NRA and 25 States File Challenge to ATF Pistol Brace Rule

AR-15 Pistol Brace
AWR Hawkins/Breitbart News

The NRA and 25 states filed a challenge against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) pistol brace rule on Thursday.

Breitbart News reported that the ATF pistol brace rule places pistol stabilizer braces under the auspices of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and mandates that current owners of said braces take one of the five following actions:

• Turn in the entire firearm with the attached “stabilizing brace” to ATF;
• Destroy the whole firearm;
• Convert the short-barreled rifle into a long-barreled rifle;
• Apply to register the weapon under the NFA; or
• Permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the “stabilizing brace” from the firearm so that it cannot be reattached.

Pistol brace owners have 120 days, beginning January 31, 2023, to comply.

Breitbart News noted that the ATF suggests that braces intended to be fired without shouldering a firearm may remain legal, but current owners are worried about ambiguity in the interpretation of what is or is not a legal brace.

The ATF said: “This rule does not affect ‘stabilizing braces’ that are objectively designed and intended as a ‘stabilizing brace’ for use by individuals with disabilities, and not for shouldering the weapon as a rifle. Such stabilizing braces are designed to conform to the arm and not as a buttstock. However, if the firearm with the ‘stabilizing brace’ is a short-barreled rifle, it needs to be registered within 120-days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.”

FOX News quoted NRA-ILA executive director Jason Ouimet’s commenting on the NRA challenge: “The bureau is declaring that they will effectively decide on a case-by-case basis whether a firearm is subject to the NFA. Every American gun owner is in danger of potentially facing felony charges at the whim of these bureaucrats and without any new statute in place.”

The challenge was filed Thursday by the NRA, SB Tactical, B&T USA, Wounded Warrior Richard Cicero, and 25 states–Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Also on Thursday, another suit against the ATF rule was filed by Gun Owners of America, the Gun Owners Foundation, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. AWR Hawkins holds a PhD in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at


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