Measures and Countermeasures


According to the Federal Register, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) has set tentative dates to finalize two proposed rules affecting gun owners. The first, Definition of ‘‘Frame or Receiver’’ and Identification of Firearms, is scheduled for publication in June 2022. My reading is that the rule would establish broad regulations on homemade firearms and 80% receivers — or, more plainly, the rule would outlaw individuals making their own firearms using unserialized 80% receivers.

But there’s already pushback to the BATF’s not-yet-finalized serialization rules. Cody Wilson, the founder of the Austin, Texas–based Defense Distributed, has perfected the third generation of his home milling machine, sardonically named Ghost Gunner. Ghost Gunner 3 mills don’t need partially fabricated metal parts, aka 80% receivers, that BATF is seeking to further regulate, and perhaps outlaw (as is already the case in New Jersey). Defense Distributed’s Ghost Gunner 3 machines can use a solid block of aluminum to generate an unserialized AR-15 lower receiver. Cody Wilson has pitched GG3’s capabilities on line with the supposition that blocks of aluminum will not be subject to the new BATF regulation, but the day is young. It was thought, not too long ago, that partially machined blocks of aluminum that could not accept any firearms parts — that is, they were only 80% of the way to becoming a firearm and were not functional in any way — could not be classified as “firearms” because, literally and by definition, they weren’t firearms. Cody Wilson is banking on the fact that “0% lowers,” also known as aluminum billets, cannot be called firearms, even by the Precrime Division of BATF.

Now, on to the second new rule, Factoring Criteria for Firearms With an Attached Stabilizing Brace, which is scheduled for publication in August 2022. If enacted as proposed, this rule will restrict firearms with pistol stabilizing braces and may reclassify many of them as National Firearms Act devices. As longtime Gun Tests readers know, this magazine hasn’t covered too many of these firearms, despite AR-pattern pistols being among the most popular handguns being sold these days. I thought that one day I’d wake up and see that Firearms With an Attached Stabilizing Brace were to be “reclassified” by BATF as short-barreled rifles. Voilá. Here we are.

Should BATF have the legal ability to do this without Congressional approval or direction? No. Should BATF have the power to take a legal thing and reclassify it as an illegal thing? No. Should BATF call a thing that has a definition (semi-automatic) something it clearly is not (fully automatic). No. Would BATF do those things anyway, as long as the agency had political cover to exceed its authority? Oh my, yes. See entry under “bump stocks” for just the latest example. Once these issues get finally, legally resolved in ways that the Ban All The Firearms agency can’t misconstrue, we’ll look at them again for coverage.

Until then, here’s hoping that all your fire-control parts are lubed and your barrels are long enough to be legal.


  1. I left multiple comments on both of these issues during the commenting period.

    My understanding is that ATF has to take serious comments seriously and answer the concern.

    Many times I ask for them to conduct studies or compile studies on multiple aspects of 80% ownership etc.

    They have not had time to conduct those studies and publish them in this short period of time. Nor have they had time to address all concerns of others who commented.

    Having said that, the ATF is a null and void agency that is in direct contradiction to pursuing the right to arms via the SupremacyClause.

    While it’s important to curtail their reach and power, its more important to be working toward the elimination of the agency and prosecution of any one in their ranks that violated their oath.

  2. MY thought on this issue is that the public has an interest in being able to trace firearms used in crime. Yes, there is the possibility that nefarious government entities can abuse that data against law abiding citizens. Unfortunately firearms have been turned into tools of crime by bad citizens and being able to trace those firearms can be beneficial to apprehending criminals. About the question of whether private citizens should be able to manufacture their own firearms. Yes, just serial number them. I know these statements will not be popular just like comments against Constitutional carry while supporting licensed carry like in Texas would be. Completely unregulated, no laws regarding firearms is not in the public interest. Yep, unpopular opinions. Hopefully folks will be civil.

  3. Registration defenders miss the mark. Completely. There isn’t a crime wave with “Ghost Guns”, it is no more difficult to link a weapon to a crime without a serial number than with one, unless it was stolen, AND what’s in my home is no one’s business but MINE!
    If you think registration is OK, do some historical research in countries where its been approved: England, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. What happened after they registered firearms? What happened to their crime rates? What happened to knives and scissors next? The lunacy never ends, you just temporarily appease the lunatics with concessions.
    If 80% paperweights are banned, what is stopping your favorite forward grip stop being next? Magazine size? Red dot optic? Lasers, thermals, suppressors…ad nauseam. Even a “mil-spec” firearm can be a weapon of war, so those should be banned, right?
    Neville Chamberlain would be proud of your desire to seek peace with the BATFE at all costs…

  4. Should we purchase a AR-15 pistol with a Attached Stabilizing Brace now and hope that they are “grandfathered-in” or wait until the ruling is published in Aug 2022?

  5. Buy what you want NOW! God only knows what they’ll think to regulate or ban next. I REALLY HATE reCAPTCHA!!!


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