New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
February 10, 2023

Michael S. Garrity, Director of Communications | (603) 931-9375

AG Formella Joins Lawsuit Against U.S. AG Garland, ATF on Pistol Brace Rule

Concord, NH – Attorney General John M. Formella has joined a coalition of 25 states in filing a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and its director that seeks to enjoin a recently issued final rule governing "Stabilizing Braces," commonly known as pistol braces.

"The Federal Government should not be making it harder for responsible Granite State gun owners to defend themselves, especially senior citizens and people with disabilities," said Attorney General Formella. "This rule would turn millions of lawful common firearms owners into 'short barreled rifle' owners in the eyes of the federal government overnight, forcing them within the next four months to comply with the rule, apply for a permit, and pay a tax. I am proud to join my colleagues around the country in taking action to protect our citizens from the consequences of this federal overreach."

The rule, called Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces, indicated that when manufacturers, dealers and individuals pair stabilizing braces with 99% of pistols, they must comply with the laws that regulate those rifles, including the National Firearms Act (NFA).

That means those who use a stabilizing brace would have to apply for a permit with the ATF within four months, pay a tax and face restrictions on future transfer of the brace.

Stabilizing braces were designed to help people with disabilities use pistols. Since then, many others, including older persons, people with limited mobility and those with smaller stature have come to use the braces. For more than a decade, these braces have been sold as firearms attachments not subject to regulation.

The rule, however, affects most all pistol and handgun owners—many lawful gun owners use stabilizers to prevent some recoil when using firearms and to help with accuracy.

The lawsuit is asking the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota Western Division to declare unlawful and set aside the rule, among other things.

"In sum, ATF's factors are little more than window dressing for the agency to reach whatever outcome it wants, regardless of the facts," according to the lawsuit.

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New Hampshire Department of Justice
1 Granite Place South | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658