Credit: The Hill
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey announced on Thursday that his office, along with Attorney Generals in two dozen other states, is challenging the ATF’s new rule on pistol stabilizing braces with a new federal lawsuit.
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Morrissey said that “this administration is hellbent on going after Second Amendment rights.” He also called out the ATF for reversing their course of years of previous guidance declaring that attaching the braces to pistols does not turn them into short-barreled rifles.
Short-barreled rifles are restricted under the National Firearms Act of 1934.
Under this new rule, pistols with braces the ATF deems to be intended to aid in a pistol being fired from the shoulder must be registered under the NFA by May 31st. If not, the owner must permanently remove and dispose of the brace.
Morrissey says the law is intentionally vague, but the intent is clear. It is meant to “hurt hardworking Americans [by] making it more expensive and more difficult to own weapons that are safe to utilize.”
Morrissey released a press release:
“Let’s call this what it is: an effort to undermine Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” Attorney General Morrisey said.
“This is an egregious final rule turning millions of common firearms accessories into ‘short barreled rifles.’ This is a completely nonsensical regulation.”
“This is part of the continued attack by the Biden administration against lawful gun owners.”
The rule, called Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces, indicated that when manufacturers, dealers, and individuals pair stabilizing braces with 99% of pistols, they must comply with the laws that regulate those rifles, including the National Firearms Act (NFA).
That means those who use a stabilizing brace would have to apply for a permit with the ATF within four months, pay a tax, and face restrictions on the future transfer of the brace.
Stabilizing braces were designed to help people with disabilities use pistols. Since then, many others, including older persons, people with limited mobility, and those with smaller stature have come to use the braces. For more than a decade, these braces have been sold as firearms attachments not subject to regulation.
The rule, however, affects almost all pistol and handgun owners—many lawful gun owners use stabilizers to prevent some recoil when using firearms and to help with accuracy.
“We should not be making it harder for senior citizens and people with disabilities—and many disabled veterans—to defend themselves,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “I will continue stand up for the Second Amendment rights of all West Virginians.”
“This is also another case of a federal agency not staying in its lane and doing the job the constitution clearly delegates to Congress—writing laws,” the Attorney General added. “The Separation of Powers clearly bars federal agencies from making new laws without Congressional directive.”
According to Morrissey’s office, West Virginia is joined by 24 Attorney Generals from the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is not included in this complaint because he is filing his own lawsuit against the new rule.
Several other Republicans in Congress have introduced measures to nullify the rule using the Congressional Review Act.