Leading up to the June 1st deadline to either register pistol brace-equipped guns as short-barrelled rifles or destroy the braces, both the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition won injunctions protecting their members from the new regulation.
It was a big win for both organizations, though a bigger win would have allowed everyone to lawfully keep their pistol braces.
Now, the NRA is filing a challenge as well.
From a press release:
The National Rifle Association of America (“NRA”) today announced it is intervening in a pending case to protect its members from the “pistol brace rule” promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”).
The NRA seeks to intervene in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, to obtain injunctive relief stopping the ATF from enforcing its unconstitutional rule – which reverses its long-standing position that pistol braces do not transform pistols into rifles subject to onerous registration and taxation requirements under the National Firearms Act. Defendants include, among others, the ATF, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Steven M. Dettelbach, in his official capacity as director of ATF (“Defendants”).
Now, the NRA is going to court to obtain preliminary, and ultimately permanent, injunctive relief restraining Defendants from enforcing the “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces’” (the “Final Rule”) against law-abiding NRA members. First announced in January 2023, the Final Rule was set to go into effect June 1, 2023. Gun rights groups and the State of Texas are among those who have been granted preliminary injunctive relief from the Final Rule – and now the NRA seeks recognition of the irreparable harm its members also face from the draconian measure.
As explained in the NRA’s Complaint in Intervention, many of its members are being irreparably harmed by the Final Rule, because they are forced to modify their firearms, destroy them, register them, or surrender them to the federal government under threat of criminal prosecution. Pistol stabilizing braces allow users to strap their gun to their forearm or place them on their shoulders for more stability. Millions of these devices are used by gun owners across the nation—particularly disabled veterans who need braces to safely use a pistol.
In late May, the court entered orders enjoining Defendants from enforcing the Final Rule against another gun-rights group and its members. However, the scope of the injunctive relief granted applies only to plaintiffs.
“The courts have already recognized other gun-promotion groups should be afforded protection from this rule,” Cotton says. “The NRA now seeks to intervene – to extend the protections to the Association. The NRA is the leading provider of gun-safety and marksmanship education in the nation, so there is compelling need for the relief being sought for its members.”
Unfortunately, the rule is already in place, which means any NRA members still equipping their AR-style pistols with pistol braces are doing so illegally.
However, from what I’ve seen regarding compliance, a ton of folks fall into that category and while it would be irresponsible of me to applaud that defiance, I’ve been known to be a tad irresponsible from time to time.
It amuses me.
As for the NRA, it looks like they’re basically just trying to get the protection for their members that SAF and FPC gets. The difference is that the NRA is still the 800-pound gorilla in the gun rights movement. If NRA members become covered by one of the same injuctions, it will exempt millions more Americans from the ATF’s blatantly unconstitutional rule.
Now, if you’re wondering where the NRA has been–after all, SAF and FPC got an injunction and the NRA hasn’t, which some would take to mean they’ve done nothing–it should be noted that they filed a case of their own in the District of North Dakota.
That case just hasn’t had quite the same pathway the FPC and SAF cases have with regard to the injunction.
So, the NRA is trying something different to protect its members who own pistol braces. Credit to them for doing what they can.