February 24, 2023

Cassidy, Lankford Work to Stop ATF from Eroding American’s Second Amendment Rights

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Mike Crapo (R-ID) are standing up for Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use pistol braces without burdensome regulation, registration, and taxation with the reintroduction of the Pistol Brace Protection Act. The bill stops the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rule by exempting pistol braces from regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA). It eliminates subjective standards that exist in federal law that have allowed ATF to reclassify firearms under the NFA, and guarantees that law-abiding gun owners will not have to register, destroy, or surrender their pistol brace. 

“Americans have the constitutional right to bear arms. Law-abiding gun owners should not be turned into criminals overnight for exercising their God-given right,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our bill preserves Louisianans’ Second Amendment rights.”  

“The Biden Administration continues to reach far into every aspect of American’s lives,” said Senator Lankford.“ATF consistently finds new ways to manipulate the NFA so it’s difficult and burdensome to be a law-abiding gun owner. Law-abiding gun owners are counting on us to proactively protect their rights and their use of pistol braces. The Biden Administration is trying to quietly erode Second Amendment rights by making guns, ammunition, and gun-related products like pistol braces difficult to own. Congress should pass my bill immediately to make clear to the ATF that we won’t stand for this overreach.”

“Pistol braces are a common gun accessories that law-abiding gunowners use to stabilize their firearms,” said Senator Risch. “It is simply a piece of plastic, and by no stretch of the imagination does it warrant the Biden administration’s efforts to illegally create and expand the ATF’s federal gun registry. The Pistol Brace Protection Act would protect Idahoans’ Second Amendment and prevent the ATF from reclassifying pistol braces.”   

“As the Biden Administration continues to seek creative methods of advancing its anti-gun agenda, Congress must be resolute and oppose all efforts to undermine Second Amendment rights,” said Senator Crapo. “This latest action taken by the ATF to confiscate and criminalize pistol braces constitutes the largest executive branch-imposed gun registration and confiscation scheme in American history. Burdening law-abiding Americans with additional firearms restrictions is not the answer to safeguarding the public.”  

Pistol braces were originally created to help disabled veterans. In June 2021, ATF issued a proposed rule that stated most pistol braces, when attached to a pistol, turn the pistol into a short-barreled rifle. Short-barreled rifles are regulated by the NFA and require taxation and registration. The final rule was published on January 31, 2023. Law-abiding gun owners have until May 31, 2023 to comply with this burdensome regulation.

For years, ATF has assured gun owners that pistol braces are not NFA items and not subject to the taxation and registration scheme. Given this green light from ATF, millions of Americans have purchased and used pistol braces lawfully. This rule makes it so that millions of law-abiding gun owners have to either pay a tax and register their pistol brace or surrender it to ATF. This is a significant shift in policy and Congress should not allow ATF to get away with confiscating or registering devices that have long been considered exempt from NFA regulation.

This bill is endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).