The ATF has not exactly made any friends as of late. Their latest 300+ page new “rules” on firearm frames and receivers has yet to fully circulate, in the sense of knowing exactly what’s in there. Regardless, the ATF and Biden-Harris administration has taken a stance of making their own laws, which is illegal. The branch and agency have gone rogue. In attempts to stave off further illegal executive branch rulemaking, Senator James Lankford from Oklahoma has introduced a bill to protect a commonly used firearm accessory, pistol braces.
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) is standing up for Oklahomans’ Second Amendment right to own and use pistol braces without burdensome regulation, registration, and taxation. Last week, Lankford introduced the Pistol Brace Protection Act. Lankford’s bill would gut an upcoming final rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) by exempting pistol braces from regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The bill eliminates subjective standards that exist in federal law that have allowed ATF to reclassify firearms under the NFA, and guarantees that law-abiding gun owners will not have to register, destroy, or surrender their pistol brace.
The announcement also addresses the very important inception of the pistol brace and why it really is an important apparatus to some people. The current status of any rulemaking governing these items very well may change from what we have now, to a much more restrictive process.
Pistol braces were originally created to help disabled veterans. In June 2021, ATF issued a proposed rule that stated most pistol braces, when attached to a pistol, turn the pistol into a short-barreled rifle. Short-barreled rifles are regulated by the NFA and require taxation and registration. This rule has been pending ,but the final rule is expected in the next few months.
For years, ATF has assured gun owners that pistol braces are not NFA items and not subject to the taxation and registration scheme. Given this green light from ATF, millions of Americans have purchased and used pistol braces lawfully. If this rule goes into effect, it will make it so that millions of law-abiding gun owners have to either pay a tax and register their pistol brace or surrender it to ATF. This is a significant shift in policy and Congress should not allow ATF to get away with confiscating or registering devices that have long been considered exempt from NFA regulation.
The ATF has been running unchecked for years. Under the guise of the “leadership” of Sleepy “the big guy” Joe, we have a recipe for disaster. Thankfully we do have some lawmakers that are stepping up to support freedom and combat proposals from any member of the anti-freedom caucus. The fact is, the ATF has no place to be doing any of this. They don’t even get to interpret the law, that’s the purpose of the judicial system. Anything that’s not black and white should be considered off limits to the agency. When laws are being drafted as bills, that’s when the agency should perhaps petition Congress on what will or won’t work. What’s clear and what’s not needs to be determined. If there’s a problem, they need to petition Congress to fix them.
Senator Lankford had some commentary to offer up on his introduction of this bill:
“This is standard behavior for the ATF. ATF consistently finds new ways to manipulate the NFA so it’s difficult and burdensome to be a law-abiding gun owner” said Lankford. “Oklahomans know well how the progressive Biden Administration is trying to quietly erode Second Amendment rights by making guns, ammunition, and gun-related products like pistol braces almost impossible to find and buy. Congress should not wait for ATF to finalize the pistol brace rule. Law-abiding gun owners are counting on us to proactively protect their rights and their use of pistol braces by passing my bill immediately to make clear to the ATF that we won’t stand for this overreach.”
Jason Ouimet, Executive Director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action also weighed in with a position statement:
“It should come as no surprise that the most anti-gun administration in American history would distort the rules to suit their gun control agenda. NRA-ILA applauds Sen. Lankford‘s introduction of the Pistol Brace Protection Act (S. 4069), that would thwart Biden’s misguided pistol brace rule and prevent millions of lawful American gun owners from becoming felons overnight,”
The bill S.4069 – A bill to amend the National Firearms Act to provide an exception for stabilizing braces, and for other purposes. does not have any bill text available at this time. Based on the statements given, should this become law, S 4069 would remove any possibility of restrictions on the accessory.
While this effort is something to applaud, the introduction of this bill does point to a larger issue we’re dealing with. Regulatory agencies in the United States have been overstepping their bounds for decades and this is just the head of the pimple surfacing. Since this deals specifically with a constitutionally protected right, greater oversight needs to occur. The ATF specifically, along with the NFA, FFA, GCA, etc. all need to be reconsidered under the lens of the Heller decision, and if that occurs truthfully without judicial misconduct, we’d be looking at a very different set of standards to live by. We’ll be watching this bill as it goes through the process. Sleepy Joe’s not likely to put his mark on this bill should it pass, but it does send a message, and needs introducing to even have a shot.