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Giffords Applauds ATF Rule Regulating Dangerous Stabilizing Braces

Braces Make Concealable Guns More Deadly, Were Used in Boulder and Dayton Mass Shootings

Washington DCGiffords, the gun safety organization founded by the former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, lauded the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for publishing a rule that clarifies pistols with stabilizing braces are short-barreled rifles. Short-barreled rifles are regulated by the National Firearms Act, and are particularly lethal given that they can be easily concealed and also fire large-caliber rounds.

This was proven on the afternoon of Monday, March 22, 2021, when a gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, using an AR-15-style pistol that had been modified with an arm brace. The AR pistol brace attachment allowed the shooter to fire an easily concealable gun with rifle-like accuracy and firepower. A stabilizing brace was also used in the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, in which nine people were shot and killed in 2019.

David Pucino, Deputy Chief Counsel, Giffords Law Center:

“Stabilizing braces like the one used to kill ten people in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, and nine people outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio,  make easily concealable weapons much more lethal and dangerous. We applaud the ATF for acting to address the 2017 loophole that allowed these braces to be unregulated. This decision will save lives and prevent further tragedies like the ones in Boulder and Dayton.”

Giffords Work to Regulate Stabilizing Braces:

More than five years ago, Giffords identified the threat of particularly dangerous firearms such as the AR-15 style assault pistol and stabilizing braces and has been advocating for this dangerous threat to be addressed. 

In 2015, ATF determined that AR pistols equipped with arm braces are short-barreled rifles, since they can be fired from the shoulder and have a barrel that is shorter than 16 inches in length. However, in March 2017, ATF clarified that a pistol with an arm brace attached is not a short-barreled rifle unless the arm brace is being used with the intent to fire the weapon from the shoulder. ATF’s decision failed to address the significant public safety threat posed by these pistol arm braces. Today’s rule reverses that decision and comes after Giffords led a public campaign to regulate these braces.


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