January 17, 2023
President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice has released its new “final rule” on pistol braces that requires pistols fitted with such braces to be registered with the government and owner to pay a $200 tax on the firearm. In effect, the rule classifies a pistol with a brace and a barrel under 16 inches as a short-barreled rifle under the National Firearms Act (NFA). Consequently, braced pistols, owned by millions of law-abiding Americans, are now considered by the government to be illegal short-barreled rifles.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson has long been an opponent of the law, which has been in the works for several months. In fact, in June he wrote a letter, signed by 140 other federal legislators, opposing the idea. After the Justice Department announcement on Friday, Hudson said the move is a direct assault on the right to keep and bear arms.
"This rule jeopardizes the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and disabled combat veterans, which is why I led Members of Congress in opposition," Hudson said in a prepared statement. "I will continue to fight against the ATF's unconstitutional overreach that could turn millions of citizens into felons."
Pro-gun organizations, including the National Rifle Association, also quickly spoke out against the new rule. “The Biden Administration chose to shred the Constitution today,” NRA tweeted on Friday after the announcement. “@ATFHQ submitted their pistol brace “final rule” to the Federal Register and demanded Americans either “register” or “surrender” their lawfully owned rifles. “Joe Biden is an enemy of our Second Amendment.”
Gun Owners of America also weighed in on the new rule in no uncertain terms. “This administration continues to find new ways to attack gun owners, and this time their target is brace-equipped firearms that allow persons with disabilities to safely and effectively use pistols,” Erich Pratt, GOA senior vice president, said in a news release. “We will continue to work with our industry partners to amplify the disapproving voices in the firearms industry, and the Gun Owners Foundation, our sister legal arm, will be filing suit in the near future.”
The new rule gives owners, manufacturers and distributors 120 days to report their stabilizing braces to the ATF without paying the $200 tax. Gun owners may also remove the stabilizing brace or relinquish any firearms modified by a stabilizing brace to the ATF.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years.
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