President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition team held a conference call with prominent directors with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms team last week to identify their top priorities going forward. Acting Director Regina Lombardo, Deputy Director Marvin Richardson, and Acting Assistant Director of Enforcement Programs and Services Curtis Gilbert were among those on the call which took place November 10, 2020.

Under Trump’s Administration, the ATF’s leadership, structure, and operations haven’t changed much in the past four years. Regina Lombardo was appointed by Attorney General William Barr in 2019, who said she is “well qualified to continue ATF’s successes of recent years, including helping the Department investigate and prosecute more firearms offenders than ever before.” Lombardo’s predecessor, then-Acting Director Thomas Brandon, retired that year after complaining about the president’s 2020 ATF budget, which forced the agency to cut 377 positions.

John Crump Reports:

AmmoLand's anonymous source said Lombardo told those on the call that her priorities would be pistol braces and 80% lower receivers.

There are currently multiple millions of pistol braces owned by law-abiding American gun-owners.

Pistol Braces

The Department of Justice told the ATF’s industry side not to move on pistol braces until the agency could be worked out regulations. SB Tactical and other companies have been working with the federal government to clarify the rules surrounding braces. Currently, the rules are very subjective, which means it depends on the reviewer that gets assigned the review to determine if a brace is legal. There is no set standard.

Instead, the rogue ATF’s law enforcement side sent letters to multiple companies stating that their pistol brace firearms were short-barreled rifles (SBRs). Q LLC, which makes the Honey Badger AR pistol, went public with the cease and desist letter that the ATF sent to the company. Because of pressure from the Trump administration and the general public, the agency walked back their demands and gave Q a 60-day reprieve.

80% Receivers

Misinformed Gun Control groups have longed railed against 80% lower receivers. These receivers let gun owners mill out their own unserialized firearms but Americans have every right to build their own guns from scratch and have done so for 100's of years. Many Democrats claim that these guns are “ghost guns” only possessed by criminals. The use of firearms made from 80% lower receivers by criminals is exceedingly rare. Nine out of ten firearms used in a crime are stolen.

The ATF has long wanted to ban the sale of 80% lower receivers and kits but lacked the political power to do so. Under Obama, the Department of State banned Defense Distributed from supplying files to print firearms using 3D printers, claiming it was a violation of ITAR. The DOJ under Trump reversed the decision and allowed Defense Distributed to make the files available for download. These gestures signaled to the ATF that they did not have the political capital to move on the 80% lower kits.