Pistol arm stabilizing brace
(Travis Pike For TTAG)
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In the wake of a 2021 shooting in Boulder, Colorado, BATFE decided that it was time to reassess their view of gun regulation. Instead of further investigating what motivated Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa (whom the FBI already knew of due to links to another investigation) to shoot up a grocery store, Biden decided that the agency should prioritize further regulation of the firearm that was used in the crime.

Since that time, Al-Issa has been found incompetent to stand trial, and the story has found its way into the memory hole.

But, gun control advocates took full advantage of the shooting. Colorado’s Californicated legislature, of course, passed any gun control measure they could dream up. At the federal level, there weren’t enough votes to pass anything in Congress, so the Biden Administration looked for ways to sidestep the legislative process with federal rulemaking.

The shooter’s gun of choice gave them a unique opportunity. It was a Ruger AR-556 pistol equipped with a stabilizing brace. Adding a standard stock designed to shoulder the weapon would have made it a short barreled rifle (SBR) under federal law, which would subject it to much more stringent NFA regulation and taxation. But, because pistol braces had correctly been deemed legal accessories, they were easy to buy and popular.

As usual, the gun control industry identified this as a dangerous loophole. The Biden Administration’s BATFE then created complicated new regulations that cause use of most if not all arm braces to be classified as SBRs. That, of course, was illegal, because the definition of an SBR in federal law is one that is designed to be shouldered, and not one that merely can be shouldered.

Many lawsuits followed and in all of them, injunctions blocking enforcement of the BATFE ban against the named plaintiffs were issued, including the members of the gun rights orgs that were parties to the lawsuits.

But another case, Britto v. ATF, which challenges the BATFE rule under the Administrative Procedures Act, has expanded those protected from enforcement. Instead of issuing a temporary hold on enforcement against just those who sued, yesterday US District Judge Matthew Kaczmaryk put enforcement of the rule on ice nationwide.

That means that everyone, whether they’re members of a plaintiff organization or not, is now free to own and use a pistol brace without concern for government thugs enforcing an unconstitutional ban under color of law.

As Judge Kaczmaryk wrote . . .

As explained in Garland, “[t]he controlling law of this case is that the Government Defendants’ promulgation of the Final Rufle ‘fails fails the logical-outgrowth test and violates the APA’ and ‘therefore must be set aside as unlawful’ under the APA. … It follows, then, that there is no injury that the Government Defendants or public-at-large could possibly suffer from if enforcement of the Final Rule were enjoined.” … Additionally, ATF admits the 10-year cost of the Rule is over one billion dollars. … And because of the Rule, certain manufacturers that obtain most of their sales from the stabilizing braces risk having to close their doors for good. 

You can read his order here.

The judge found the plaintiff’s case likely to prevail on the merits, so the rule is probably not coming back unless BATFE can somehow convince the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to start ruling like the Ninth Circuit…in other words, there’s about a snowball’s chance in hell.

While expressing sympathy for the BATFE’s stated goal of reducing mass shootings and protecting the public, the judge let them know where the limits of their authority lie. He concluded with this zinger . . .

…public safety concerns must be addressed in ways that are lawful. This Rule is not.

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    • “braced pistol would be nice.”

      They will most likely appeal…

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        • It pays that much to sit in your parents’ basement spamming comment threads on websites?

          Get a real life, parasite.

        • Serpent_Vision:

          Take it easy on Crooked Joe he has to spam for scratch now that his, Crackhead Hunter, & Jimmy The Chin’s “get rich quick” schemes have been exposed money ain’t rollin’ in like it used to

    • RE: “That means that everyone, whether they’re members of a plaintiff organization or not, is now free to own and use a pistol brace without concern for government thugs enforcing an unconstitutional ban under color of law.”

      Instead of gun rights orgs. demanding Nationwide Protection for all the retreat drumbeat was run join this and that so called gun rights org. and get membership protection…I thought come hell and high water the Second Amendment was a all for one and one for all Constitutional Right that was never for sale, trade or rent…Apparently it’s not.

      • I don’t get your response Debbie W.

        When gun owners of America sued, they sued for all citizens of the United States.

        The federal judge issued an injunction that only covered the members of the organization.

        But when they finally prevailed, it would apply to everyone the United States not just their members.

        It was certainly a good work around that anyone in the US could join their organization and be covered under the injunction.
        While they waited to win the case on the merits in court.

