Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) declaration could turn millions of gun owners into instant felons.
On Tuesday, a letter released to the public wrote the ATF informed a gun company in New Hampshire that its AR-15 pistol model with a specialized brace is a short-barreled rifle found to be illegal.
Owners of the said model could be subjected up to 10 years in prison or a hundred dollar fine.
Gun industry experts estimated there were about 3 million AR-15 pistols with similar specialized braces.
The declaration was in contrast to the several similar determinations of the agency back in 2012. ATF then told Sig Sauer that the braces could be legally combined with guns having shorter barrels compared to the 16-inch federal limit for rifles.
Gun owners are appalled by the new letter, which questions the basic legality of the devices.
ATF Public Affairs Officer Carolyn Gwathmey clarified the letter only applies to the New Hampshire’ pistol. However, no explanation was offered regarding the difference among the said model from other guns equipped with the braces.
“Regarding other firearms or manufacturers, ATF cannot comment until we see the platform and what accessories may be attached to said platform,” Gwathmey told the Washington Free Beacon.
Meanwhile, Brian Morgenstern, White House Deputy Press Secretary, said the administration is currently reviewing the letter as gun-rights groups pressure the government to rein in the ATF.