions based on political expediency, not law. Obama get what he wants and now has another way to squeeze firearm manufacturers out of millions of dollars.

Want to challenge it? Got an extra couple of million of dollars sitting around that you are willing to loose? Who cares, government does not pay for this battle, taxpayers do.

Once again, this administration and their anti gun czars make unconstitutional determinations that have the weight of law, yet are not accountable to anyone. Typical mentality of "we know it is unconstitutional but who with deep enough pockets is going to challenge it?" And even though another political party controls both houses, nothing will get done because neither has a veto override majority and the anti gun dems will continue to block anything that may interfere with Obama's anti gun policies.

Face it, the only thing that is going to change at this time is that Obama is going to use his VETO pen because he no longer has Harry Reid to block any of his non socialist anti gun big government agenda anymore. He has only used it twice, once shutting down the government by veto of a Continuing Resolution, and the other time was the veto of Interstate Recognition of Notarization.

I give you 100 to 1 odds that Obama uses his veto pen more than any other president in the last two years of office.
I agree for the most part, but I think Sig have a better chance in winning this. Government might not pay for this battle but even if it's not theirs, taxpayer dollars is still a limited resource for them and there are bigger battles in the Capital hill for Obama's administration and Democrats to be concerned about than backing up the ATF in a minor skirmish especially with next presidential election two years away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I kinda see where you are coming from... In my opinion a lot of people are upset because they can't use the brace as non-collapsing stock... While you can still use it as an actual brace. I'm assuming at some point prior to the release of the of the brace Sig sought out ATF approval as to the braces legality under current federal laws. I don't believe there is a federal law which specifically addresses the use of a brace in an application similar to the Sig brace.

There is a video below this post that goes on for almost 10 minutes where there is discussion about definitions and redesigning, etc... I understand how some of that logic seems twisted but the individual in the video states that officials with the ATF basically wrote law... which I would assert they did not, but they did change their mind on how they were going to apply the current laws that are on the books. When I saw Sig braces initially starting to show up on the inter web I thought to myself, "is that thing legal?" The questions I had about its legality were based on my own opinions and current understanding of the laws at the time, as someone who had gone through the NFA process for a SBR, etc. I soon read articles about how it was "approved" by the ATF and deemed to be legal for this or that reason exempting a pistol with one installed from the NFA process. To me it has always been a slippery slope that I decided to stay away from.

I personally believe that if you think there should be less restrictions on items currently controlled by the NFA it would be politically more prudent to address an actual law that is written rather than what I see as something that has always kind of hinged on the opinion of the ATF.

And while loopholes or gray area regarding laws have always existed... from time to time they close for one reason or another...
I think a lot people are upset because ATF interpret the NFA law beyond what we would consider reasonable. Previous interpretations of NFA by ATF have always been related to physical change of firearms, there's never been a legal precedent where how one HOLDS the weapon constitutes as a "re-design" of the firearm. Again if this is to be accept as norm, then ATF can restrict how gun owners are allow to hold their weapons, since now they established that alone is all they need to charge us with a Federal crime.

Furthermore, the way at which ATF arbitrarily flip flop back and forth in the legality and the inconsistent method in which they make that determination is almost entrapment.

I disagree that tackling NFA is a "politically prudent" course of action. Problem is that gun control issue is essentially at a political stalemate; there's no chance of either side will be able to score a major win over the other. And modifying or even overturning the NFA is about big of a win as we can hope. So both sides have resorted to argument over specific language of the existing law (i.e. loopholes or gray area). Those loopholes or gray areas benefit both sides (although I personally believe that the NFA is clear in the definition of what the controlled items are). They might close but they should always be challenged as it won't be the first time a government agency gets slapped for overstepping their authorities in their interpretation of the law in a court case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
this is spiraling out. i think the important objective for me is to understand your point; then i can decide whether i agree to it.

see if i got these correctly:

a) you're indicating that the ATF had previously approved the brace (i'm not clear on whether that approval was specific to shouldering it).


b) thru their new interpretation, they are claiming that misuse == redesign.
Yes.

c) you do not agree with this definition of "redesign".
But you do, thus enabling ATF to not only control possession or modification of guns but how gun owners use or hold their weapons. It's basically gun control without giving us the chance to fight it. And that seems to be something you're okay with? Seriously, did you just come into this forum to troll?