        So I don’t see the basis for your comment/complaint

        • She is incapable of rational argument. As a famous British scientist once said of Soviet psueudoscientist Tromfin Lysenko, trying to have a rational discussion with her is like trying to discuss differential calculus with someone who can’t do her twelve-times table.

          All she can do is recite her same set of talking points.

      • You’re a fool, the GOA injunction was in effect nationwide in it’s scope because the ATF has no way of knowing who is and is not a member of GOA. Meaning they risk violating the court order with any potential enforcement action, this isn’t complicated.

    • Always great news when that pesky Constitution stops an abusive federal agency! Now we shouldn’t stop here and keep pressing a de-regulation of SBR law.

      • AND, National carry reciprocity should be on our radar. After all, the Constitution applies to the entire Union not just some States.

        • “AND, National carry reciprocity should be on our radar.”

          National carry would only be simple, voidable legislation. 2A is an amendment to the Constitution. If 2A cannot enforce the right of the people to keep and bear arms, what is the point of simple legislation designed to enforce 2A?

  1. The SBR/SBS rules just need to go away. They were there to plug a loophole in a handgun ban that didn’t make it into the final law. There’s literally no reason for them to exist.

    • No reason? Only the most important reason!!! To give government more power to selectively jam people up and to profit off of an imaginary bureaucratic fee.

      Power and money. There are no greater reasons for anything government (and the handful of -illionaire authoritarians who participate in it) does.

    • Then ditch the permission slip to buy a suppressor. Then ditch the AFT. We don’t need them. Any necessary experts can be absorbed by another federal LE agency.

      • “Any necessary experts can be absorbed by another federal LE agency”

        so we get rid of the ATF as a agency, and they just continue the same thing under the banner of another federal agency.

      • Name a fed “police” agency that has not demonstrated they a corrupt on despicable in recent year.

        • True. But we have to have the Secret Service, Border Patrol, and the Capitol Police. I assume we also need one federal police agency, like the US Marshals. The FBI is another one that is too far gone to save. No other federal agency should be arming themselves.

        • @Dude

          Border Patrol maybe. If they were actually effective.
          Secret Service, no. What do I care if some politician gets killed?
          Capitol Police? Oh noes, who will protect the geriatric suits when they show up for ‘work’ six times a year.

          I could say the only good politician is a dead politician but even the dead ones wield manipulative power over the lives of the living.

        • Name any law enforcement agency that has not displayed corruption in recent years.


          We are living in a Bannana Republic rule of law means nothing to Governement unless they are using it to their advantage.

    • It sure sounds like it. Does this mean businesses will begin selling pistols with braces again, or does something else have to happen first?

    • That’s swell. Now overturn ILL annoy BS. At least you can shoot yer “pistol” braceless if you’re a bit tacticool🙄

    • “Does it mean I can go now to a shooting range with my Scorpion with attached SB without fear?”

      that’s what it means, unless the people at your range are a bunch of left wing snitches who know the ATF will show up anyway even though they can’t legally because they have a habit of doing that to hold people at gun point while they illegally seize property.

      • “Defendants’ promulgation of the Final Rufle ‘fails fails“

        So no more final ruffles on judicial robes?

        You’d think a federal judge would have a law clerk who could correct his bad spelling.

      • It’s doubtful the BATF will go after you for a brace. Even before the injunction. The Feds typically only prosecute cases they will win. In this case it’s very unlikely.

    • Unwise at this point, IMO. Wait and see.

      While the Fifth Circuit isn’t likely to stay the injunction pending appeal (Mock v. Garland is binding circuit precedent, so no way to prove likelihood of success on the merits), I expect DOJ will file emergency motions with SCOTUS seeking a stay pending appeal.

      Normally, I wouldn’t give such motions a prayer of a chance . . . but apparently due to ACB going a bit wobbly they granted one in VanDerStok (“frame or receiver” case, also involves ATF rulemaking). So I’m not entirely sanguine that SCOTUS isn’t going to do the same in this case.

  2. Curious to see what happens to those people with conditional Form 1s. A boom in engraving removal like the boom in tattoo removal?

    • Very interesting question, since presumably most filers would have taken advantage of the opportunity to have a real SBR.

      • That would be me; I’m one of those that didn’t want to inform the Fed Boiz about ones I already had, so I went out and got a .300 shorty just to take advantage of the “free” SBR ticket. Every time these goofballs do something to threaten people’s 2A rights, firearm sales go through the roof. Not exactly real conducive to their stated goal of “taking weapons off the streets”, but they never learn. List all of those SBR’s y’all no longer want on armslist at a fire sale discount, I’ll be glad to take them off your hands.

