New Rule Requires Registration of Pistol Stabilizing Braces
Our nation’s firearm regulators essentially called b.s. on companies that make braces to convert pistols into deadly short-barreled rifles which have been heavily regulated since the Depression.
Gun owners, dealers and manufacturers will have 120 days to register the weapons with the ATF once the rule is published by the Federal Register. It was submitted on January 13. Nothing in the new rule bans braces or the use of braces of pistols that aren’t turned into short-barreled rifles.
“This rule enhances public safety and prevents people from circumventing the laws Congress passed almost a century ago,” said Steven Dettelbach, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “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.”
Capone is believed to have been behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929 in which gunmen dressed as police officers entered a Chicago garage, forced seven members of a bootlegging gang to stand against a wall, and killed them.
In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act which requires that machine guns, short-barreled shotguns or rifles, and silencers be registered with the federal government and taxed. Violations are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for an individual.
In 2012, Army veteran Alex Bosco asked the ATF about regulations for a pistol with a brace to help people with disabilities. The ATF concluded such a gun would not be subject to the tighter controls of the National Firearms Act. Bosco founded SB Tactical with Grant Shaw to make braces for guns.
The ATF estimates that about 1.4 million people have bought braces for guns. The Congressional Research Service estimates civilian gun enthusiasts own 10 million to 40 million braces or guns with braces.
“It’s no secret that Bosco’s brace can also be used as a shoulder stock by people with two good arms,” Nick Leghorn wrote in 2014 when a gun blog named Bosco the most influential personality of the year. “With Bosco’s brace, all Americans are able to modify an AR-15-style pistol into what’s effectively an SBR – without additional ATF infringement on their gun rights.”
Republican politicians, including Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the former Senate majority leader, and former Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, have pushed back against regulating gun braces.
McConnell and 47 other Republican senators called the proposed rule “a plan that would turn millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals.”
In August 2019, 26 people were shot in 32 seconds in a massacre by a gunman using a .223 caliber AR-15 style pistol with a brace that let him shoot the gun like a rifle. Nine of them died.
In March 2021, 10 people were killed at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Co. by a gunman using a Ruger AR-556 pistol with a brace.
SB Tactical, which made the brace for the Ruger used by the gunman in the Boulder shooting, downplayed the 19 deaths in the two shootings.
“To put that figure into context, the CDC reported 39,707 deaths from firearms in 2019 alone,” wrote attorneys for the company and an industry nonprofit, the Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition.
SB Tactical included pictures and testimonials from combat vets and a prosthetist in documents opposing the rule.
But ATF regulators wrote that previous agency decisions that said guns with the braces aren’t considered short-barreled rifles inappropriately relied on what the manufacturer said.