A coalition of attorneys general from 25 states filed a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Thursday, alleging that the recently implemented “stabilizing” brace rule is an effort to undermine Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
The suit, filed alongside Second Amendment advocacy groups in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, claims that the ATF’s pistol brace rule adds additional regulations, including higher taxes, longer waiting periods, and registration, further saying the rule is “arbitrary and capricious,” according to the lawsuit.
The rule, announced in January, voids all previous guidance on pistols braces, opting to redefine “rifle” as any weapon “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended” to be fired from the shoulder, forcing pistol brace owners to register their pistols as short barrel rifles (SBR) with the federal government.
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“Let’s call this what it is: an effort to undermine Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick 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,” he continued.
The coalition further said that any manufacturers, dealers and individuals that pair stabilizing braces with “99% of pistols” must comply with the National Firearms Act (NFA), meaning those who own pistols with braces must comply, apply for a permit and pay a tax within the next four months.
Many pistol brace owners, including older persons, people with limited mobility and those with smaller stature will be penalized by the rule, as “many lawful gun owners use stabilizers to prevent some recoil when using firearms ” to help with accuracy, according to the release.
“We should not be making it harder for senior citizens and people with disabilities—and many disabled veterans—to defend themselves,” Morrisey said. “I will continue to stand up for the Second Amendment rights of all West Virginians.”
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The lawsuit also alleges that the ATF violated the Separation of Powers by implementing the new rule. “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,” Morrisey said. “The Separation of Powers clearly bars federal agencies from making new laws without Congressional
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also filed a lawsuit against the ATF Thursday, saying the pistol brace rule is an infringement on Second Amendment rights and is fundamentally unconstitutional.
“This is yet another attempt by the Biden Administration to create a workaround to the U.S. Constitution and expand gun registration in America,” Paxton said in a release. “This rule is dangerous and unconstitutional, and I’m hopeful that this lawsuit will ensure that it is never allowed to take effect.”
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