A group of Republican U.S. Senators last week called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to withdraw its proposed rule largely banning the use of stabilizing braces on pistols.
Every current GOP senator in Congress, except for Rob Portman of Ohio and Susan Collins of Maine, signed the letter, dated June 24, addressed to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and acting ATF Director Marvin Richardson. The letter argues the proposed rulemaking, which would reclassify most of the braced pistols in their current format as short-barreled rifles under the National Firearms Act of 1934, is bordering on oppression.
"The way the proposed rule is written makes clear that ATF intends to bring the most common uses of the most widely possessed stabilizing braces within the purview of the NFA," wrote the Senators. "Doing so would turn millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals overnight, and would constitute the largest executive branch-imposed gun registration and confiscation scheme in American history."
Estimates by the ATF are that a minimum of 1 million Americans would be impacted by the proposed rule. Meanwhile, the Congressional Research Service thinks the true numbers could trend as high as 40 million.
As there is no grandfathering allowed under the rule – even for guns lawfully purchased with braces pre-installed by the manufacturer – owners of such newly-defined SBRs would have to either turn the braced pistol over to Uncle Sam, permanently remove or alter the brace so that it cannot be reattached, remove the short barrel from the firearm and install one at least 16-inches in length, destroy the firearm, or submit a Form 1 and $200 to convert it to a legal, registered SBR.
“This is plain wrong," continued the senators. "The proposed rule is worse than merely abdicating your responsibility to protect Americans from criminals; you’re threatening to turn law-abiding Americans into criminals by imposing the largest executive branch-initiated gun registration and confiscation program in American history. We urge you to turn back. Correct this mistake and withdraw the proposed rule."