President Joe Biden’s U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has just announced a new rule targeting firearm stabilizing braces.
The Washington Examiner reports, “stabilizing braces are accessories that can extend the length of a gun and can include straps in order to bolster the accuracy of a firearm.”
In other words, a stabilizing brace is an accessory that can make a pistol have similar characteristics to a short-barreled rifle.
Accordingly, the Biden administration, through its new rule, looks to ensure that a firearm with a stabilizing brace is treated, under the law, as a short-barreled rifle.
The DOJ announced the Biden administration’s new rule in a press release that was published on Friday. The announcement reads:
Today, the Department of Justice announced it has submitted to the Federal Register the “Stabilizing Braces” Final Rule, which makes clear that when manufacturers, dealers, and individuals use stabilizing braces to convert pistols into rifles with a barrel of less than 16 inches, commonly referred to as a short-barreled rifles, they must comply with the laws that regulate those rifles, including the National Firearms Act (NFA).
According to the DOJ, such firearms “must comply with the same heightened requirements that apply to short-barreled rifles under the NFA.”
The agency writes, “beyond background checks and serial numbers, those heightened requirements include taxation and registration requirements that include background checks for all transfers including private transfers.”
The DOJ’s new rule, in particular, “allows for a 120-day period for manufacturers, dealers, and individuals to register tax-free any existing NFA short-barreled rifles covered by the rule.”
The DOJ listed other options for compliance with the new rule, which include “removing the stabilizing brace to return the firearm to a pistol or surrendering covered short-barreled rifles to ATF.”
According to the DOJ’s press release, this new rule stems from an April 2021 event about gun violence prevention. This event followed the mass shootings that took place in Boulder, Colorado, and Dayton, Ohio. Both gunmen used stabilizing braces.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, at the event – which Biden also attended – asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to evaluate the use of stabilizing braces. And, apparently, the result of that evaluation is the new rule.
“Keeping our communities safe from gun violence is among the Department’s highest priorities,” the DOJ press release quotes Garland as saying about the new rule.
Almost a century ago, Congress determined that short-barreled rifles must be subject to heightened requirements. Today’s rule makes clear that firearm manufacturers, dealers, and individuals cannot evade these important public safety protections simply by adding accessories to pistols that transform them into short-barreled rifles.
The new rule will go into effect when it is published in the Federal Register, according to the DOJ.