December 21, 2020
RE: Comment regarding ATF 2020R-10
Thank you for seeking comment from the public regarding the matter of ATF 2020R-10, we appreciate your recognition of our voice in this matter.
As an avid sportsman, and gun shop owner, I have built my life and livelihood on the foundation that our Second Amendment provides. Throughout the years, technological advances have been made that make the shooting sports accessible to everyone, regardless of race, background, or physical ability. In fact, stabilizing braces were first designed to aid those with physical disabilities in the safe and exciting use of pistols they would not otherwise be able to enjoy. To create restrictions on these accessories would be both discriminatory and unfair.
Merely do a Google search and you will find that there are countless accounts of disabled men and women, especially veterans of our armed forces, who use stabilizing braces to improve their accuracy and create an atmosphere of safety and cautiousness. To label these accessories as NFA items and impose a hefty tax serves one of only two purposes: First, would be to dissuade those who require or enjoy the sense of stability that comes with the use of stabilizing braces from purchasing these accessories, or from using firearms at all. Second, and perhaps more concerning, is to create an atmosphere of misinformation and fear that will fuel the flames of an already uniformed general public and lead to further unnecessary and ineffective regulations.
We have seen, time and again, that more regulation does not necessarily lead to the security and safety of the citizenry. As we have bartered our freedom for the bondage of a “protected” public, we have seen higher rates of criminal behavior and personal violation; leaving us to feel more vulnerable than if we had never sacrificed those freedoms in the first place.
Will there be people who misuse stabilizing braces? Most likely, there will; indeed, many people misuse knives for the purpose of driving a screw rather than cutting steak, or utilize blankets as batting rather than as a means of warmth, they use duct tape to wrap presents and glue as a sealant rather than a binding agent. The fault lies not with the product or the producer, but with the patron who purchases the item and then uses it whatever way they see fit to meet their own ends.
Reclassifying stabilizing braces and the firearms they are attached to shows a lack of faith on the part of the federal government in its law abiding community. As American citizens we are guaranteed an a priori trust that we, as productive and law-abiding members of society, will not seek to corrupt the social structures that maintain order and safety. The vast majority of us utilize firearms as a means of protection and enjoyment. To continue to infringe upon this right is to favor those who pervert the laws of this country and sacrifice the needs of the many due to the actions of the few. It is ill-advised to show the American public that their government does not trust them to properly use firearms and their accessories, for as Patrick Henry once questioned “Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?” Is this the message you want to send?
Please consider the above statements as earnestly and sincerely as is required by the gravity of the situation. The chipping away at the rock of our freedom should be taken neither lightly nor hastily, but rather with deep deliberation, profound thoughtfulness, and with the utmost consideration of the good of the commons.
Elizabeth P. Cates (in collaboration with Hiram Cates)
Oh, Shoot Gun Shop/Cates Firearms & MFG, LLC