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National Gun Violence Prevention Groups Fight to Uphold ATF’s Life-Saving Stabilizing Brace Rule


The Fifth Circuit Court is Set to Hear Arguments Challenging ATF’s Rule to Prevent the Proliferation of Deadly Short-Barreled Rifles

WASHINGTON – National gun violence prevention organizations EverytownBradyGIFFORDS Law Center, and March for Our Lives have joined together on an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case challenging a Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rule clarifying that certain devices marketed as “stabilizing braces,” are shoulder stocks, converting pistols into short-barreled rifles regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934. Congress passed this law nearly a century ago to more stringently regulate the possession and use of certain firearms that had little to no lawful applications but were commonly used by criminals in Prohibition Era America. This ATF action makes good sense and carries out Congress’ intent in the National Firearms Act because shoulder stocks make it possible for a pistol to become much more dangerous as they enable a firearm to potentially be fired more accurately at greater distances and with greater velocity, making them deadlier. The challenge to the life-saving rule is under attack by the State of Texas, the gun manufacturing industry, and individual gun owners. The amicus brief can be found here.

Aaron Etsy, Senior Counsel, Everytown Law:

“For years, gun makers have exploited arm braces for profit. The gun industry took an accessory originally designed for disabled shooters and pivoted to selling and marketing these accessories to shooters looking to make weapons of war like AR-15s even deadlier. In just the last few years, we’ve seen several incidents where mass shooters utilized easily concealable, short-barreled AR-15s equipped with arm braces, including the deadly mass shooting last year at The Covenant School in Nashville. Make no mistake, ATF is right to treat these arm-braced weapons as the dangerous items they are, and we stand with ATF in defending this life-saving rule that reinforces that position.”

Kris Brown, President, Brady:

“Certain devices sold as “stabilizing braces” allow shooters to turn any short-barreled firearm into a rifle, and the gun industry has knowingly marketed these devices to do just that. In a 2019 shooting in Dayton, Ohio, a shooter used a so-called stabilizing brace to kill nine people and injure 27 in only 32 seconds. By circumventing the National Firearms Act, the gun industry has caused irreparable harm to public safety, and the ATF’s intervention is crucial to stop the unnecessary carnage that such stabilizing braces allow shooters to inflict.  We are hopeful the Fifth Circuit will heed our warnings and uphold ATF’s rule, which is consistent with its longstanding authority under the National Firearms Act.”

Kelly Percival, Litigation Attorney, GIFFORDS Law Center:

“ATF’s rule on stabilizing braces ensures that all forms of short-barreled rifles are regulated under the National Firearms Act, as the law directs. We urge the court to recognize that ATF is simply doing its job and uphold this lifesaving rule. The gun lobby falsely asserts enforcing laws that already exist is the only solution to gun violence—yet, when the ATF does so, the gun lobby attacks and undermines it at every turn. ”

Yvin Shin, Legal Associate, March For Our Lives:

“Stabilizing braces turn an already deadly weapon into an exponentially more efficient weapon of terror and mass destruction. These devices essentially transform pistols into rifles, increasing their stability and accuracy while still allowing them to be easily concealed. From Boulder and Nashville, to Colorado Springs and Dayton, stabilizing braces have been used in mass shootings across the country to devastating effect, making clear that the ATF must have the authority to regulate these dangerous devices—and we believe it does. March For Our Lives is urging the Fifth Circuit to reduce the potential for mass death, protect our lives, and uphold this common-sense rule.”