Prominent conservative and member of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) criticized the recent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) rule banning pistol braces, stating that many Americans will inadvertently be breaking the law due to the change.
The ATF rule determined that pistol braces used for common rifles are now illegal. The change was made through the government agency, and not through Congress.
At a recent Judiciary Committee meeting, Roy drew considerable exception to the fact that the rule was passed via fiat, rather than through the nation’s legislature.
According to the Texas Republican, it was an example of “a bureaucrat making unilateral decisions to try to turn millions of Americans into felons, to advance a radical leftist agenda, which is clearly what is at play.”
Many Americans use pistol braces, especially the physically disabled, as a means to handle their firearms. The January 2023 rule would determine whether or not such a stabilizing brace would make some weapons into illegal short-barreled rifles.
Americans have until May 31 to comply with the new change. As a result, Americans have several major options to come into compliance with the ATF’s ruling.
The first is that weapons using certain types of pistol braces must be registered with the federal government. Other options include removing or disabling the brace, destroying the weapon or replacing the barrel with a longer one.
The Justice Department likened the rule to efforts in the 1920s to fight organized crime, stating that the original prohibition on short-barreled rifles came during the era of mobsters such as Al Capone.
Congressman Matt Gaetz absolutely DESTROYS an Everytown lobbyist over the ATF’s Pistol Brace Rule.
— National Association for Gun Rights (@NatlGunRights) March 23, 2023
ATF Director Steven Dettelbach said that “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.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the original ban on short-barreled rifles, passed by Congress as part of the National Firearms Act of 1934, should be more strictly enforced through this rule change.
He said that the new statute “makes clear that firearm manufacturers, dealers and individuals cannot evade these important public safety protections” by adding pistol braces to their weapons.
During the 90-day comment period regarding the rule change, the ATF received almost 250,000 comments.