LOOTPRESS- WASHINGTON, DC- The Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives issued a notice today that stated the agency was withdrawing a notice entitled “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces.” The original notice, filed on December 18, 2020 in the Federal Register, was a proposed rule which many analysts described as a direct assault on the growing sector of “stabilizing braces” that can be installed on certain firearms and pistols to assist the user with added accuracy.
The original notice would have classified many, if not most, stabilizing braces under the National Firearms Act, meaning a federal tax stamp and registration would be necessary if an individual wished to continue owning the stabilizing brace. The measure was controversial as the industry had produced stabilizing braces for many years, with consumers purchasing and utilizing them without fear of government intervention. The ATF’s notice of December 18, 2020 called into question the ongoing viability of the entire sector.
The original notice, entitled 85 FR 82516, which can be found on the Federal Register, was filed after a DOJ review of the rules surrounding Stabilizing Braces. In the announcement the ATF stressed that the notice was to ascertain public comments on the topic before the agency proposed final guidance through the promulgation of a new rule.
A strong backlash from the National Rifle Association and other Civil Rights Advocacy groups followed the ATF’s December 18, 2020 announcement. Many sporting publications discussed the legitimacy of the industry and cited a failure on the part of the agency to demonstrate any statistics that supported a tightening of regulations on stabilizing braces.
For now, the ATF has withdrawn the guidance, but states in the message that the DOJ and ATF will further review the matter. The guidance document, 85 FR 86948, can be viewed at www.federalregister.gov.