NRA Sues Biden Admin Over ‘Unlawful’ ATF Final Rule on Pistol Stabilizing Brace

Second Amendment

The National Rifle Association (NRA) on Monday intervened in a legal challenge against the pistol brace rule implemented by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The rule, which went into effect on June 1, is designed to regulate pistols with stabilizing braces, which make it easier to shoot a handgun with one hand.

The NRA seeks to intervene in the Texas lawsuit in order to protect its members and defend their freedom from the regulation known as the “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces.’”

In a legal brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, the NRA argues that the Final Rule infringes on the rights of gun owners and requests a preliminary injunction.

The complaint asserts that the Final Rule changes the definitions of “rifle” in a way that creates ambiguity, making it difficult for law-abiding citizens to “determine whether their firearms fall under this new definition.” Gun owners are left with the choice of “guessing whether their firearms are compliant.”

The consequence of guessing wrong regarding the compliance of their firearms could lead to felony prosecution, a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years, and substantial fines.

According to the NRA, the Final Rule has caused irreparable harm to its millions of members, including 350,000 in Texas, who now face the prospect of modifying, destroying, registering, or surrendering their firearms under threat of felony criminal prosecution. The NRA argues that there are “no adequate remedies” for these injuries.

The NRA’s court filing states that the Final Rule has placed its members in a vulnerable position, depriving them of sufficient legal recourse.

“The irreparable harm facing the NRA’s members can be prevented by this Court. Indeed, other courts have already recognized the irreparable harm arising from the Final Rule,” the complaint reads (pdf).

Preliminary injunctive relief was granted to the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Rainier Arms LLC (Rainier), Samuel Walley (Walley), and William Green (Green) on May 25. However, the NRA argues that this relief is limited in scope and doesn’t safeguard the interests of its members.

“While the NRA wholeheartedly agrees with the Court’s decision to enjoin Defendants’ attempts to turn law-abiding citizens into potential felons through implementation of the Final Rule, the scope of the injunctive relief granted … cannot adequately protect the interest of the NRA’s members,” the complaint reads.

‘Arbitrary Attack’

Pistol-stabilizing braces provide additional stability by allowing users to attach the gun to their forearm or shoulder. The NRA says that these devices are widely used by gun owners throughout the country, including disabled veterans who rely on them for safe and effective pistol use.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president and CEO, stated that the organization has consistently opposed this “arbitrary attack” on law-abiding gun owners and is leading the legal challenge against the action.

“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,” LaPierre said in a statement. “We are pursuing relief to protect our members—and bring a halt to this attack on their freedom.”

This filing represents the NRA’s latest effort to challenge the ATF’s pistol brace ruling, which followed President Joe Biden’s call for regulating the use of such braces. Biden expressed concerns that these braces could transform pistols into short-barreled rifles.

Recently, a federal judge struck down the Biden administration’s ban on “ghost guns,” ruling that the ATF exceeded its authority by categorizing unfinished gun parts as firearms. The judge determined that these parts do not meet the definition of firearms under federal law.

The NRA’s ultimate goal is to obtain a permanent injunction against the pistol brace rule. Previously, the NRA supported a lawsuit in North Dakota in February that challenged the ATF’s pistol brace rule.

“President Biden and his rogue regulators are on notice: the NRA will continue to defend its members and their constitutional freedoms—fighting this rule and the anti-Second Amendment agenda in every forum available,” said NRA President Charles Cotton.

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