d) you think that this could (or would?) lead them to accuse people operating a pistol using a two handed grip to having "redesigned" an AOW.
You don't? If ATF already established that the way you HOLD a firearm constitute as redesign of the weapon to potentially NFA controlled item then hold a handgun using two hands would also be considered as redesigning it to a firearm intended to be shot with both hands and no longer a pistol (i.e. AOW). That goes for griping the mag well on AR pistol or shouldering any pistol whether it's the buffer tubes on AR pistols or just the grip on a handgun.

e) you would like ATF to be challenged in court to leave the interpretation to higher courts.
And you would like ATF to left unchallenged in the hope of what? They will stop there?

f) should the courts agree with your interpretation of "redesign" (thus legalizing shouldering the brace), you would be happy with the victory.
Let me get this straight: you wouldn't be happy with ATF getting slapped for overreach their authority. Again, are you trolling or what?

g) should further laws be legislated to specifically ban the brace, or shouldering of, you would be ok with that for the mere fact of having gone thru proper legislative process.
Sorry but that's stupid question. Are you really asking me whether I would rather see law passed through the proper legislative process than it arbitrarily be decided by single individual? No, I would love for this country to get turned in North Korea *sarcasm*
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Being in government for nearly two decades now in a regulatory role, the way I see it is as follows:
The BATFE did us, the consumers a favor by allowing the Sig brace to be mounted on short barrel firearms in such a manner without the requirement of the Tax Stamp and Form 1 filing.

Eventually, the BATFE's boss, either the Department of Treasury, or maybe the Secretary of Treasury, of one of the Federal House Committees, or even the President himself ordered the BATFE to reverse this regulatory decision on the Sig brace.

Ive seen even it many times before. A regulatory body allows or disallows something and after awhile, the politicians or higher ups force them to reverse the regulatory rescission.

I am sad that the BATFE reversed its regulatory decision to allow Sig braces as "butt stocks," but I am not surprised it happened.
Sorry I have to completely disagree. Saying that a government agency is "doing gun owners a favor" by initially stating installation of the Sig brace doesn't change classification of the firearm is like saying the guy stole your car then did you a favor by allowing you to use it for one day a week. What actually happened is Sig did themselves and us a solid by asking the ATF for clarification on the Sig brace; you'll note that Sig never submitted the MPX to the ATF.

Also ATF is a DOJ bureau, what does Treas or SecTreas have anything to do with it? And people up the chain from the guy at Technology branch (who wrote the open letter) can indirectly order them to reverse their decision on their stance on the Sig brace. But Sig would definitely bring on another lawsuit, one which they would have a greater chance of winning seeing how ATF was the one who initially approved the Sig brace to begin with.

I see this unfolding in the court much similar to US vs Thompson Center Arms Company, a case in which the ATF got slapped down because it tried to apply a too broad of an interpretation to the language of NFA. The Supreme Court basically stated that since violation of NFA is a Federal crime, the ambiguity of the law is ruled against the government. Sounds familiar?
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
so i've changed my perspective.

previously i was narrowly focused on the brace. i figured that what they said was opinion. i don't think it really mattered. the brace was still legal and it made sense to blame the person, not the device, for the misuse. what matters is the court's interpretation. if ATF is challenged, it'll push their opinion into courts which i did not think would go well either way. so let them get away with their opinion. nod head. move on.

however i started to see the bigger picture. if we were to actually put value into their interpretation then its implications would be ugly as well; maybe uglier. from the perspective of playing it as a political chess game, i don't have the foresite to make a strong stance either way, so i retract my previous opinion. i'd say it's probably better to disagree with their interpretation; maybe even challenge it. from the perspective of principles alone, i don't agree with the ATF's interpretation. however i don't favor to always play the hot headed purist (stick). i think sometimes more can be done thru the political chess game (carrot).

here's a good article about carrots vs sticks : by joe huffman
The open letter IS in fact an opinion. If it held any legal weight Sig would have print a legal disclaimer with all their brace and on their website that misusing their brace carries with it a criminal penalty. If ATF chooses to enforce their opinion and press charge on someone who did shoulder the brace, then Sig would no doubt get involved (either voluntary or the accused will sue Sig for not notifying users of the potential legal pitfall). But I think those are moot points, since Sig response implies that they've already started a legal proceeding against the ATF in regards to the letter.

