Legal Issues

Injunction: Are Pistol Braces Legal (Again)

Omar " Crispy 11B" Avila holding an AR-15 pistol with a stabilizing brace attached to his arm.

As a U.S. Navy veteran, I may (tongue in cheek) have an issue with crediting Marines with anything positive except being good at doing pushups and making the chow line long. However, when it comes to the Second Amendment there are three decorated Marines: Darren A. Britto, Gabriel A. Tauscher, and Shawn M. Kroll listed as the plaintiffs in Britto v. ATF, filed in the federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas that I’d like to send a salute to.

November 8, 2023, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled that the ATF’s Pistol Brace ban was an attempt by unelected bureaucrats to legislate by regulation in violation of the Administrative Policy Act (APA). Furthermore, Judge Kacsmaryk went on to state that the ruling placed in the National Registry for comments, and the Final Rule, did not significantly match. In other words, the judge said the ATF complied by issuing a comment and response period, but later significantly changed the language of the ruling — sort of a bait and switch.

Coyote brown AR-15 pistol equipped with a brace
PIstol braces allow the shooter to shoot their gun one handed. While this applies to all shooters, including those with or without disabilities.

While that was enough, the judge was not finished. Judge Kacsmaryk also took issue with the ATF Pistol Brace Ban on Common Use grounds. The ATF agrees that there are 5 million or more pistol braces in use, which is enough to prove the braces meet the “common use” clause. Previously, the ATF lost a case based on an estimated 100,000 stun guns because the court ruled that the 100k units met the definition of ‘common use.’ Estimates for pistol braces currently in the hands of gun owners range up to 40 million units.

This is not the first loss the ATF has suffered regarding pistol braces. The Second Amendment Foundation, NRA-ILA, and others have all scored victories that have delayed implementation or caused the ATF to regroup and resubmit the proposed ban. There was even a previous injunction based on a lawsuit filed by the Firearms Policy Coalition that covered all its members — at the time the injunction was issue and all future members.

Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling in Britto v. ATF is different. It covers all gun owners with a pistol brace — all 5 to 40+ million. That’s right, millions of gun owners who legally purchased a pistol brace, approved by the ATF (which previously ruled and clarified its ruling to state that the addition of a pistol brace did not make the gun a short-barreled rifle (SBR)), no longer need to be concerned that of being overnight declared felons and subject to fines or the loss of their Second Amendment protections.

Judge Kacsmaryk wrote, “Additionally, ATF admits the 10-year cost of the Rule is over one billion dollars… And because of the Rule, certain manufacturers that obtain most of their sales from stabilizing braces risk having to close their doors for good.”

The judge claimed, “The Court is certainly sympathetic to ATF’s concerns over public safety in the wake of tragic mass shootings.” The court also noted, “Public safety concerns must be addressed in ways that are lawful.”

“This Rule is not,” Kacsmaryk concluded. 

Picture shows SIG Sauer's ad for the pistol-stabilizing device
While the pistol brace was initially designed to aid disabled shooters, the ATF previously ruled the addition of a pistol brace does not meet the definition of a short-barrelled rifle, nor did shouldering the brace break any laws.

Highs and Lows

Most often, when reporting on these events, there is a high and a low. Yeah! The 2A won in court! Boo! An immediate injunction prevented gun owners from the relief the courts granted. As of the time this article was published, no injunction has been granted. However, I would not get my hopes up that one is not in the wings.

An evil ATF or political henchmen?

Over the last year or so, I’ve talked with senior members within the ATF. I can tell you that the ATF did not want this ruling. Political pressure was the source. While the ATF may want to just lick its wounds and let this die a quiet death, I’m pretty certain the anti-gun contingent of the current Biden Administration will force the ATF to try for another bite at the apple.

Should that happen, the case will go before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a recent track record of pro Second Amendment rulings against the ATF. In my best guestimation (I’m not a legal scholar, but I slept in a Motel 6 once), the ATF will likely lose again. That leaves one path for enforcement, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). With SCOTUS, I believe the chances of enforcement are even lower given its more recent decisions handed down in Bruen, Carson, Erickson, and Mock.

