Folks, we’re running out of time to make our decisions on what to do with our braced firearms.  And additional information has rolled across our desk.  Here’s the latest.

The registration portal for a “complimentary” tax stamp to formally become part of the Class III fraternity closes at 11:59pm on May 31st.  Registrations submitted in full – signed, sealed and sent electronically – will be allowed until that time.  After that, you have options left but none (legally) allow you to retain the gun in its “braced” configuration as you currently have it.

First, Illinois-centric information for those wishing to register for their free tax stamp from the party people at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, and Really Big Fires…

You’ll need your C&R license as an Illinois resident to complete your application.

Well, technically you can have a membership with a bonafide national re-enactors organization and need the short-barreled rifle you own in order to made a historically accurate reenactment…  blah blah blah.  I suspect that may delay acceptance of you application.

If you didn’t apply for and receive your C&R, you’re likely out of luck.

Start at the BATF eForm 1 website.

Register to create an account.  Save your login credentials and your PIN number somewhere.

Then you can login and start the process.  One roadblock I (and others) have struggled with is where to put your C&R FFL.  On the third page, under “Applicant,” uncheck “No FFL.”  Then you’ll get a new checkbox that says “My FFL is not listed.”  Check that.

Then, almost like magic, you’ll get a field to enter your FFL information.  Enter the license number and expiration then you should have the option to “Retrieve License.”  Click that before proceeding or you’ll have to revisit this page and start from scratch.

For me, that was the biggest problem to negotiate.  Although I screwed up a couple of things and probably “completed” or mostly “completed” my first “item” about 6 times before I got it all right.

Follow the instructions.

At the end, you’ll skip the “pay” step and select the middle button for an anti-spam.  Then you’ll select the “Confirm and Sign” or something like that and it’ll ask for your PIN number as your “signature.”  From there, they’ll email you your application for you to send the appropriate forms to your CLEO – Chief Law Enforcement Officer – and the rest to the BATF mother ship for processing along with your fingerprint cards.

Hint:  It’s probably best not to drop off the forms at your local cop shop.  The front office staff may not know how to handle those efficiently.  Mail it instead.

For those Illinois residents without C&R licenses.

Here are your options.  Only number six is outside the law.  If you get caught.

  1.  Destroy the gun.  Seems sorta silly but you get to do it yourself.  Save a recording to prove that you didn’t lose it in a boating accident.
  2. Surrender the gun to the police.  Doesn’t seem real smart either.
  3. Take the brace off.  Don’t keep it close by because if you’ve got the pistol and the support brace, that’s constructive possession and that’s in play here, despite remarks from BATF’s current (idiot) head saying that constructive possession doesn’t apply here.  Even then, this is iffy.  Because if they can prove you turned a “short barreled rifle” into a handgun, that’s a no-no.  Even though it wasn’t originally a rifle.  This isn’t at all confusing, now is it?
  4. Replace the sub-16″ barrel with a 16+” barrel.  That makes it a rifle, and not the short-barreled variety that is worth about 10 years of your life if it’s unregistered.
  5. Weld (to ATF specs) a flash suppressor of sufficient length to turn your sub 16″ barrel into a 16″ barrel plus permanently-affixed flash suppressor unit.
  6. Take your chances as an outlaw until the courts rule this bureaucratic edict unconstitutional.

For Illinois residents living in Cook County.

Your eForm applications will be disapproved as Cook County has a gun ban and these guns can’t be legally held there.

You’ll have to have a “friend” in another state register them there.  Your kids will have to live there.  Sorry.

For more on this, Four Boxes Diner has a great YouTube piece with a pair of attorneys hashing this out.  Unfortunately I’ve watched a few similar videos but this one is the best even though Mr. Smith’s voice and affectations sometimes annoy me.

6 thoughts on “SUPPORT BRACE UPDATE: ‘Constructive possession’ is in play, you’re running out of time to stay legal…”
  1. What about pistols such as the Ruger PCC Charger or AK style pistols? These are sold as pistols but you can buy a brace for them separately. Is there a gray area for the feds to come after people who own these?

    1. I have pne of the AKs. I registered it, although hive how poorly it shoots ot wasn’t any asy decision.

  2. I don’t own anything with a pistol brace ( not just saying that ) so this has no effect on me but I think it’s total horse s**t because some “agency” is making rules that are an infringement on the 2nd. It pisses me off that non elected officials dream up garbage and we peasants must obey.

  3. I appreciate the effort here, but what does ‘staying legal’ really mean? Everything I own was obtained legally, but now they simply change the rules, and make me an instant felon. And when we all jump their little hoops, why wouldn’t they simply change the rules again, while the courts dither and waste time?

    And no, I don’t own any braces either. That was a personal choice when I started buying these style pistols, as I always assumed that ATF would shiv us in the back given their history of doing things like this under Communist presidents like Obozo and now Potato. I personally doubt the C&R route will be worth the paper its written on, since they will simply change the rules again and use the tax stamp data collected to go after those owners first. Just as I expect ISP to do starting 01 Jan 2024.

    1. Exactly what I was thinking. A lot of people bought or built these with the written ATF letter confirming it was legal, and now they become felons because some government lackey with a cause says so. No law, no hearing, simply a declaration. Eff them all.

  4. I did three. Like others, I struggled at first. By the time I did the last one I was pretty good it only took about 10 minutes.

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