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NRA Challenges ATF Brace Rule

Thursday, February 9, 2023

NRA Challenges ATF Brace Rule

Fairfax, Va. - The National Rifle Association announced today the filing of an NRA-backed and supported lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) unlawful rule on stabilizing braces.

“ATF’s new definition for stabilizing braces is arbitrary. The bureau is declaring that they will effectively decide on a case-by-case basis whether a firearm is subject to the NFA. Every American gun owner is in danger of potentially facing felony charges at the whim of these bureaucrats and without any new statute in place. The NRA believes this rule will fail for the same reasons the bump stock rule failed — ATF can only apply federal statutes; it can’t rewrite them,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action.

Stabilizing braces were designed to enable gun owners to operate certain firearms with one hand with more stability. The ATF’s new rule says, essentially, that using a stabilizing brace with a pistol turns the firearm into a short-barreled rifle and must now be regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) — which means they’d be subject to registration, additional taxation, and long wait times for approval due to ATF’s lengthy NFA processing times. Because of this rule, the millions of Americans who own a pistol and a stabilizing brace, regardless of style or caliber or type of brace, must either dispose of, alter, or register their firearms. If they don’t comply, they will become felons and face 10 years in prison and large fines.

According to the Congressional Research Service, there are currently between 10 and 40 million stabilizing braces in circulation.

The primary problem with the new rule is the lack of a clear definition of what is actually being regulated. The language gives ATF the unmitigated power to decide on a case-by-case basis which firearms are and are not regulated.

“This rule demonstrates a clear abuse of power by the ATF,” Ouimet said. “They’re clearly carrying out the Biden Administration’s anti-gun agenda and it’s got to stop. The NRA is putting its full weight behind fighting this unlawful rule.”

The case is captioned Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition, Inc., v. Merrick Garland and was filed in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. Other plaintiffs are: SB Tactical, B&T USA, Wounded Warrior Richard Cicero, and a coalition of 25 states led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, also including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.