Attorney General Merrick Garland and Steve Dettelbach, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced new regulations Friday that will subject pistol-stabilizing braces to additional regulations, including higher taxes, longer waiting periods, and registration.
Firearms manufacturers, dealers, and individual gun owners have 120 days to register (tax-free) any existing short-barreled rifles covered by the ATFs final ruling. They can also remove the stabilizing brace or surrender covered short-barreled rifles to the ATF.
The ruling states that using a stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock constitutes a redesign of the firearm into a short-barreled rifle (SBR), which is subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA). SBRs are regulated by the NFA, which requires registration and a tax stamp for possession.
However, the ATF has also stated that if the brace is used as intended, as a stabilizing device for the shooter’s arm, it does not constitute a redesign of the firearm. The key factor in determining whether or not the use of a stabilizing brace constitutes a redesign is the shooter’s intent. If the shooter is using the brace as a shoulder stock, it is a redesign. If the shooter is using the brace as intended, to stabilize the firearm while firing with one hand, it is not a redesign.
The ruling has generated a lot of debate and controversy, with some arguing that it is a violation of Second Amendment rights, while others argue that it is necessary to ensure public safety. Some have also argued that the ruling is overly broad and could criminalize the use of stabilizing braces by people with disabilities who use them to fire firearms with one hand.
In addition, while this ruling is the official stance of the ATF, it is not legally binding and is open to interpretation. Therefore, it is still possible for individuals to use stabilizing braces as shoulder stocks without fear of prosecution, as long as they can prove that they were not using it to redesign the firearm.
Overall, The ATF Brace Ruling has clarified that if an individual uses a stabilizing brace in a way that constitutes a redesign of the firearm, it is subject to the NFA regulation, but it is not illegal as long as the use of the brace is not to redesign the firearm. The ruling has generated a lot of debate and controversy and it is important to consult with legal authorities before making any decision.