Also while I appreciate the merits of a moderate approach, I don't believe this is a case where "carrot" is the right strategy; that will just lead to them coming back wanting all of your carrots. This has been happening since 1934:
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
I don't think they really flip-flopped based on what I've seen... there is the redesign statement... but again... everyone wants to basically use the Sig brace as a stock and to me these arguments further force their hand... The ATF can always interpret the law as they see fit depending on the political environment... I just don't see how a suit or anything else is going to change their mind absent cases being prosecuted unsuccessfully... Or political pressure from the top... think about it...
No flip-flopping? Really? Maybe you missed this a few pages back:


And no, ATF can't interpret the law as they see fit, again see what I posted on US vs Thompson Center Arms Company. That's legal precedent from Supreme Court stating that ATF CANNOT interpret ambiguity of the law "as they see fit".

So what do you suggest gun owners do next time ATF decides to interpret (i.e. mis-interpret) the law a certain way? We should just let it happen because nothing is "is going to change their mind... Or political pressure from the top"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
The two situations are apples and oranges...

Background[edit]

The legal dispute in United States v. Thompson-Center Arms Company arose when officials from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms contacted Thompson Center Arms informing them that the kit of the Contender Pistol that included a stock and a 16-inch (410 mm) barrel constituted a short-barreled rifle under the National Firearms Act.
Arguments[edit]

The US Government's argument centered on the analogy of a disassembled bicycle still being a bicycle.
Stephen Halbrook argued on behalf of Thompson Center Arms and stated that the weapon would have to be assembled with both the stock and the 10-inch (250 mm) barrel attached to it to be a short-barreled rifle.
Decision[edit]

The court ruled in Thompson Center Arms' favor in that the carbine conversion kit did not constitute a short-barreled rifle, primarily because the kit contained both the stock and the 16 inch barrel.
Justice Scalia also noted that there is a warning carved on the stock telling the user to not attach the stock to the receiver when the 10-inch barrel is attached to the receiver or vice versa.
This circumstance caused the court to apply the rule of lenity since the NFA carries criminal penalties with it. This meant that ambiguous statutes are interpreted against the government.

And again in that situation while I don't see the reasoning the ATF made an interpretation and there was an unsuccessful court case... kind of proves my point...

Unless there is something I'm missing?
No, it's orange to orange. In US vs ThompsonCAC, the entire case rests on different interpretation of NFA, in particular the word "make".
(a) The language of § 5845(i)-which provides that "[t]he term 'make', and [its] various derivatives ... , shall include manufacturing ... , putting together ... , or otherwise producing a firearm"-clearly demonstrates that the aggregation of separate parts that can be assembled only into a firearm, and the aggregation of a gun other than a firearm and parts that would have no use in association with the gun except to convert it into a firearm, constitute the "making" of a firearm. If, as the Court of Appeals held, a firearm were only made at the time of final assembly (the moment the firearm was "put together"), the statutory "manufacturing ... or otherwise producing" language would be redundant. Thus, Congress must have understood "making" to cover more than final assembly, and some disassembled aggregation of parts must be included
However, application of the ordinary rules of statutory construction shows that the Act is ambiguous as to whether, given the fact that the Contender can be converted into either an NFA-regulated firearm or an unregulated rifle, the mere possibility of its use with the kit to assemble the former renders their combined packaging "making."
What proves your point? You claimed that ATF is free to interpret NFA however they like when in fact that's not the case. US vs ThompsonCAC is clearly an example where Supreme Court strike down one ATF interpretation of NFA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
That is my point... "The ATF can always interpret the law as they see fit depending on the political environment... I just don't see how a suit or anything else is going to change their mind absent cases being prosecuted unsuccessfully..."

That's legal precedent from Supreme Court stating that ATF CANNOT interpret ambiguity of the law "as they see fit".

