Gov. Greg Gianforte: ATF Pistol Brace Rule Cannot Be Enforced in Montana

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte

Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) sent a February 8, 2023, letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland making it clear that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive’s (ATF’s) pistol brace rule will not be enforced in Montana.

Breitbart News reported that the pistol brace rule was published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2023, placing said braces under the purview of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and giving owners of said braces 120 days from that date to comply with ATF criteria for legally possessing the devices.

Gianforte used his letter to lament the ATF’s decision to place stabilizer braces under the NFA, noting that the “decision further erodes the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Montanans.”

He added, “Our right to keep and bear arms is integral to Montana’s and our nation’s rich heritage, and this rule directly violates our long-held traditions.”

Gianforte noted, “This rule also ignores the design and intent of stabilizer braces — to help disabled veterans fire large format pistols.”

He then pointed to House Bill 258, which he signed in April 2021. The Associated Press summed up HB 258 as protecting Montana gun rights by “[prohibiting] state and local law enforcement in Montana from enforcing federal bans on firearms, ammunition, and magazines.”

In his letter to AG Garland, Gianforte pointed to the stipulations of HB 258, noting that a “peace officer, state employee, or employee from a political subdivision is prohibited from enforcing” or aiding in the enforcement of “a federal ban on firearms, magazines, or ammunition.” Moreover, the provisions of HB 258 prohibit peace officers, state employees, or employees from a political subdivision from participating in federal enforcement of such a ban.

Gianforte tweeted, “Our right to keep and bear arms is integral to Montana’s and our nation’s rich heritage. That’s why we prohibited the enforcement of federal gun bans in Montana, like ATF‘s pistol brace rule.”

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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