More petty annoyances for gun owners have been created by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The feds are finalizing a rule that targets pistol braces and would include higher taxes, longer waiting periods, and registration.

Pistol braces are most often used by disabled veterans and older Americans who still want to enjoy recreational shooting. But because pistol braces were used in a couple of mass casualty shootings, the ATF and Biden administration saw an easy PR win and want to discourage their use.

“Almost a century ago, Congress determined that short-barreled rifles must be subject to stricter legal requirements,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday during a call with reporters. “Policy makers 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.”

Garland celebrated the idea that “firearm manufacturers, dealers, and individuals cannot evade the important public safety protections passed by Congress simply by adding accessories to pistols that transform them into short-barreled rifles.”

Who says they were trying to “evade” anything? Helping disabled vets enjoy recreational shooting is hardly an evasion of the law.


According to the Justice Department, manufacturers, dealers and individual gun owners have 120 days to register tax-free any existing short-barreled rifles covered by the rule. They can also remove the stabilizing brace or surrender covered short-barreled rifles to the ATF, the department said.

“This rule enhances public safety … and helps ensure compliance with the firearms laws that Congress passed almost a century ago,” [ATF director Steve] Dettelbach said on the call. The rule makes clear, Dettelbach said, that “when pistols are accessorized with certain stabilizing braces, those pistols are converted into rifles” and should be treated as short-barreled rifles under the law.

“The Biden administration chose to shred the Constitution today,” the National Rifle Association said.

“This admin continues to find ways to attack gun owners. We will continue to work with our industry partners to amplify the disapproving voices in the firearms industry and [Gun Owners Foundation], our sister legal arm, will be filing suit in the near future,” said Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America.

ATF says that its new rule does not affect stabilizing braces intended for disabled persons, which is a crock considering the difficulty any gun owner who needs a pistol brace would have in “proving” they’re disabled.

But the point is, why do they have to “prove” anything?

Related: All ‘Gun Violence’ Is Alike If You Want to Take Guns Away

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) had some choice words about the new regulation.

Bearing Arms:

Among those sending in their personalized objections was the NSSF itself, which noted that since 2012 the ATF has taken the position that the attachment of stabilizing braces by themselves didn’t turn a firearm into a short-barreled rifle. Instead, as the NSSF wrote in its comments, the ATF has variously said that the gun owner “remakes” the pistol into a short-barreled rifle if they lift it to their shoulder (2015), but that “incidental, sporadic, or situational ‘use’ of an arm-brace” as a shoulder stock did not constitute a ‘redesign’ and would ultimately not fall under the NFA because that is “not consistent with the intent of the NFA.” (2017). As the organization concluded its comments in opposition:

Those comments form the basis of legal action against the ATF, which the NSSF says is exceeding its statutory authority in making the rule.

Efforts by ATF to again change the factoring criteria for firearms with Stabilizing Braces are arbitrary, capricious, abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in accordance with law. The Proposed Rule exceeds ATF’s statutory authority. For these, and other reasons, the Proposed Rule violates the Administrative Procedures Act. To the extent a violation the Proposed Rule would constitute a criminal offense the rule would exceed ATF’s statutory authority and would be unconstitutional and a violation of the Separation of Powers.

The justification for the rule uses the thinnest of reeds — a couple of mass shootings where the brace was employed. Otherwise, it’s just more useless anti-gun PR from the Biden administration.

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