BOHICA – Pistol Brace Rule

We knew it was coming. Some had speculated it would be released during the SHOT Show. However, the weasel running the Department of Justice, Merrick Garland, decided to release the new pistol brace rule on the Friday before a long weekend. This is usually the case when you don’t want to make a big splash with an announcement.

In his press release, Garland said this:

“Keeping our communities safe from gun violence is among the Department’s highest priorities,” said Attorney General Merrick B. 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.”

SBRs were not added to the NFA by Congress because they “must be subject to heightened requirements”. Rather, the original proposed NFA would have banned handguns and the drafters wanted to make sure that cutting down a rifle didn’t make it into a pistol. When Congress said there was no way in hell that they would ban pistols, the bit about SBRs was forgotten.

ATF Director Steve Dettelbach who knows diddly squat about firearms added:

“This rule enhances public safety and prevents people from circumventing the laws Congress passed almost a century ago. In the days of Al Capone, Congress said back then that short-barreled rifles and sawed-off shotguns should be subjected to greater legal requirements than most other guns. The reason for that is that short-barreled rifles have the greater capability of long guns, yet are easier to conceal, like a pistol,” said ATF Director Steven Dettelbach. “But certain so-called stabilizing braces are designed to just attach to pistols, essentially converting them into short-barreled rifles to be fired from the shoulder. Therefore, they must be treated in the same way under the statute.”

More bullshit. Screw the disabled for whom pistol braces were designed.

The rest of the release includes some gems as “more easily concealable”, “more destructive power”, and “heightened requirements”. In other words, the more they can demonize pistol braces, the better in their minds.

I’m sure this will be a topic of conversation at the SHOT Show. Likewise, I am sure that the lawsuits are already prepared and ready to be filed. It also increases the importance of the 5th Circuit’s ruling in Cargill v. Garland. Under the doctrine of lenity, the ATF cannot just say something is what it isn’t and thus make it a felony to possess one unregistered. That is the job of Congress.

The rule which was released today goes into effect in 120 days.

Here is the full rule and the factoring criteria.