The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives released a new rule on pistol-stabilizing braces that will effectively ban millions of rifles and has Second Amendment supporters up in arms.
The ATF had previously ruled that pistol braces were legal, but a new rule was sought by President Joe Biden as part of his promise to reform gun laws.
The 296-page document outlines several options that gun owners with stabilizing braces have to avoid prosecution.
“Any weapons with ‘stabilizing braces’ or similar attachments that constitute rifles under the NFA must be registered no later than 120 days after date of publication in the Federal Register,” read the rule, “or the short barrel removed and a 16-inch or longer rifle barrel attached to the firearm; or permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the ‘stabilizing brace’ such that it cannot be reattached; or the firearm is turned in to your local ATF office. Or the firearm is destroyed.”
U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland defended the new rule by claiming that braces were a way for firearm owners to evade laws against short-barreled rifles.
“Keeping our communities safe from gun violence is among the Department’s highest priorities,” read the statement from Garland. “Almost a century ago, Congress determined that short-barreled rifles must be subject to heightened requirements. Today’s rule makes clear that firearm manufacturers, dealers, and individuals cannot evade these important public safety protections simply by adding accessories to pistols that transform them into short-barreled rifles.”
Senate Republicans sent a letter to Garland objecting to the rule and called it “the largest executive branch-imposed gun registration and confiscation scheme in American history.”
A spokesperson for the Gun Owners of America says they will file a lawsuit challenging the new rule.
There are estimated to be between 10 and 40 million of such braces in use.