April 29, 2022 – Representative James Kanford (R. Okla.), recently introduced S.4069, the Pistol Brace Protection Act (“PBPA”).  If enacted, the PBPA would amend the National Firearms Act (“NFA”) to provide that pistols with stabilizing braces are not considered to be short-barreled rifles (“SBRs”).  Over the years, the ATF has issued numerous classification letters confirming that pistols with stabilizing braces which allow them to be fired using a single hand are not SBRs and are therefore not “firearms” subject to regulation pursuant to the NFA, including registration, advance permission to transfer, and payment of a $200 tax.   Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of such firearms have subsequently been manufactured and are currently lawfully possessed by consumers.

The PBPA was issued in response to a proposed rule titled “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with an Attached Stabilizing Brace” that the ATF had filed in the Federal Register on January 31, 2022.  If adopted, the proposed rule would reclassify numerous pistols with stabilizing braces as SBRs, by changing the existing definition of a “rifle” to include provisions stating that the term “rifle includes any weapon with a rifled barrel and equipped with an attached stabilizing brace that has objective design features and characteristics that indicate that the firearm is designed to be fired from the shoulder, as indicated on ATF Worksheet 4999.” 

The PBPA would prevent the ATF from reclassifying pistols with stabilizing braces by amending the NFA to state that the “term ‘rifle’ shall not include any pistol that is equipped with a device that is designed, manufactured, and intended to allow the operation of a pistol with a single hand through the use of a brace that – (I) is attachable or provides support to the user’s arm; and (II) the user intends to fire with a single hand.”   The bill also proposes identical language for shotguns.

The ATF is expected to publish the final version of the Factoring Criteria for Firearms with an Attached Stabilizing Brace rule by August.  As previously reported, the ATF released the Final Rule titled “Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms” on April 10, 2022.  It was published in the Federal Register on April 26, 2022, and is scheduled to go into effect on August 24, 2022.

Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor the PBPA and the status of the proposed rule regarding Factoring Criteria for Firearms with an Attached Stabilizing Brace.  If you have any questions concerning the new ATF regulations, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.