ATF ‘Stabilizing Brace’ ruling to impact millions of gun owners and dealers

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 6:38 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Gun owners, listen up! A new ruling by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives {ATF) could have a major impact on you.

On January 13, 2023, the ATF finalized a rule that moves to regulate guns equipped with stabilizing braces. Since 2012, guns under 16 inches with a stabilizing brace were considered pistols. But now the ATF is calling those weapons--short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

601 Sports general manager Christen Hemphill said most people with these types of guns have no idea about this new ruling.

“We’re concerned that if people have these braces and what we’re talking about is an AR pistol with a stabilizing brace on it. The brace was originally designed by an army veteran to help disabled army guys shoot with this attached to their arm and stabilize the pistol a little bit more easily,” said Hemphill.

The ATF ruling went into effect on January 31st and any weapons with “stabilizing braces” or similar attachments must be registered no later than May 31, 2023. If not, you could be charged with a felony.

“If you have one of these guns, you can either destroy your weapon. You can turn it in to ATF, you can do what’s called a form one which is classifying this gun as an NFA item. ATF is waiving the tax stamp, which normally would cost $200. They’re allowing you to register your weapon without that $200 fee, or you can remove this pistol tube and pistol brace and turn it into an actual pistol with a pistol tube,” said Hemphill.

The ATF said there are at least 4 million of these rifles on the market which means the impact will be felt nationwide. Hemphill said this ruling is tremendously changing the gun industry.

“We’ve got guns that are in stock that unfortunately, we’ve got to now turn and have already turned into SBRs. So now when we sell those guns that we originally purchased as a pistol, that would be very easy for us to sell to a consumer. We now have to sell that consumer the gun, and in a short bell rifle configuration and they’ve got to buy a tax stamp. It’s tremendously more of a hassle now for a dealer that’s already in possession of these guns versus the consumer that’s already in possession of them,” said Hemphill.

To learn more about this ruling or how to register your gun visit and