On Wednesday, the National Rifle Association (NRA) took action to intervene in a legal challenge to the pistol brace rule that President Joe Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is trying to implement.
The NRA filed a legal brief in a pending case in Texas, trying to shield NRA members from the Biden administration’s overreach, according to a filing obtained by the Daily Wire. The new policy, known as the “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces,’” would regulate pistols with stabilizing braces — which are firearm accessories that allow a person to shoot a handgun one-handed more easily, and are especially useful for disabled people. The policy came at the behest of the president, who claimed that these stabilizing braces could turn pistols into short-barreled rifles and make them “more lethal.”
Joe Biden just claimed adding a "stabilizing brace" to an AR-pistol makes it "more lethal."
This is literally not true and one of the most insane things I've ever heard on the topic of guns. pic.twitter.com/yw8RjBTNbv
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 8, 2021
ATF Director Steve Dettelbach also claimed that the braces made pistols into rifles while defending the new regulation.
“This rule enhances public safety and prevents people from circumventing the laws Congress passed almost a century ago. In the days of Al Capone, Congress said back then that short-barreled rifles and sawed-off shotguns should be subjected to greater legal requirements than most other guns,” Dettelbach said.
In their legal brief, the NRA demanded a preliminary injunction against the regulation, which went into effect on June 1.
Millions of law abiding Americans will become felons automatically on May 31, thanks to the ATF’s unconstitutional stabilizing brace rule.
The Biden administration is trying to regulate away your 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
But we’re fighting to defend it. pic.twitter.com/gcYtDq1I3d
— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) April 26, 2023
NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre spoke out about the move, calling the Biden administration’s actions an “arbitrary attack on law-abiding gun owners.”
“The NRA has consistently opposed this arbitrary attack on law-abiding gun owners on multiple fronts,” LaPierre said. “The NRA is a leader in the largest and most aggressive legal challenge to this action, and now aims to intervene in the Texas lawsuit. We are pursuing relief to protect our members – and bring a halt to this attack on their freedom.”
The lawsuit that the NRA is intervening in was brought by the Second Amendment Foundation and several others against Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the ATF and ATF Director Steven Dettelbach.
“Because of the Final Rule, the millions of Americans, including NRA members, who own a pistol and a stabilizing brace, regardless of style or caliber or type of brace, must either dispose of, alter, or register their firearms. If they guess wrong, they face the prospect of felony prosecution, 10 years in prison, and large fines,” the NRA wrote in its complaint.
The NRA also noted that their ultimate goal is to get a permanent injunction against the new regulation, noting that disabled veterans are especially harmed by the new rule because they use the stabilizing braces for safety when using a pistol.
Meanwhile, it is somewhat likely that the NRA’s complaint will succeed, as other Second Amendment organizations have already won lawsuits to exempt their members from the rule. According to the Daily Wire, “Other gun owners have already been shielded from complying with the ATF’s new rule, with members of the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, and Texas state employees previously winning a preemptive injunction against the policy.”
NRA President Charles Cotton cited this fact in his comments about the complaint, noting: “The courts have already recognized other gun-promotion groups should be afforded protection from this rule. The NRA now seeks to intervene – to extend the protections to the Association.”
The NRA’s complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.