ATF Withdraws Planned Guidance on Pistol-Stabilizing Brace

by Clayton Edwards

In some ways, 2020 ended on a high note. Hunting is at a 30-year high, deer harvests are through the roof, country music is starting to sound like country music again, and the ATF decided to back off a little bit. On December 23rd the NRA tweeted that the ATF withdrew its guidance on pistol-stabilizing braces. It’s a small win, but a step in the right direction.

Many gun owners are concerned that gun regulations are going to get tougher in the coming years. So, this decision to withdraw guidance on pistol-stabilizing braces seems like a good omen. A small, symbolic victory is still a victory at the end of the day. Gun owners and enthusiasts have to take wins where they come in recent years.

What Does the Withdrawal of Guidance on Pistol-Stabilizing Braces Mean?

In the grand scheme of things, this could be an important step away from regulating pistol braces. It could, however, just be a momentary pause. Immediately, though, it means that nothing is changing. In this case, no change is better than stricter regulation.

In the document published by the ATF, it says that the guidance was withdrawn after consultation with the DOJ and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. The document also notes that the guidance was not a new regulation, so the withdrawal didn’t change anything. According to a Fox News report, the ATF also consulted with over eighty members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

While the guidance on pistol-stabilizing braces was not a new regulation, many believed that it was the first step in banning or, at the very least, regulating and taxing the braces. The ATF complained that some braces are touted as a way to turn a pistol into a short-barreled rifle. These firearms are subject to taxation and registration.

It is important to note that nothing is standing in the way of the ATF reinstating the guidance and moving forward with regulation. So, this is a small, symbolic, and possibly short-lived victory. It is, however, a victory all the same. This year, we’re going to be cautiously optimistic.

Reactions to the Announcement

Twitter is a fickle mistress on the best of days. To post anything on Twitter is to invite commentary and criticism from all corners of the Twitterverse. This is especially true when posting something that could be considered partisan or socially charged like Second Amendment rights.

The NRA tweeted about the withdrawal of guidance on pistol braces and the Twitterverse reacted in about the way you would expect.

If you scroll through the thread long enough, you’ll find some genuinely happy gun owners. Like this one below:

Before you get to that, though, there is plenty of criticism for both the ATF and NRA from both ends of the political spectrum. Hot takes and roasts are two things you can always count on Twitter to deliver.

All we can do, at this point, is hope that this small step forward signals a move away from regulating pistol braces and other accessories.