Wicker, Hyde-Smith Back Resolution to Stop Biden’s ATF Pistol Brace Rule

AFT Rule would Turn Lawful Gunowners into Felons for Noncompliance

March 17, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., have cosponsored a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to prevent the Biden administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing an anti-Second Amendment pistol brace rule.

The Mississippi Senators are among 45 cosponsors of S.J.Res.20, which would stop the ATF rule titled, Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces.  The rule would reclassify pistols as short-barreled rifles if they have a stabilizing brace attachment, even though many disabled veterans and other Americans rely on these braces to use their firearms.

“The new rule on pistol braces is a gross violation of Americans’ Second Amendment rights.  The Biden Administration has continuously demonstrated a willingness to overstep the bounds of the Constitution. We will stand with gun owners,” Wicker said.

“The ATF under the Biden administration insists on issuing rules that end up infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners while doing next to nothing to stop violent crime.  It’s too much.  I hope enough Senators will stand up and block this ill-advised and unneeded rule,” Hyde-Smith said.

Under the ATF rule, otherwise lawful gun owners could face up to 10 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines if they fail to register pistols with stabilizing braces with the ATF.  If gun owners do not register their firearms, they would have to destroy the firearm, surrender their firearm to the ATF or remove the brace in such a way that it cannot be reattached.

In 2012, the Obama administration’s ATF determined that pistol-brace attachments do not change the classification of a pistol to that of a rifle.  Despite this, the Biden administration in 2021 directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to propose a rule that clarifies when a pistol with a brace attachment should be designated as a rifle.  The DOJ announced the “stabilizing braces” final rule earlier this year.

S.J.Res.20 was led by U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-La.) and Roger Marshall, M.D., R-Kan.  A companion House resolution will be introduced by U.S. Representative Andrew Clyde, R-Ga.