        • My question is, what does registration being contingent on the brace ban mean? Does this case make the Form 1 (and legality of your SBR) go away?

  3. This injunction should have happened as an emergency order, before millions of people became criminals overnight.

    The courts can be great if they do finally come around and vindicate you, but it is too slow to truly protect people and businesses from being affected by unconstitutional rules.

    Injunctions can expire, be overturned, or stayed, so you can end up with random freedom weeks before things clamp back down, or like Illinois where suddenly you can buy MSRs, then you can’t and the government says they will take those back…

    There is still too much back and forth, some states with crazy restrictions and others without, some judges overturning bans and others saying “yep, according to Heller and Bruen assault weapons aren’t protected!” The people are left in the middle, either prohibited from acquiring guns they may want, or worse, left in legal jeopardy.

    • gee whiz… if only we had a government for the people by the people with limitations on it and the people had rights written down in a document and spelled out in the only specific order in the whole document like, oh I don’t know, maybe “shall not be infringed.”

    • Yes, it’s way too complicated, and the Bruen decision just made everything even more complicated.
      Instead of deciding the Bruen case the way they did (“historical gun laws”), the Supreme Court should have simply declared, “All gun control laws are unconstitutional infringements because the 2nd Amendment says ‘shall not be infringed,’ period!”
      But then someone would bring up the old straw man argument, “Does that mean citizens can own nuclear weapons or Stinger antiaircraft missiles?”
      To avoid that, the Supreme Court should define “arms” protected by the 2nd Amendment, e.g., all man-portable weapons other than bombs, hand grenades, guided missiles, or poison gas. It would be better if they list what’s not protected than try to list what’s protected, so if someone someday invents lightsabers (“an elegant weapon from a more civilized age, not as clumsy or random as a blaster”), then lightsabers can qualify as “arms”

  4. The judge is correct, this rule was never lawful. That said, the whole issue would be a non-issue if it were not for the stupid and arbitrary definition of an SBR in the NFA. Any logical analysis of the definitions of rifle, pistol, SBR and, for that matter, stock, brace, and grip reveals that the definitions embedded in the NFA are senseless and do nothing but provide the federal government with means to trip people up and accuse them of crimes for non-crimes. (I could go on a rant about the very concept of “possession” crimes in general but will save that for another time.)

    While I, personally, think the NFA should be eliminated in its entirety, that is not likely to happen. It should be obvious, however, that everything in the NFA with the exception of the clear(ish) definition of a machine gun is fundamentally flawed. The arbitrary distinctions surrounding barrel length and firearm type, further muddled by decades of “interpretation” by the ATF and others have resulted in a system no more logical than a rule that states that 2-door cars can have no more than six cylinder engines and four door cars must have at least eight. Unless they are pickup trucks and then the rules are different and every few years someone changes their mind about those little half doors on extended cab pickups and then they argue about whether or not a pickup is a car at all and then someone builds a Tesla, how many “cylinders” is that?

    I have never yet found anyone who can give me an objective, reasoned justification for stating that a rifle with a 15.5″ barrel is somehow fundamentally different than a rifle with a 16″ barrel and, therefore, deserving of special regulations.

    • “…and then the rules are different…”

      “¡Ay Chihuahua, cuantos Apaches, cuantos Indios sin huaraches!”

      Following the law is giving me a headache…

  5. “…the Biden Administration looked for ways to sidestep the legislative process with federal rulemaking.”
    “The Biden Administration’s BATFE then created complicated new regulations….”

    Sounds convincing if you ignore that BATF’s original proposal to redefine braced pistols came out when Trump was president.

    • Yes acting ATF director Regina Lombardo was pushing it at the tail end of Trump’s presidency. He never seemed to say publicly if he was for or against it, but ATF, possibly DOJ had it on their Christmas lists.

      Even if we got a super pro 2A president, the ATF and other government agencies and workers are predominantly anti-gun rights as a culture, especially political leadership. We see that even in Republican leadership, national and many states, certainly in Florida. Four years of Trump didn’t turn the ATF as an organization into a pro gun agency, they still had their agenda, and were only too happy to assist with the bump stock ban, so it isn’t any surprise they were also doing the work to get the pistol brace ban going. They only paused their efforts when gun rights orgs and some representatives called them out on it, but they definitely didn’t reverse opinion on it

  6. Cue the next FEEB-sponsored spree shooter with an AR15 pistol brace in 3…2…1…

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