^ That case would only set precedent about a similar situation... Another company with similar kits, etc...
Your point is two unrelated statements. It's the first statement I have a problem with.
The ATF can always interpret the law as they see fit depending on the political environment

No, they can't, as stated US vs ThompsonCAC is one case where ATF's interpretation was strike down. So obviously they can't interpret the NFA anyway they like.


I think what you mean to say is ATF will always TRIES to interpret the law the way they want. That I don't disagree with. However whether it's adapted really depends on whether someone choose to challenge it in court. In the case of ThompsonCAC someone did and in case of the Sig brace, I'm glad Sig is going to. The fact that Sig is doing as much as they are in challenging ATF in courts just makes them that much of a better company in my eyes. I definitely will be looking into buying more Sig products to support them in the fight for our 2nd amendment rights.

I just don't see how a suit or anything else is going to change their mind absent cases being prosecuted unsuccessfully

Why not? On the Sig brace issue alone, ATF has changed their minds plenty. I don't think ATF really cares enough to waste the legal resource to fight Sig in court and risk another Supreme Court ruling against them. Especially when presidential election is 2 years away and ATF already brought enough headache and embarrassment to Obama administration with its Fast and Furious fiasco. Plus I think after the general failure of antis to gain any ground after Sandy Hook, majority of the Democrats don't really want to touch the gun issue when their last bastion of power (executive branch) hangs in the balance.
 
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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Pardon me, but the BATF was a Bureau of the Dept of Treasury. When it was, the BATF was under the command of the Secretary of Treasury.
I am old school and will always remember that the BATF was a Dept of Treasury Bureau.
This is what the Department of Treasury, the Secretary of Treasury, and the BATF had to do with each other.

Under the Bush Jr administration, the enforcement part of BATF was stripped from the Dept of Treasury and given over to the Department of Justice in 2002 or 2003 as part ofBush's Homeland Security Act. The taxing of alcohol and tobacco remains with Dept of Treasury.

Getting back on topic: I remember the US vs Thompson Center case displayed that the judicial system will and did rule against the then BATF's regulation when applying the ambiguous parts of the NFA laws in USC.
I do not remember this case being the landmark for banning the BATF from creating regulation in ambiguous cases.
What I do remember from this case decision is that when a regulation is created to enforce an ambiguity in a law, if challenged in court, the judicial decision will rule against the government.

What that means is the BATFE can and still creates regulatory decisions for all parts of the NFA parts of the USC. That is the power and duty of the BATFE. However, the onus of overturning a BATFE regulatory decision in a court of law is on the defendant.

The BATFE will continue to create regulations in attempts to apply the NFA laws in USC. Someone has to and that falls on the BATFE.
It is up to us, the gun enthusiasts to see these as opportunities to at the very least push regulations into our favor.
In this case of the Sig arm brace, we have a shot at having BATFE's opinion being prevented from becoming regulation, or if it is already being enforced as an active regulation, we have an opportunity to challenge it in the judicial system by citing the U.S. vs Thompdon Center case.
To clarify, I never implied that US vs Thompson case restricts ATF from interpreting NFA; I only cited it as a similar case in which one of ATF's interpretations was challenged and strike down by SCOTUS. I specifically stated that it was my opinion that if this whole "re-design" case goes that far it would play out like US vs Thompson. I don't think it's reasonable to interpret usage as redesign of a product; if it does go up to SCOTUS, I believe majority of the justices will see this as too broad of an interpretation for ATF to make and something that's not practically enforceable.
 
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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Let me begin with my two part opinion to address the root behind your question and hopefully ease your thoughts. *edited
I hear you, but as KIA mentioned I don't see how that initial decision by the ATF is a favor. It's simply them doing what they are supposed to do. Disapproving Sig brace would be put the impartiality of the agency in question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
I think think they could have very easily placed it under the broad umbrella of "intent to construct". Just as they say you cannot put an M4 style adjustable buffer tube on a pistol as it makes it too easy to convert.
I don't know if I agree with that analogy, since those type of stock buffer tube was originally intended to be part of a stock. Sig brace on the other hand is design from the ground up for completely different purpose and utilize none of the parts from a stock (in fact it uses AR pistol buffer tubes which are legal on pistols).
 
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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Some more legal opinion on the matter:
From an unconfirmed source (unlike therealTrippleb who's an actual lawyer) so take it with a grain of salt.
 
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