It looks like gun owners will be on their own when it comes to the legality of firearm accessories.
The Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch (FTISB) is the division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that provides classifications on how firearm accessories may change the legal status of a firearm once attached. Until now.
The Prince Law Offices Blog reports that it received “an email that ATF’s Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch would no longer offer classifications on accessories, effective immediately.”
Up until now, manufacturers and members of the general public could submit an accessory and have the FTISB provide a classification on the part, stating whether the item would alter the legal status of a firearm it was attached to, subjecting the resultant firearm to the Gun Control Act or National Firearms Act.
Typically, the ATF would return a letter that the manufacturer would make available to buyers of the product, stating its legality. Examples of this include the braces that are popular on pistols now, which currently do not legally change the handgun into a short-barreled rifle. The SB-Tactical website hosts several letters indicating the ATF’s determination.
The notice, posted on the ATF website states, “Effective immediately, any requests for a determination on how an accessory affects the classification of a firearm under the GCA or NFA must include a firearm with the accessory already installed. Except in cases of conditional import determinations, FTISB will not issue a determination on an accessory unless it is attached to the submitted firearm.” The notice also states that those that have recently submitted products will be receiving them back without classification.
Time will tell what the implications of this policy change are, but the looming national bump stock ban does come to mind.