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Old December 3, 2022, 08:31 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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What's the legal current status of AR-15 "Other" firearms?

Not bare receivers that are sold as "other" because they have never (yet) been finished into either a rifle or a handgun. I'm trying to educate myself better of those things that look a lot like short-barreled rifles, but they have a wrist brace (wink, wink -- nudge, nudge) rather than a shoulder stock.

Someoe asked me about them the other day and I have a fuzzy recollection that the BATFE changed their ruling on them a few months ago, but I can't remember. Can someone please refresh my memory?
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Old December 3, 2022, 10:09 PM   #2
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Currently we are all waiting with baited breath for the rule to be announced . The last word was end of this month.

There is some hope that BATFE will drop the whole matter in light of some recent Supreme court decisions. Bruin & EPA specifically. But no one knows for sure anything now.
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Old December 3, 2022, 11:05 PM   #3
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Right at the present moment, as I write this, I understand those that have "braces" to legally be handguns. The current rule is that if its not designed to be a stock, its a brace, no matter how people use them.

HOWEVER, a "review" is currently underway, and given how much love the current administration has for firearms, I expect them to rule all those "handguns with braces" to now be "short barreled rifles" (with stocks) and therefore ILLEGAL unless registered with the ATF, and the taxes paid....

We'll know soon, I think...
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Old December 6, 2022, 02:39 PM   #4
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its a brace, no matter how people use them.
Do you not brace a stock to your shoulder . I would think "brace" can be the definition of a stock as well . Where does the term braces come from as they relate to dental work ? Brace has many meanings y/n

I've said this before . I don't believe it matters what you call something , it matters how you use it or how it can be used . When I fire my shotgun that has a full stock from the hip , what is the stock now called or is defined as .

How about the smartallics that create a muzzle device that reduces flash but call it a compensator ? Is it not a flash hider just because the designer names it something else ?

At some point what it does and how it's used must have a place in the definition conversation y/n
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Old December 6, 2022, 05:14 PM   #5
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At some point what it does and how it's used must have a place in the definition conversation y/n
In real world conversations, I'd say "yes" but in the LAW, its more "not so much", or an outright "no".

Primarily because the law uses its own definitions, which may or may NOT be the same as the definitions used by the rest of the world, including the people who make the items.

Look at every bill that becomes law, in it there is a section of definitions. THOSE are the only definitions the law considers, whether they make sense, or not.

How people use or "misuse" something only matters if that use falls under the definition in the law. Shoot your shotgun from the hip, the stock is still a stock, and does what its intended to do, when you use it in the intended manner. Using it in an unintended manner doesn't change that.

Same with "braces". The maker says they are not designed to be used against your shoulder, and the law, currently" agree with that, so they are not "a stock" and do not fall under laws covering stocks. The fact that people USE them as a stock doesn't matter to the law, until/unless the law is changed to cover that. Right now, it doesn't. Next month, it might....
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Old December 6, 2022, 08:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Metal god
I've said this before . I don't believe it matters what you call something , it matters how you use it or how it can be used . When I fire my shotgun that has a full stock from the hip , what is the stock now called or is defined as .
Unfortunately, what matters is not what you think, but what the BATFE and the Congress think. A "rifle" has been defined, in law, as a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder (18 U.S.C. § 921, and 26 U.S.C. § 5845), and in regulation as a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder (26 U.S.C. Chapter 53, and 27 C.F.R. § 479.11). You may choose to fire a rifle or shotgun from the hip, but except for those modern variants with pistol grip, long guns with conventional stocks were certainly (and IMHO indisputably) "designed and intended) to be fired from the shoulder."

So when people start building "pistols" with so-called wrist braces but never shoot the things one-handed with the "brace" strapped to their wrist -- is it a pistol? Especially if they assembled it themselves, although you can argue that the brace itself may (or may not!) have been designed to assist in one-handed firing of the firearm, the fact is the owner designed the firearm, made the firearm, and intended the firearm to be fired from the shoulder.

