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NRA Files Papers in Legal Challenge to ATF “Pistol Brace Rule,” Defends Members Against ‘Arbitrary Attack’

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

NRA Files Papers in Legal Challenge to ATF “Pistol Brace Rule,” Defends Members Against ‘Arbitrary Attack’

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”).

The filings are the latest steps taken by the NRA to challenge the new rule – which subjects law-abiding gun owners to penalties, fines, and potential prison sentences for the use of a legal plastic apparatus on some firearms.

Previously, the NRA obtained clarification of multiple aspects of ATF’s proposed rule, including 1) that braces removed from firearms do not necessarily have to be destroyed or altered in a way that prevents them from being reattached to a firearm; and 2) that imported pistols with stabilizing braces do not necessarily need to be destroyed or surrendered.

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.

“The NRA has consistently opposed this arbitrary attack on law-abiding gun owners on multiple fronts,” says NRA Executive Vice President & CEO Wayne LaPierre. “The NRA is a leader in the largest and most aggressive legal challenge to this action, and now aims to intervene in the Texas lawsuit. We are pursuing relief to protect our members – and bring a halt to this attack on their freedom.”

NRA President Charles Cotton says, “President Biden and his rogue regulators are on notice: the NRA will continue to defend its members and their constitutional freedoms – fighting this rule and the anti-Second Amendment agenda in every forum available.”

The NRA represents millions of members across the nation in preserving the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, including hundreds of thousands of members in Texas. The NRA has approximately 350,000 members in Texas – the #1 state for NRA members. 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.”

In addition to this latest effort, NRA is backing and supporting a lawsuit challenging ATF’s unlawful rule. The lawsuit filed February 9th is captioned Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition, Inc., v. Merrick Garland and was filed in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. Plaintiffs include: SB Tactical, B&T USA, Wounded Warrior Richard Cicero, and a coalition of 25 states led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley.

FILINGS: Click for Complaint and Click for Brief

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.