Omar " Crispy 11B" Avila holding an AR-15 pistol with a stabilizing brace attached to his arm.
Omar “Crispy 11B” Avila holding an AR-15 pistol with a stabilizing brace attached to his arm.

Will CTD currently sell braces or brace-equipped firearms?

I’d love to say yes, but the answer is “No.” Before y’all start with the cacophony of accusations about being anti 2A in any way, please read the following…

Technically, CTD could begin purchasing and selling pistol brace-equipped firearms under the injunction. However, CTD’s prudent standard is to wait until the final ruling is made, as its standard practice.

While we would love to start rolling them out the door, a potential injunction from an appeal is looming (as I already mentioned). It does not serve the Second Amendment or our customers (in my humble opinion), by potentially subjecting them to scrutiny from law enforcement for a purchase made during a ‘window of legal opportunity’ called Freedom Week.

Illinois gun owners are facing such a dilemma from a recent ruling. Illinois residents who purchased so-called ‘assault weapons’ during Freedom Week will not be able to register the guns and are considered illegal in the state. Confiscation would be the next step.

Overall, I believe Second Amendment advocates have a lot to be excited about. The Pistol Brace Ban case has tremendous possibilities, including overturning all so-called assault weapons and large-capacity magazine bans.

What do you think is in store for pistol bans in the future? Will the ATF appeal the ban? How would SCOTUS rule? Share your answers in the Comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (16)

  1. CTD wrote: “Most often, when reporting on these events, there is a high and a low. Yeah! The 2A won in court! Boo! An immediate injunction prevented gun owners from the relief the courts granted. As of the time this article was published, no injunction has been granted. However, I would not get my hopes up that one is not in the wings.”

    This article was posted 7 days ago. 14 days ago a 5th Circuit judge ruled “For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS the Motion and STAYS the Rule in its entirety.” There as been no further injunction issued currently that negates this ruling.

  2. For years the government helped the injured and less able with the American disables Act.
    And in 30 days they violated their own law by banning Americans with Disabilities from allowing them the right to protect themselves.

  3. Go suck a f#@%, if I can serve 8 years as a grunt with multiple combat tours I will own whatever firearm I want. Just because a%$holes ruin it for the rest of us… Gotta love mass punishment.

  4. History is the ammunition to punch holes in false claims.

    FDR was strongly socialist, felt the government should have much, much greater power, and that “encouragement” to change behavior was a duty for government. He was the driving force behind the move to ban all pistols except for the police. He was also great friends with Stalin, and because FDR was the President, all of this communications with Stalin were legally recorded by the government, and you can get published copies of the letters. You can buy a published copy if you want, and that will shake the tree when you compare it to what you were taught in school.

    Use Google and search for:

    My Dear Mr. Stalin: The Complete Correspondence of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph V. Stalin

  5. @HW STONE. Thanks for the history lessons. In school history was not my favorite subject, but with the events of the last few years, I have taken more interest, and come to learn a lot about history. Like the act of 1871, the Law of War Manual, which I only recently learned even existed. Continuity Of Government, Devolution, and the power of Executive Orders, like EO13848, and many more bits of information, all regulated under our original Constitution, pre 1871. It has been an interesting learning experience, if it is all true. We are lining in a very interesting time. Thanks again HW

  6. ROCKIT– History tells us a lot, and the Great Depression saw huge increase in crimes. FDR wanted to ban all but a few hunting rifles and shotguns because of crime and more than a few interracial events, and the mainstream kept “no registry” for standard shotguns, rifles, and pistols, but imposed a huge tax on “not common” guns– and a $200.00 tax in 1934 would be $4,592.10 today in October 2023.

    It was a “the rich get what they want” system, uniform civil rights did not exist, and the scars of The Great War to End All Wars were deep and painful. Like today, “the press” had an agenda and painted the “silencer” as only a murder’s tool, and while the good guys won in real life, the press painted a different picture. In a horrible economy worldwide, then plunging into The Second World War meant people were looking elsewhere, worrying more about putting bread on the table than about having the time and money to make the challenge.

    That is why history is so important in understanding why the law was passed, as well as why a challenge is only now seriously possible, and even so, probably with mixed results. Most of the battle is Big Government wanting more money and more control versus the guy who is having problems with the grocery bill.