That makes it a rifle. If it doesn't have a 16-inch barrel and meet whatever the minimum overall length is for a rifle, then it's a short-barreled rifle, it falls under the NFA, and the owner has to pay $200 and get a tax stamp to keep it.

That's where this is headed, and I blame all the yahoos who uploaded all the videos showing themselves shooting their AR "pistols" using the "wrist brace" as a should stock. I have said before that it's not wise to poke a bear. Bears get grumpy when they are disturbed.
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Old December 6, 2022, 09:02 PM   #7
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There could easily be a true wrist brace that allows for one handed shooting of the AR pistol.
However, it would not look very cool. I imagine something that looks like forearm crutches.

As an avid AR pistol owner I can say without bias that the current braces are designed to have the silhouette and appearance of a stock.

You don’t need a brace or to shoulder an AR pistol to shoot it accurately.

I also contend that many revolvers cannot be fired one handed easily.
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Old December 8, 2022, 07:28 PM   #8
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Agreed ,RickRick.

A point worthy of consideration: "The cockroach who argues with a chicken is always wrong"

SCOTUS May decide the Constitution is the Chicken and the BATF is the cockroach..
But until that happens I choose to keep my AR in compliance.

I would not bet everything on the 2017 BATF guidelines. They did specifically state the buffer tube is inherent to the AR design. Thats no problem. They clearly state there is no issue with putting your face on the buffer tube. You can even put a cheek pad on the buffer tube.
They DO NOT want you equipping the buffer tube to serve as a buttstock. The BATF says "NO!!" to even putting a rubber crutch tip on the buffer tube.
OK. I'll comply. If the gun were leaned against a wall, a crutch tip would make the gun less "scooty" ,less likely to fall. But I will comply.

I;m 6' 3" tall. Suit jacket size 54 Long. My AR pistol has a smooth,pistol length buffer tube. I have conventional military sights. (rail type. Not the handle) No practical shooting position allows me to put the butt end of the pistol buffer tube against my shoulder. My buffer tube has nothing attached. No brace. No design feature to facilitate shoulder firing.

I do cheek weld my face on the buffer tube, under my eye,with my eye looking through the sights. There is considerable space between the butt end of the tube and any part of my body.

The entire question of a "shoulder stock" is moot, in my case.
Length of pull? By what definition can there be a LOP to measure with no butt stock??

The goalposts keep moving. Its the gov't "Process BS" where they figure if the cost you enough,make it hard enough,you will give up.

In 2017,the MagPul AFG was OK. Now,its not. Meanwhile,I bought a minimal little handstop. Its not a forgrip,by any means. I'd have to pinch it between my thumb and forefinger., This is a safety feature. Short barrel. Short forend , My sleeve length is 35 in. I want the landmark to stop against. I don't want to shoot my fingers off in a panic situation.. BATF says "Its points" OK,I can comply. I think the BATF is being stupid . (said the cockroach) I think maybe I can put a fixed military type sling loop in the same place. Its a sling loop,clear as day. Not a hand stop. I can even attach my sling.

The "one hand" thing. Yeah,its hard to hold my AR pistol out Bullseye style one handed. I can do it,but I couldn't shoot it too well.

But wait. I have a scoped,bull barreled MOA Maximum handgun in 260 Remington. 14 inch barrel. I can't keep the crosshairs on target one handed with that. (Bullseye style) . I'd think bull barred 14 in + TC Encores, XP -100's ,and the hunting/silhouette bolt handguns by Savage and Weatherby ,too. How many folks can one hand their scoped,long barreled S+W 500 Magnums?

SHOULD A FIREARM LAW/REG be based on HOW STRONG THE INDIVIVIDUAL SHOOTER'S HAND AND FOREARM ARE? So a 300 lb gronk can have an AR pistol but a 110 pound cake baker can't? Equal protection?

FWIW ,I DO shoot my MOA handgun one handed, I don't set out clay birds for targets,but some folks do. At 200 yds I can clean them. One handed.
I sit my butt down,lean back on my elbow,and rest the gun on my knee or leg, . Very good hunting position.(Beware gas blast with revolvers)

No, I don't want to register an SBR. Its not the $200. I won't "Ask Permission" to cross a state line. Or any other part of that game.

