WASHINGTON – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements applauding the Department of Justice’s finalization of a rule to ensure firearms equipped with stabilizing arm braces that currently circumvent the law on dangerous short-barreled rifles are subject to the National Firearms Act.
“Arm braces — which allow people to better control large pistols with just one hand — started as a tool for disabled shooters, but were quickly exploited by the gun industry as a way to get around restrictions on short-barreled rifles, which are some of the most lethal and highly regulated guns on the market,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for properly classifying highly lethal weapons according to the law, which is the very definition of a common-sense gun regulation.”
“The gun industry has sought to exploit the arm brace loophole to make firearms more deadly and unfortunately we saw the tragic results in a mass shooting at a Colorado grocery store last year,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Thankfully, the Biden-Harris Administration understands that preventing gun violence requires action and we’re grateful for its continued leadership in finalizing this rule and helping save lives.”
This new rule, proposed in June 2021 by President Biden and announced as part of a suite of executive actions on gun safety, would decrease the circumvention of rules regulating the sale of short-barreled rifles. As the Department of Justice’s press release noted when the rule was announced, “the National Firearms Act imposes heightened regulations on short-barreled rifles because they are easily concealable, can cause great damage, and are more likely to be used to commit crimes.” The gun industry has circumvented the law through selling weapons with arm brace accessories that make it easy for people to possess short-barreled rifles while avoiding the requirements of the law.
The rule takes aim at, in effect, what was designed as a niche accessory to assist disabled shooters has become a loophole for gun companies to sell short-barreled rifles. The “arm brace loophole” – an industry-driven effort to take an advancement for disabled shooters, the creation of a stabilizing brace to allow disabled shooters to better control their weapons, and exploit it to mass produce, market and sell short-barreled rifles to the non-disabled (without the added background checks or other requirements of the National Firearms Act). An AR pistol with a stabilizing brace was used in the mass shooting in a Boulder grocery store in 2021 where ten people were shot and killed, as well as the mass shooting in Dayton in 2019 where nine people were shot and killed. The proposed rule noted that manufacturers of stabilizing braces indicate they “have sold between 3 million and 7 million” braces between 2013 and 2020. The rule clarifies that statutory restrictions on short-barreled rifles apply to weapons with certain stabilizing braces that are intended to be fired from the shoulder.
This continues to be the strongest gun safety administration in history, as evidenced by President Biden’s signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, confirmation of an ATF director for the first time in seven years, historic executive actions to address gun violence, his long record of taking on the NRA and passing life-saving laws, Vice President Kamala Harris’ years of gun safety advocacy, and the unmatched gun sense cabinet they have built. President Biden has prioritized gun safety since entering office, from combating deadly, untraceable ghost guns to the Department of Justice’s development of a strategy on reducing violent crime and a new, annual comprehensive report on firearms trafficking, to the comprehensive strategy to address gun violence that includes efforts to fight gun trafficking, investments in community violence intervention programs, and more.
Everytown, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action continue to work with the gun safety majority in the Senate, gun sense champions in the House, and the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure robust implementation and strong enforcement of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, this new arm brace rule, and our gun laws as a whole.