  7. @HW STONE. “Go back to the original gun control act of 1934”. I am not a lawyer, but trying to understand where this act fits into “Shall Not Be Infringed”. In view of the many recent wins in the SC, the question is: Is this a good time to challenge the constitutionality of this 1934 act. Eliminating this act would solve a lot of technical issues besides the definition of a pistol brace.

    Also recently learning a suppressed (i.e. Silenced) Barrett BMG 50 still produces around 160 decibels, even using the best head set ear protection of around 33 decibels reduction, brings the BMG down to 127 decibels, where anything over 85 decibels is considered to potentially cause permanent hearing loss, one has to wonder why ANYONE, include the grabbers, would be against suppressors being non restricted.

  8. Another note for Lynn Kenneth Circle
    If you don’t mind paying the $200 tax stamp for something you already bought that didn’t need it in the first place I guess you don’t mind paying taxes on things with money that was already taxed before you got it. You have a right to your opinion and to throw away money all you like but don’t help push a law that makes other people throw away money for unnecessary BS

  9. ROCKIT– Go back to the original gun control act of 1934 and you will see it was to ban private ownership of pistols and machineguns, with the short barreled rifle and short barreled shotgun being “too close to a pistol” for the anti-gun people then.

    They kept the “sawed off” rifles and shotguns in the law as substitutes for the ban on pistols and have been going after quieter guns and anything they can label as a problem. They are working at trying to ban pistols that hold two much ammunition as a way to restrict the types of pistols available, and the way they present the arm brace is just another card in the deck in restriction of pistols on their way to a full out ban.

    That is how “three or more” people involved in an altercation and one firearm was included became a “mass shooting” for the anti-gun crowd, but somehow three people standing at the fence around the White House does not qualify as a mass protest.

  10. Several online sites are now selling pistols with braces and braces alone!!!

    I stopped buying from CTD, when they were one of the first to price gauge, during the ammo shortage!!!

    And their prices are no longer Cheaper Than Dirt!!!

  11. Of course the idiots at the ATF will appeal the ruling. They have wandered away from their charter. To regulate firearms. Not try create laws (which they are NOT allowed to do) to ban what ever they want. That agency is (IMHO) corrupt and full of anti 2cd Amendment haters! This agency should never have been established in the first place, it is OBVIOUSLY unconstitutional! Read the second amendment and tell me how it’s not?

  12. A note for LYNN KENNETH CIRCLE

    The two hundred dollars is a one time registration fee or a transfer fee for a registered weapon, not a yearly charge– and they were considering a tax free amnesty registration, too.

  13. Good cover. But lol you say crispy 11b is holding a ar pistol. That’s a 9mm scorpion. Not an ar-15. So you don’t seem like much of a gun guy

  14. Ultimately, a stabilized firearm ensures accurate delivery through better control of the platform. It is more than an accessory, it is responsible safety enhancement.

  15. Just my view: Thanks to Hollywood, we have been led to believe a sawed off shotgun is capable of taking out the front line of an NFL team with a single shot, and therefore became band. I just don’t see how a “sawed off” RIFLE can produce that same image, well unless it falls under flame-thrower, so have never understood why an SBR, which actually becomes less efficient do to the shorter barrel length (in rifle caliber), was ever band in the first place. It also seems, in the beginning, SBRs were mostly pistol caliber at the time, like the famous MP5, some versions of the Tommy gun, and the MAC-10, which in reality then, should be called long barrel pistols (LBP), but not so long they become rifles (LBR)? Pistol caliber SBRs, or LBPs, make a lot of sense, as they increase efficiency and accuracy over the pistol respective version, whereas rifle caliber pistols, while less efficient than its rifle form, trade efficiency for a much louder bark and flash. Also, I am pretty sure the patriots who read these articles do not posses a single Assault Weapon, but possibly have their far share of Defensive Weapons (DW). 🙂

  16. I hope the ruling stands. I have a pistol brace on one firearm, and I do NOT think forcing me to pay a $200.0 or more tax a year to keep it legal is reasonable,

    Oh, and I am 81 years old, partially disabled, and an American veteran of a long ago era (U.S. Army Security Agency 1961 to 1964).

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