I don't ever want to shoot anyone, I can think of some scenarios with multiple threats at close range where the short,light,maneuverable firepower of an AR pistol would be quite useful. Think in terms of the WW2 use of the M-1 carbine, or the stagecoach shotgun of old,

Last edited by HiBC; December 8, 2022 at 07:35 PM.
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Old December 8, 2022, 08:51 PM   #9
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HiBC, do you have any more on this…

“In 2017,the MagPul AFG was OK. Now,its not.”

I thought AFG’s were good to go on pistols.



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Old December 8, 2022, 10:19 PM   #10
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I also contend that many revolvers cannot be fired one handed easily.
"Easily" is a very vague definition. I've got revolvers to 7.5" barrels and have zero issues firing them one handed. With the Ruger Blackhawk, its my preferred fun style, and I've been able to ring the 200yd rifle gong that way, repeatedly...
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Old December 9, 2022, 01:13 AM   #11
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BATF form 4999

Quote:
HiBC, do you have any more on this…
Update: Search "BATF form 4999" Look around you should find a PDF of the worksheet.

Last edited by HiBC; December 11, 2022 at 12:55 AM. Reason: New Info Update
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Old December 9, 2022, 10:26 AM   #12
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HiBC The BATF says "NO!!" to even putting a rubber crutch tip on the buffer tube.
No they don't. ATF addressed this over a decade ago:









Quote:
The "one hand" thing. Yeah,its hard to hold my AR pistol out Bullseye style one handed. I can do it,but I couldn't shoot it too well.
There is no requirement that a handgun be held only in one hand.





Quote:
SHOULD A FIREARM LAW/REG be based on HOW STRONG THE INDIVIVIDUAL SHOOTER'S HAND AND FOREARM ARE?
Yet none are.



Quote:
So a 300 lb gronk can have an AR pistol but a 110 pound cake baker can't? Equal protection?
I don't think you know what "Equal protection" really means. The constitutional right to equal protection bars the government from passing laws or taking official actions that treat similarly-situated people or groups of people differently.

Meaning, "equal protection" means both the 300lb gronk and the 110 baker can both own an AR pistol.....but has nothing to do with how easily they may use, hold or carry the gun.




Quote:
No, I don't want to register an SBR. Its not the $200. I won't "Ask Permission" to cross a state line. Or any other part of that game.
Of all the parts of the NFA, the requirement to get permission is the one that I thought a court would find fault with first.
I don't have to file that form. I've never felt the need to travel OOS with an SBR either.
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Old December 9, 2022, 10:39 AM   #13
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Metal god

Do you not brace a stock to your shoulder . I would think "brace" can be the definition of a stock as well . Where does the term braces come from as they relate to dental work ? Brace has many meanings y/n
Thats irrelevant.
How you use a feature of a firearm is not at issue, the issue is whether an "arm brace" is actually designed to brace or is actually a shoulder stock masquerading as an "arm brace".

I think ATF shot themselves in the foot when they first ruled the Shockwave brace as "not a shoulder stock"......mostly because EVERYONE but ATF knew it was an ersatz shoulder stock.


Quote:
I've said this before . I don't believe it matters what you call something , it matters how you use it or how it can be used . When I fire my shotgun that has a full stock from the hip , what is the stock now called or is defined as .
If you said it before, you were wrong then as now.
Federal law and ATF regs define what is a rifle, pistol, shotgun, etc. by their design features. Federal law and ATF regs do not define firearms based on how they are used.


Quote:
How about the smartallics that create a muzzle device that reduces flash but call it a compensator ? Is it not a flash hider just because the designer names it something else ?
Irrelevant to the discussion because federal law does not regulate flash hider or compensator. When they DID, there was a definition and calling it something different did not change the law.


