ATF Plans to Finalize Pistol Brace Rule in January

Gun Rights

In a recent court filing, the Department of Justice claimed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “expects to publish a final rule in January 2023.” That rule is the Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” which was first proposed by the agency in June 2021. And, is the most recent in a long line of ATF guidance, rulings, and rules regarding firearms with attached stabilizing braces.

If finalized, the rule would likely subject most firearms with attached braces to the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA), which include additional taxation, long wait times, and registration.

Since 2012, when Biden was serving as then-President Barack Obama’s vice president, ATF has recognized that stabilizing braces serve a legitimate function, and the inclusion of a stabilizing brace on a pistol or other firearm does not automatically subject that firearm to the provisions of the NFA. That’s because stabilizing braces were first designed and intended to help disabled veterans fire large format pistols.

NRA has repeatedly pushed back on administration attempts to classify firearms with attached braces under the NFA. When the most recent rule was proposed NRA submitted comments, which you can find here.

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More recently, on December 20, 2022, NRA-ILA staff met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which was conducting its review of ATF’s final rule. OIRA review is generally the last step that an agency must cross in order to publish a final rule. At the meeting with OIRA, NRA staff voiced the many concerns that gun owners had with the proposed rule.

Now, it looks like ATF intends to move forward with the final rule despite the numerous problems that have been identified with the rule. While no definitive date has been set for the release in January, ATF has in the past released various rulings immediately before the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT). SHOT Show 2023 is scheduled to begin on Tuesday January 17th.

Please check regularly for updates on this terrible rule and other regulations, legislation, and litigation that impact your Second Amendment rights.

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