Attorney General Merrick Garland and the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Steve Dettelbach, announced new regulations that would subject pistol-stabilizing braces to additional regulations, including higher taxes, longer waiting periods and registration.
Gun control supporters argue that stabilizing braces, attachable to pistols, can effectively transform a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, which the National Firearms Act (NFA) heavily regulates. The Federal Register will affect and publish the new rule soon.
President Biden claimed in a statement that these actions would save lives, adding that the rule would make it more difficult for individuals intending to inflict carnage to obtain these weapons.
Gun rights groups didn’t delay in condemning the rule. Senior vice president of Gun Owners of America Erich Pratt, in a statement, argued that Biden’s administration is coming up with different ways to attack gun owners.
“… This time, their target is brace-equipped firearms that allow persons with disabilities to safely and effectively use pistols,” Pratt said.
GOP lawmakers, NRA slam ATF rule to regulate pistol braces: 'Unconstitutional overreach' https://t.co/eBnjfr33E7
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 14, 2023
Short-barreled rifles have been subject to strict regulations over the decades, including additional taxes, background checks for private transfers, and other procedures. But these rules haven’t affected stabilizing braces, transforming pistols into short-barreled rifles.
“Almost a century ago, Congress determined that short-barreled rifles must be subject to stricter legal requirements. Policymakers understood then what we know is still true today. Short-barreled rifles present a deadly combination: They are easier to conceal than rifles, but they are more powerful and lethal than pistols.” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
While Democrats in Congress aggressively supported tougher regulations on stabilizing braces, Republicans have opposed such moves, stating that they infringed on the Second Amendment.
The DOJ’s recent announcement sparked immediate aggression from some Republicans, including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. In his statement, Morrisey argued that the “egregious” rule makes it difficult for senior citizens and people with disabilities to defend themselves. He added that his office was evaluating legal options at their disposal.
In 2020, Republican lawmakers also opposed a similar proposal sending a letter to then-Attorney General William Barr saying that the proposed regulation was alarming and violated law-abiding gun owners across the country. The ATF withdrew the proposed regulation upon the letter’s release.