Quote:
At some point what it does and how it's used must have a place in the definition conversation y/n
Maybe yes, maybe no.
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Old December 9, 2022, 01:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dogtown_tom
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HiBC The BATF says "NO!!" to even putting a rubber crutch tip on the buffer tube.
No they don't. ATF addressed this over a decade ago:
That's an interesting letter for multiple reasons, but you posted it to support the premise that the BATFE does not have a problem with rubber crutch tips on AR-15 pistol brace tubes. Where in that letter does it say anything about rubber crutch tips on brace tubes?
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Old December 9, 2022, 03:07 PM   #15
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I'd say the letter posted here from the ATF to Engineer2001 was written by an engineer. It is concise, detailed, explains the definitions and laws used to determine which class a firearm is in, and DOES NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION!


Also the posted copy does not include any signature or identification of who is responding, only that it is on ATF letterhead stationary. IF there is an additional signature sheet that simply didn't get posted, that's fine. But if all you have is a letter on dept stationary and NO signature of any agent, officer, or technician who can be connected with the agency, you don't have very much, and possibly nothing more that something, which someone wrote, on agency letterhead paper.

The ATF has a long history of changing its mind about how it classifies certain items, particularly "stocked pistols". Currently AR pistols with "braces" are not classified as stocked pistols. IF the ATF changes its mind on that and rules that they are stocked pistols, then they become NFA items.

IF they do that, I would put the majority of the blame on those various "children" posting on the interweb doing the 21st century equivalent of "neener neener" to the ATF, and poking the bear,,, but, that's just me.
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Old December 9, 2022, 04:05 PM   #16
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I concede that I/We are doing a lot of speculating about a law/reg/ruling that has not been released yet.

Maybe not the best idea. What is out in public are BATF "leaks" (for lack of a better term) .

You do as you see fit. I'm trying to stay within the letter of the law.
Dogtown Tom : Thank you for posting the 2009 letter. My concerns are "The Goal Posts are Moving" since 2009.
I carefully built my AR pistol based on the BATF open letter of 2017. I did not try to "workaround" or "get away with" anything. I don't like looking over my shoulder. IMO,if its non compliant,(for me) its not worth the risk.

Paragraph 3 of your letter addresses the "one hand" topic. Aguila Blanco has posted the "one hand" criteria multiple times.
The BATF also narrows it to "Designed for" Any forearm grip feature implies "designed for" two hands. The recent "points chart" covers that.
I've also read BATF explaination written by the BATF that any redesign,modification,etc that increases the surface area of the rear of the buffer tube is construed design or redesign for shouldering the weapon. The BATF gives no acceptable amount of increase in area. A crutch tip larger in diameter than the buffer tube increases the surface area. While it is subject to interpretation ...by the letter of the law its a problem.

If your BATF agent is supportive of you having the AR pistol ,it may be overlooked. If your BATF agent is hostile toward AR pistols, the crutch tip is a problem.

I don't know.The final rules that will soon be released. We'll find out. For myself, I would not rely on a 2009 letter for my "goalpost location" Odds are good the goalposts will move before the month is out.

In 2009, the AR Pistol was not much of an issue. The BATF has taken on a whole new project to regulate them.

A point I left out. The "designed for" features can and will be regulated. Its a separate issue how the gun is actually used. "Designed for one hand" does not mean you cannot use two hands. It does mean you cannot have another grip designed for the second hand. Its not a crime to rest a lawful bare buffer tube on your shoulder,so long as the buffer tube was not designed,modified,etc to be rested or supported by the shoulder .
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Old December 9, 2022, 09:54 PM   #17
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I don't know.The final rules that will soon be released. We'll find out.
based on past history, I wouldn't say the "final rules" will soon be released. I'd say the "new rules" will be released and will be the legal standard until the ATF changes them, again....

And, that "moving goalpost" thing is one of our biggest problems.
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Old December 10, 2022, 03:38 PM   #18
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Aguila Blanca
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtown_tom
Quote:
Quote:
HiBC The BATF says "NO!!" to even putting a rubber crutch tip on the buffer tube.
No they don't. ATF addressed this over a decade ago:
That's an interesting letter for multiple reasons, but you posted it to support the premise that the BATFE does not have a problem with rubber crutch tips on AR-15 pistol brace tubes.
Ummmmm.........no, I didn't. I specifically quoted what statement I was responding to. That statement was about crutch tips on AR buffer tubes.

