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Tipsheet

ATF Torched Over New Rule That Turns Millions Into Felons

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

On Thursday, Alex Bosco, the inventor of the pistol stabilizing brace, and several House Republicans, spoke out at a congressional hearing over a new rule unveiled by the Biden administration that reversed a decade-long policy over pistol braces. 

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In the hearing conducted by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance and the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs, Bosco shared how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed pistol braces for years before President Joe Biden came into power. A pistol brace, also known as a stabilizing brace, is a device attached to the rear of a firearm that allows the weapon to be fired one-handed.

“My initial effort to help a friend – an injured veteran – to safely and accurately participate in pistol shooting and then build a business has put me and millions of law-abiding Americans on a whiplash-inducing regulatory odyssey that has serious consequences, including imprisonment,” Bosco said. 

“The form stabilizing brace, which I originally designed to allow a disabled veteran more accurately and safely enjoy the sport of pistol shooting, has been used by millions of law-abiding citizens to more safely shoot large pistols,” he explained. “The stabilizing brace is not a force-multiplier. It merely adds an additional point of contact at the forearm to more securely hold a firearm.” 

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Over the years, Bosco pointed out, ATF did not take issue with pistol braces. That was until Biden assumed office.

“Shortly after swearing in, President Biden decided to reverse the previous decade of ATF decisions on stabilizing braces. He ordered ATF to treat pistols modified with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles subject to NFA [National Firearms Act] controls,” Bosco said.

Several Republicans torched the AFT’s rule on stabilizing braces, noting that it impacts millions of law-abiding gun owners.

Rep. Bryon Donalds (R-FL) pointed out that the ATF’s rule bypassed the legislative process and essentially turned 10 million Americans into felons. 

“Do you think it’s okay for the ATF to act outside of congressional legislative authority criminalizing 10 million Americans who are currently law-abiding citizens?” Donalds said, pointing out that the ATF said that stabilizing braces were legal until recently.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) pointed out that the fundamental issue behind the rule change was that there was no bill in Congress for the change.

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In Bosco’s exchange with Jordan, he noted that his company has sold “many millions” of stabilizing braces. Jordan said he’s heard that as many as 40 million Americans could own the product.

In the hearing, Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna shared her personal experience with experiencing a home invasion, an armed robbery, and losing her cousin to an act of gun violence. She claimed that the Democrats’ efforts to undermine the Second Amendment are an attack on women’s rights, and that the Democrats’ views on protecting children from gun violence are hypocritical given their stance on abortion. In the hearing, Luna held up images of third-trimester aborted children.

“I don’t believe that this is about protecting children, I believe that this is a political argument from people that have not gone through experiences and are seeking to use this platform to write legislation that is unconstitutional,” she said.

This week, Fox News reported that the rule, which took effect on Jan. 31, will require gun owners to either register pistols with stabilizing braces with the government, turn over the guns, or face up to 10 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. Several GOP House members plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify the rule. 

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"Congress must swiftly move to block the ATF’s unconstitutional pistol brace rule, as this misguided measure turns millions of law-abiding gun owners, including many disabled veterans, into criminals for merely possessing legal firearms with stabilizing braces," Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) told Fox News. He added that the rule was an “abuse of rule-making authority” and is “nothing more than a reckless attempt to advance President Biden’s ultimate goal of an unarmed America.”


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