By Zachary Stieber
The Department of Justice on Monday unveiled a proposed rule that regulations for rifles apply to pistols that are equipped with certain stabilizing braces.
The rule states that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should on a case-by-case basis determine whether a particular gun, when configured with a stabilizing brace, “bears the objective features of a firearm designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder and is thus subject to the NFA,” the National Firearms Act.
“The use of a purported ‘stabilizing brace’ cannot be a tool to circumvent the NFA (or the GCA) and the prohibition on the unregistered possession of ‘short-barreled rifles,’” the proposed rule says. GCA stands for the Gun Control Act of 1968. Stabilizing braces are used to bolster the stability and accuracy of guns.
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register. Members of the public will have 90 days to submit comments.
Also on Monday, the Department of Justice published model legislation that it says will make it easier for states to create laws governing risk protection orders. Such orders, sometimes known as red flag laws, and which a number of states have begun to allow in recent years, authorize courts to temporarily bar people from owning or accessing firearms.
Family members or others can petition a court to bar the access by asserting a person’s possession or receipt of a gun will post a danger or risk to themselves or others. Courts review the application before deciding whether to bar the person from owning or receiving guns.
“The Justice Department is determined to take concrete steps to reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in our communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “Today we continue to deliver on our promise to help save lives while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans. We welcome the opportunity to work with communities in the weeks and months ahead in our shared commitment to end gun violence.”
Mark Olivia, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade group for the gun industry, told The Epoch Times in an email that NSSF “will examine the proposed rule and seek input from our members, including firearm manufacturers.”
The foundation will provide public comment on behalf of the firearm industry at the appropriate time, he added.
The proposed order and model legislation was crafted in response to a directive from President Joe Biden in April. Biden, a Democrat who entered office in January, at the time decried the number of shootings in America and said that the actions he wants to take do not impinge on the Second Amendment.
The Gun Owners of America, a gun owners group, previously said that Biden’s proposals were unconstitutional.
“Joe Biden knows he cannot beat gun owners in Congress, so instead he’s abusing his executive authority—throwing the FULL WEIGHT of the federal bureaucracy behind his attack on gun owners,” Erich Pratt, the group’s senior vice president, told members in an alert.
Biden and other Democrats have tried to enact new gun ownership restrictions in Congress but face Republican opposition. Republicans largely favor other ways to bring down the number of shootings, such as increasing budgets for law enforcement.
Democrats cheered the Biden administration’s moves, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who called the “solid steps” that show Biden’s “consistent commitment to stopping gun violence.”
However, “new laws are necessary, not just executive initiatives,” he added in a statement.