West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey suing over ATF pistol brace rule

Second Amendment

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Thursday that he is leading a coalition of other attorneys general in a lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) new rule regulating stabilizing braces, commonly referred to as pistol braces.

The rule in question is called Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces means that when manufacturers, dealers and individuals pair stabilizing braces with 99% of pistols, they must comply with the laws that regulate short-barreled rifles, which includes the National Firearms Act.

Those laws include a requirement for those who use a stabilizing brace to apply for a permit with the ATF by May 31, 2023, pay a tax and face restrictions on future transfer of the brace. Violations of the NFA are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey noted in a press release that the attachments were designed to people with disabilities use pistols, and are popular with older gun owners, people of smaller stature and those with limited mobility. He said they’ve also been sold for more than a decade without being subject to regulation.

He said many lawful gun owners also use stabilizers to lessen recoil when shooting and help with accuracy.

The lawsuit asks the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota Western Division to declare the rule unlawful and set it aside.

“We should not be making it harder for senior citizens and people with disabilities—and many disabled veterans—to defend themselves,” Attorney General Morrisey said in the release. “I will continue [to] stand up for the Second Amendment rights of all West Virginians.”

The final rule acknowledges that during the public comment process, commentators raised concerns that the rule would impact at least 3 million law-abiding citizens and threaten millions with prison, harsh fines, and forfeiture of firearms or make them felons. They also raised concerns about the cost of complying with the new rule, and concerns that it was politically motivated.

The ATF wrote that it disagreed with those comments.

The ATF has more information on its website about what gun owners impacted by the new rule are expected to do.

Twenty-five states are a part of the coalition, and the National Rifle Association, SB Tactical, B&T USA, Wounded Warrior Richard Cicero are also plaintiffs. For those who want to follow the case’s progress, it is called Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition, Inc., v. Merrick Garland.

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