Thomas Gallatin / June 14, 2021

ATF Whittles Away at Second Amendment

A proposed new regulation would ban pistol braces. Death by a thousand cuts?

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently released a proposed firearms regulation that would effectively make millions of Americans criminals while doing next to nothing to stop actual crime. The new rule, should it be accepted, would effectively outlaw certain types of arm braces for pistols — devices that brace the firearm against the shooter’s arm to help with accuracy. The ATF’s claimed rationale for banning pistol braces is that its increased accuracy makes the firearm more lethal. That’s one way to spin it.

Undoubtedly, pistol braces do make for greater shooting accuracy, but why exactly is that a bad thing? The accuracy of a firearm actually makes it a safer and more suitable weapon for a law-abiding gun owner. The ATF’s argument exposes a flawed mindset — one that considers first and foremost the potential criminal use of a firearm rather than that which is beneficial for legal operation.

Columnist Kevin Williamson observes, “There isn’t really any good reason to restrict short-barreled rifles: Shorter barrels usually result in less power and inferior accuracy — they generally are less deadly than their full-sized counterparts. Shorter rifles are easier to conceal, but not as easy as a handgun.”

And his colleague at National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty, notes, “The personal-defense weapon has a real appeal to gun owners looking for a suitable firearm for home defense or a gun to keep in a truck. The shorter barrel makes it easier to move around the interior of a home or in a car. And the arm brace, often adjustable, makes it easier to fire more accurately. Shooting a pistol accurately in an adrenalized situation is actually pretty tough to do. But if you put that smaller pistol-caliber bullet in a slightly larger gun, and you have a brace that gives you more points of contact, you are likely to fire more accurately.”

However, even more significant is the attitude inherent behind this newly proposed regulation. To the gun grabbers, there are simply never enough limitations on the Second Amendment. The ATF should be asking the exact opposite question, which is how to provide greater protection of and access to the Second Amendment.

Data on the criminal use of firearms simply doesn’t support or justify the creation of this latest regulation. Instead, this is yet another instance of needless government encroachment on our civil rights. It erodes the Second Amendment by nibbling away at a seemingly fringe issue. Creating a new rule will do little to address actual legitimate criminal behavior, while giving the government yet another “crime fighting” tool at the expense of the law-abiding citizen.

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