SAF RIPS ATF ‘FINAL RULE’ ON ARM
BRACES, LAWSUIT WILL MOVE FORWARD

January 13, 2023

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today accused the Biden administration of “once again trying to trample the rights of gun owners” by allowing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to adopt a “final rule” on arm braces for modern semiautomatic pistols.

While the definition of a rifle in federal law should be clear, noted attorney Chad Flores, who is representing SAF in a federal lawsuit filed two years ago that was stayed by the court in anticipation of this new rule, it is clear the Biden administration’s new definition of a rifle ignores tradition. SAF sued ATF and the U.S. Attorney General in 2021 in a case known as SAF et. al. v. BATFE, et. al.

SAF is joined in that case by Rainier Arms, LLC and two private citizens, Samuel Walley and William Green. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.

According to Flores’ analysis of the 291-page Final Rule, the definition of a “rifle” now turns on a bewildering six-factor test. This new definition can be controlled not by the firearm’s objective characteristics, but instead by what ATF agents in D.C. think of a manufacturer’s marketing materials or the firearm’s “likely use.”  The new rule itself is forced to admit its dramatic result: Under this new definitional regime, “a majority of the existing firearms equipped with a ‘stabilizing brace’ are likely to be classified as ‘rifles.’”  

“The Biden administration’s new rifle definition overrides the true wish of Congress, to upend the reasonable expectations of stabilizing brace users and makers nationwide,” Flores said.

SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb noted the foundation’s 2021 lawsuit raised critical points about what has now been adopted by ATF.  

“When we started this process,” Gottlieb said, “we anticipated where the agency’s efforts would lead. With our co-plaintiffs, we will continue to challenge this new arm brace rule.”


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