On January 13, a new ruling from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) caused an uproar among gun owners. The ruling reclassified pistols or handguns equipped with “stabilizing braces” as short-barreled rifles. This decision, which took effect on January 31, has serious implications for millions of gun owners.
The use of “stabilizing braces” is common among elderly and disabled individuals who rely on them to handle pistols or handguns with greater stability. However, these braces are now raising legal concerns. Being labeled as a felon due to owning a firearm with a stabilizing brace can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment.
To avoid this designation, gun owners have a few options according to the ATF. They can remove the stabilizing brace from their firearm, surrender the weapon to an ATF office, or destroy it completely. Additionally, any firearms with stabilizing braces that are reclassified as short-barreled rifles must be registered before the May 31 deadline.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and 26 other state attorneys general are not accepting this ruling without a fight. They argue that it unjustly targets law-abiding gun owners and extends into gun categories that should not be considered illegal. Morrisey intends to challenge the ruling in the hopes of overturning it.
Morrisey and his colleagues are seeking support from members of Congress to overturn the ruling. They believe that the Biden administration is making firearm ownership more difficult for law-abiding citizens by creating ambiguity around what actions are acceptable. Morrisey argues that this move is effectively discouraging firearm ownership by increasing costs.
West Virginia and 26 other states have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s decision, aiming to reverse the controversial ruling. Although the opportunity for a congressional resolution of disapproval has passed, the fight is not over. Morrisey emphasizes the importance of protecting the rights of law-abiding firearm owners and the potential implications of this lawsuit on gun ownership laws and regulations.
This ongoing battle holds significant consequences for gun owners and warrants close attention.