Quote:
Where in that letter does it say anything about rubber crutch tips on brace tubes?
It doesn't and I don't pretend it does. That letter also does not pertain to shoestrings, shoulder things that go up or Glocks.
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Old December 10, 2022, 03:45 PM   #19
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44 AMP I'd say the letter posted here from the ATF to Engineer2001 was written by an engineer. It is concise, detailed, explains the definitions and laws used to determine which class a firearm is in, and DOES NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION!


Also the posted copy does not include any signature or identification of who is responding, only that it is on ATF letterhead stationary. IF there is an additional signature sheet that simply didn't get posted, that's fine. But if all you have is a letter on dept stationary and NO signature of any agent, officer, or technician who can be connected with the agency, you don't have very much, and possibly nothing more that something, which someone wrote, on agency letterhead paper.
My apologies but my cut and paste skills left off the second page.
The second page pretty much answers your objections.

In the AR world its a pretty well known determination letter. I'm surprised it hasn't been posted here before.
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Old December 10, 2022, 05:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by dogtown tom
Ummmmm.........no, I didn't. I specifically quoted what statement I was responding to. That statement was about crutch tips on AR buffer tubes.

Quote:
Where in that letter does it say anything about rubber crutch tips on brace tubes?
It doesn't and I don't pretend it does. That letter also does not pertain to shoestrings, shoulder things that go up or Glocks.
You caught me. I was thinking "buffer tube" but I did write "brace tube."

So allow me to restate the question: Where does that letter say anything about rubber crutch tips on AR-15 pistol buffer tubes?
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Old December 10, 2022, 09:19 PM   #21
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Where does that letter say anything about rubber crutch tips on AR-15 pistol buffer tubes?
Quote:
My apologies but my cut and paste skills left off the second page.
See the second page that he initially left off by mistake.
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Old December 10, 2022, 10:58 PM   #22
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It said the crutch tip was OK.
Very Good.... And that is sensible. But still, its a letter from 2009.

We'll see what happens, but I suspect an AR Pistol carefully built to comply with the BATF Open Letter of 2017 may not be a "Pistol" by Jan 1 2023.

If you do a search for "BATF form 4999 Worksheet" you should be able to find a PDF file from the ATF of the form to evaluate your gun.


I learned some things from it. I've had some things wrong.

If you go to the worksheet, look at section 2 ; Then see "Rear Surface Area"

I'll concede the Buffer tube is not an accessory. But they really don't like "Increasing the surface area"

Last edited by HiBC; December 11, 2022 at 01:08 AM.
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Old December 11, 2022, 02:26 AM   #23
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I got interested in this area some years back when I got a Broomhandle Mauser. At one point having the stock made it an NFA item. Later as a curio & Relic you could have a stock and it wasn't an NFA item.

Then later they changed it again, and only original period stocks qualified as C&R non NFA items. Which is where I think it still is, today.

Barking stupid really. IF I had a 1920s made pistol and a 1920s made stock it was ok, but the same pistol with a physically identical stock made say in the 50s or 60s was an NFA item.

I know they need limits to use in laws but really, change the size of something by 1/4" and it goes from being completely legal to a Federal Felony? Just where is the logic in that??

I suppose I'm just biased...
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Old December 11, 2022, 10:34 AM   #24
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Although not the same CA does something just as stupid , maybe more so . We have an approved firearms list aloud to be sold in CA . The approval is based on the model number rather then the firearms function or design . This means if the manufacturer makes an approved firearm in a new color . The new colored firearm will not be approved for sale even though it’s the exact same firearm functionally just a different color and because so , it will have a new model number . So dumb !
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Old December 12, 2022, 03:49 PM   #25
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Also, if I remember correctly, firearms makers have to PAY CA to get their gun(s) tested in order to go on the allowed list. Some makers now refuse to do that. Particularly when the change that CA says requires new testing and certification is only a cosmetic change.

Yes, its stupid, IMHO.

But, it makes money for CA and keeps some guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens, so win, win, for the people who put that law in place.

Which I think was their entire objective in the first place.
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