Federal Court Rules on Biden’s Pistol Brace Crackdown: ‘Huge Win for Peaceable Gun Owners’

A federal appeals court ruled this week that a Biden administration regulation cracking down on stabilizing braces for firearms is likely illegal and sent the case back to a judge for review.

Stabilizing braces, also known as pistol braces, “[provide] surface area that allows the weapon to be fired from the shoulder,” according to the website of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In January, the agency targeted guns equipped with the braces, reclassifying such firearms as rifles and thus imposing harsher restrictions on their ownership.

Americans who own pistol braces were given several options: register their weapon, modify or destroy the weapon, permanently remove and dispose of the brace, hand the firearm over to the ATF, or become criminals.

The ATF’s decision was challenged by a gun rights group, and on Tuesday the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of gun owners, Reuters reported.

The court ruled 2-1 that the ATF targeted stabilizing braces without giving the public the chance to weigh in on the regulation.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, agencies are required to provide public notice of proposed decisions and allow people with an interest in those decisions to offer feedback.

Judge Jerry Smith noted that the ATF did provide a public comment period on the proposed rule in 2021, but that the final regulation was so different from the proposal that it amounted to “a rug-pull on the public.”

Judge Don Willett agreed and added that the rule might violate Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Judge Stephen Higginson, who dissented, argued that the regulation did not need public comment because it “merely interpreted a law passed by Congress,” Reuters reported.

The legal challenge was filed by a gun rights group called the Firearms Policy Coalition. Cody Wisniewski, the group’s attorney, praised the ruling as “a huge win for peaceable gun owners across the nation.”

Neither the ATF nor the Department of Justice commented on the court’s decision, according to Reuters.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the panel extended a temporary block of the restrictions on pistol braces and sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who refused to block the regulation in March.

O’Connor will decide whether the rule can be enforced while the case moves forward.

Higginson, the dissenting judge in Tuesday’s decision, was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama. Smith and Willett were appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, respectively.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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