Attorney General Alan Wilson joins coalition in lawsuit against US AG Garland, ATF on pistol brace rule

February 12, 2023

Attorney General Alan Wilson joined a coalition of 24 states in filing a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and its director that seeks to enjoin a recently issued final rule governing “Stabilizing Braces,” commonly known as pistol braces.

The rule, called Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces, indicated that when manufacturers, dealers, and individuals pair stabilizing braces with 99% of pistols, they must comply with the laws that regulate those rifles, including the National Firearms Act (NFA).

That means those who use a stabilizing brace would have to apply for a permit with the ATF within four months, pay a tax and face restrictions on future transfer of the brace.

“This is yet another example of Biden overreach,” Attorney General Wilson said. “Citizens’ rights to bear arms must be protected and the abuse of power halted.”

Stabilizing braces were designed to help people with disabilities use pistols. Since then, many others, including older persons, people with limited mobility and those with smaller stature have come to use the braces. For more than a decade, these braces have been sold as firearms attachments not subject to regulation.

The rule, however, affects almost all pistol and handgun owners—many lawful gun owners use stabilizers to prevent some recoil when using firearms and to help with accuracy.

The lawsuit is asking the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota Western Division to declare unlawful and set aside the rule, among other things.

“In sum, ATF’s factors are little more than window dressing for the agency to reach whatever outcome it wants, regardless of the facts,” according to the lawsuit.

Attorney General Wilson is joined by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who led the lawsuit, along with the attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia. and Wyoming.

The other plaintiffs are Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition Inc. (an advocacy group), SB Tactical (a brace manufacturer), B&T USA (a firearms importer and manufacturer), and Richard Cicero, a retired police firearms instructor and a wounded warrior who uses stabilizing braces.

You can read the lawsuit here.