first published on October 7, 2020 by Josh Brooks[mashshare]
Just recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Bosco, founder of SB Tactical, and talk to him about the ATF’s recent decision to send a cease and desist letter to Q LLC in regards to the Honey Badger pistol platform. For those out of the loop, SB Tactical is the creator of the original stabilizing brace system. For years now, SB Tactical has been trying to get the ATF to come to the table with a set of publicly available standards that will allow the firearms industry to produce orthotic devices and braces.
Throughout our discussion with Bosco, it has become abundantly clear the ATF has no intentions of doing so. Instead, the ATF opts toward a system that says “We’ll know it when we see it.” This Kiss the ring, style of law enforcement currently requires manufacturers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars investing in research and development of new products. Once complete, the companies then have to send the product to the ATF on a completed platform. The ATF then may or may not eventually get back to the manufacturer telling them if their product meets the currently unstated standards of being a brace.
Before we dive too much more in-depth into this topic however, we need to discuss the current events that are unfolding in the industry.
On August 3, 2020, the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives sent a cease and desist letter to Q LLC. In this letter, the ATF stated that Q LLC was responsible for producing an NFA regulated SBR that they were marketing as a pistol. Their reasoning behind this was due to the length of the Honey Badger’s barrel being less than 16″. You can read the full text of that cease and desist letter at this link.
On September 2, 2020, Q LLC replied to the ATF with this letter. In it, they state they disagree with the ATF’s judgement based on the fact that the ATF has refused to offer any publicly available standards that would allow them to get the firearm to be “compliant” with non-publicly stated standards, stating in their letter that ““The agency’s approach leaves [Q]
(as well as other regulated parties, and [potentially] reviewing courts) guessing.”
Here’s another great recap of the situation from The Gun Collective for those of you who prefer to view things in video format.
On August 3rd, 2020, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) issued Q® a formal Cease & Desist letter, notifying us that ATF has taken the position that the Q Honey Badger Pistol is a short-barreled rifle (“SBR”) regulated under the National Firearms Act (“NFA”). In response, Q has ceased all production of the Honey Badger Pistol, and submitted a comprehensive letter to ATF and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) stating why we disagree with this classification. Additionally, we have provided recommendations on how to address the firearms already in circulation. Q is seeking solutions that best protect you, the individual, and Q’s distribution network from falling out of compliance with ATF regulations, and federal law. At this time, Q has not received any definitive guidance from the ATF.
In the meantime, Q encourages possessors of the Honey Badger Pistol to take these proactive measures until a resolution is reached between Q and ATF.
1. Complete one of the following:
1. Remove the barreled upper receiver from the lower receiver and dedicate it as a replacement for another AR-style pistol or registered short-barreled rifle; or
2. If you do not possess another AR-style pistol or registered short-barreled rifle, remove the barreled upper receiver from the lower receiver and temporarily transfer it out of your possession by, for example, transferring it to the dominion and control of another individual; and
2.Once the previous step is completed, you may file an ATF Form 1 to register the lower receiver as a short-barreled rifle. Upon Form 1 approval, the firearm may be reassembled.
Failure to complete option a or option b could result in prosecution and is subject to a $10,000.00 fine and up to 10 years imprisonment.
If you are concerned with this situation – as Q is – we urge you to contact the Department of Justice (ATF’s parent agency) by using the below OneClickPolitics link.
Additionally, we encourage you to reach out to the White House and ask President Trump to halt and rollback ATF’s efforts to issue arbitrary and capricious decisions affecting millions of legal gun owners.
Today we had the opportunity to sit down with the founder of SB Tactical, Alex Bosco. Bosco has been at the forefront of this fight since his company’s inception back in 2012. One of the first real attacks against his business was in 2015, when the ATF arbitrarily decided that shouldering a brace meant that the end-user was modifying the pistol into a short barreled rifle. After several years of debate over the course of multiple meetings, Bosco was able to get this arbitrary ruling over-turned, and walk the ATF back to some semblance of sanity.
This however, is not a new problem. The ATF, a government organization that has more than earned its fair share of black eyes throughout the years, continues to stand on the throat of law abiding citizens with this issue by not releasing clear cut standards for what is and what isn’t a brace. According to Bosco, by not releasing what the standards are, they are depriving his company, and companies like his the ability to comply with the law and remain law abiding citizens. On top of this, they are also depriving the average American the ability to comply with the law, since no clear cut standards currently exist.
This is the current publicly released standard for the entire brace situation. Keep in mind, the Honey Badger platform is not new. When originally released to the public, it was the understanding of both Q LLC, and their customers, that the Honey Badger Pistol was compliant with all known firearm laws that currently exist. This tells us the “We’ll know it when we see it,” standard is a fluid concept amongst individual ATF agents at best, and something that can be weaponized against the industry on a moment’s notice.
At the conclusion of our conversation with with Bosco, we asked him for a statement that we could officially publish. We asked him how he felt about the situation, and what he thinks is actually happening. This was his response.
“I harbor a lot of frustration towards the ATF. We’ve worked very closely with them for years in an attempt to come up with standards that would allow the industry to understand what is and is not a brace. The only conclusion that I can come up with at this point in time is that the ATF does not want there to be a standard. Instead, they want the flexibility to change that standard on a whim to fit their own political agenda. Right now, I believe the agenda of the ATF comes from a motivated political faction of attorneys inside of the organization who are attempting to frustrate the ability of the current POTUS to be re-elected. With this, they’re able to make POTUS look bad, and attempt to alienate his base of 2A supporters, and I believe it is their hope that they can keep those people from voting enthusiastically with this decision. The only way to address this issue is for the White House or the Department of Justice to intervene.”
The ATF is responsible for the massacres at both Waco and Ruby Ridge. Most recently, they’re responsible for the Fast and the Furious fiasco which saw 2,000 firearms being illegally sold to cartel members in one of the largest scandals during the Obama Administration. For the full story from an informant for the ATF, read Operation Wide Receiver: An Informant’s Struggle to Expose the Corruption and Deceit That Led to Operation Fast and Furious. These black eyes are not something we are willing to unsee or forget, and they will always tarnish the reputation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Today, what we’re seeing is a government agency that is standing on the necks of law abiding citizens, and they’re actually actively denying them the ability to comply with the law. We too believe that this comes from a position of partisanship inside of the organization. If you would like to make your voice heard on this topic, we urge you to head to the NRA’s webpage by clicking this link. Once there, fill out the form and urge the Department of Justice to Rein in ATF’s Arbitrary Determination on the “Honey Badger” Pistol.