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Morrisey, Other State AGs Set To File Lawsuit Relating To Pistol Brace Regulation

A gun on a table with bullets next to it.iStockphoto

Patrick Morrisey is one of more than 20 attorneys general set to file a lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). They look to overturn a January rule regulating stabilizing braces and similar accessories for pistols.

Stabilizing braces attach to ends of pistols, using velcro to attach around the forearm.

The ATF argues these accessories would effectively transform pistols into short-barreled rifles, which are regulated more strictly than handguns through extra taxation, registration and background checks. 

The agency said pistols modified with braces should be treated the same way, saying short-barreled rifles have the power of longer guns but are easier to conceal.

“This rule enhances public safety and prevents people from circumventing the laws Congress passed almost a century ago,” ATF Director Steven Dettelbach said in a Jan. 13 statement announcing the rule, called Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces. “In the days of Al Capone, Congress said back then that short-barreled rifles and sawed-off shotguns should be subjected to greater legal requirements than most other guns.”

Morrisey decried the rule as federal overreach during a live streamed conference Thursday afternoon, calling it a “completely nonsensical regulation.” He also argued these braces are meant to increase accuracy and prevent recoil, touting those who would otherwise have more trouble carrying firearms as examples.

“We should not be making it harder for senior citizens and people with disabilities — and many disabled veterans — to defend themselves,” Morrisey said.

The rule went into effect Jan. 31 when it was published in the Federal Register. The lawsuit challenging it is set to be filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota Western Division.