A decision is scheduled to be made in January by the ATF regarding the regulation of pistol braces.

The Department of Justice recently declared in a court filing that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) intends to issue the Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” as a final regulation in January 2023. This regulation was initially presented by the agency in June 2021 and is the most recent in a history of ATF guidance, rulings, and regulations with respect to firearms with attached stabilizing braces.

If adopted, the regulation would likely make most firearms with connected braces subject to the rules of the National Firearms Act (NFA). In addition, these regulations would bring about increased taxation, extended waiting times, and registration.

Since 2012, the ATF has maintained that having a stabilizing brace on a pistol or other firearm does not render the weapon subject to the National Firearms Act, as this type of brace was initially developed to help disabled veterans fire large-format pistols. This purpose was first noted by then-Vice President Joe Biden during his term alongside President Obama. The origin of stabilizing braces as a tool to aid disabled veterans has been documented by SB Tactical.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has consistently resisted the government’s efforts to classify firearms with braces under the National Firearms Act. However, when the latest regulation was suggested, the NRA provided remarks, which can be accessed here.

On December 20, 2022, NRA-ILA representatives met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to review the final rule that the ATF had proposed. OIRA’s review is often the last step a government agency needs to take before publishing a final rule. During the gathering, NRA-ILA staff raised the many worries that gun owners had about the rule.

Despite the various issues raised, the ATF has expressed its intentions to push through the last regulation. While a definitive date has yet to be announced for the release in January, the agency has a history of releasing its decisions close to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT). This year’s SHOT Show is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 17.