Attorney General Knudsen files lawsuit against Biden administration’s unlawful pistol brace rule
HELENA – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and 23 other states filed a lawsuit against an egregious and overreaching Biden administration gun control regulation that will turn millions of gun owners into felons if they do not register certain devices they lawfully own with the federal government and pay a tax.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota Western Division against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and its director that seeks to enjoin a recently issued final rule governing “Stabilizing Braces,” commonly known as pistol braces.
“This rule is simply a continuation of President Biden and his ATF puppet Steve Dettelbach’s assault on the gun rights of law-abiding Montanans. Under their gun control regime, millions of Americans owning these simple accessories now have a choice: register them with the ATF with a ridiculous fee or face federal criminal charges,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “This rule is flagrantly unconstitutional. Attaching a common pistol-stabilizing brace does not magically transform a pistol into a federally regulated short-barreled rifle.”
The rule, called “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces,” requires that when manufacturers, dealers and individuals pair stabilizing braces with 99 percent of pistols, they must comply with the laws that regulate short-barreled rifles, including the National Firearms Act (NFA). That means those who use a stabilizing brace would have to apply for a permit with the ATF within four months, pay a tax, and face restrictions on future transfer of the brace.
The stabilizing braces were designed to help people with disabilities use pistols. Since then, many others, including older persons, people with limited mobility and those with smaller stature have come to use the braces. For more than a decade, these braces have been lawfully sold as firearm attachments not subject to regulation.
The new rule, however, affects most all pistol and handgun owners—many lawful gun owners use stabilizers to prevent some recoil when using firearms and to help with accuracy. The ATF itself estimates there are between three and seven million pistol braces in the United States. However, that number is likely much higher as the Congressional Research Service estimates between 10 and 40 million exist currently.
“ATF repeatedly issued letter rulings assuring manufacturers and the public that attaching a stabilizing brace would not alter the statutory or regulatory classification of a pistol or other firearm. As a result, millions of Americans have for years lawfully purchased stabilizing braces and pistols equipped with stabilizing braces from authorized, legitimate manufacturers with ATF’s full knowledge and express approval,” the lawsuit states.
In addition to the 24 states, other plaintiffs are Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition Inc., SB Tactical, B&T USA and Richard Cicero, a retired police firearms instructor and a wounded warrior who uses stabilizing braces.
Click here to read the lawsuit.