WASHINGTON — Today, in a major defeat for the gun lobby and a major victory for gun safety, the U.S. Senate rejected the efforts of gun extremists to repeal ATF’s life-saving arm brace rule after the legislation narrowly passed in the U.S. House last week. This legislation would have made it easier for dangerous individuals to get their hands on these exceedingly deadly assault weapons. This victory comes one year after the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which broke the 30-year logjam in Congress on gun violence prevention legislation. In response, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements:
“We’re thankful to the gun sense majority in the Senate for rejecting the latest attack on ATF by gun extremists in Congress,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Repealing this rule would’ve made it easier for the next mass shooter to obtain a deadly assault weapon, and the failure of this effort marks both a major victory for gun safety — and yet another defeat for the gun lobby.”
“Despite the gun lobby pushing their allies in Congress to repeal the life-saving arm brace rule, the gun sense majority in the Senate heeded the call of the majority of this country and stood strong for gun safety,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “The expectation of the public is clear: lawmakers should be working to pass gun safety laws, not advancing the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda that puts profits before public safety.”
Arm braces were originally designed in 2012 as a niche accessory to help disabled shooters, but these accessories have since evolved to easily convert large-format AR-15 and AK-47 pistols into short-barreled rifles. Short-barreled rifles are exceptionally dangerous and have been subject to stricter scrutiny for nearly a century because, as the Department of Justice has explained, “they are easily concealable, can cause great damage, and are more likely to be used to commit crimes.”
While short-barreled rifles with traditional stocks are not used in mass shootings, mass shooters, including those in Nashville, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Dayton, have turned to arm brace equipped firearms to evade the heightened regulations that Congress put in place on short-barreled rifles with the National Firearms Act in 1934. Thankfully, in January, the Biden-Harris Administration finalized a rule that enforces the law and treats firearms equipped with arm braces like the short-barreled rifles they are.
House and Senate Republicans were seeking to repeal these requirements, pretending guns with arm braces aren’t short-barreled rifles, even though these firearms look, shoot, and kill all the same.
The attempt to undo the arm brace rule came as part of a concerted attack by gun extremists on the ATF, whose mission is to protect the public from violent crime, including gun crime. In March, subcommittees of the House Oversight & Accountability Committee and House Judiciary Committee held a hearing attacking the ATF. At the hearing, Everytown’s Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs, Rob Wilcox, pushed back on the lies from gun-lobby-backed lawmakers and testified to the crucial role that the ATF, in partnership with state and local law enforcement agencies, plays in keeping communities safe and combating gun violence. Republican gun extremists in Congress have already introduced legislation this session to abolish the ATF in its entirety and are on the record saying that if they cannot eliminate the ATF, they are “going to try defunding” it.