Republican Montana Gov. Gregory Gianforte sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday, saying that Montana will not enforce the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) final rule for pistol braces.
The letter said that the ATF’s final pistol rule “erodes the Second Amendment,” further reminding Garland that Montana passed legislation in 2021 that blocks Montana law enforcement and employees from enforcing any federal law on guns, according to the letter. The rule, announced in January, will void all previous guidance on pistols braces, opting to redefine “rifle” as any weapon “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder,” forcing pistol brace owners to register their pistols as short barrel rifles (SBR) with the federal government.
“Our right to keep and bear arms is integral to Montana’s and our nation’s rich heritage, and this rule directly violates our long-held traditions. The rule also ignores the design and intent of stabilizing braces – to help disabled veterans fire large format pistols,” Gianforte said in the letter. “As a matter of law, the State of Montana and its political subdivisions cannot enforce, or assist the ATF with enforcement.”
A pistol brace is an attachment for a pistol that assists the user in firing the weapon. Under the ATF final rule, any pistol brace that can be used as a stock redefines the pistols as an SBR, according to the final rule.
In 2021, Montana passed HB 258, which blocks peace officers, state employees or employees of a political subdivision “from enforcing, assisting in the enforce of, or otherwise cooperating in the enforcement of a federal ban on firearms, magazines, or ammunition” and from “participating in any federal enforcement action implementing a federal ban on firearms, magazines, or ammunition,” according to the legislation.
“This rule creates additional barriers to lawful gun ownership and undermines our Montana way of life. I strongly urge you to reverse this decision to acknowledge and respect Montana’s long history of responsible gun ownership,” Gianforte continued.
In January, multiple gun rights advocacy groups and three U.S. military veterans filed separate lawsuits against the ATF, saying the pistol brace rule violates the Constitution.
Garland did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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