Oklahoma Sheriffs Defy ATF Ruling on Stabilizing Braces
KTUL - January 30, 2023 6:59 am
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Sheriffs’ Departments across Oklahoma are openly defying the federal government by refusing to enforce a new ATF regulation of a popular gun accessory.
By Friday afternoon, nine sheriffs in Green Country alone announced they would not follow final rule 2021R-08F from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The sheriffs of Latimer, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pittsburg, and Tulsa counties said it’s a matter of preserving people’s rights. The ATF, however, contends it’s just clarifying a technicality.
An image provided by the ATF showed two virtually identical guns next to each other. However, one is classified under federal law as a rifle. The other is classified as a pistol with a stabilizing brace. Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado insisted there’s a difference.
“A stabilizing brace can attach to a pistol, providing a more stable platform in which to fire that weapon,” he explained.
Daryl Simmons, who claimed to be a firearms instructor, demonstrated his personal Sig Sauer stabilizing brace for NewsChannel 8.
“Most of them have some sort of capability to wrap around the user’s wrist and lock it into place to help stabilize the firearm,” he said while putting it on.
The ATF estimates there are 3 million stabilizing braces in circulation. Regalado said they are commonly used by disabled gun owners and veterans.
The ATF’s ruling says stabilizing braces designed for those with disabilities are designed to “conform to the arm” and do not function as buttstocks. However, many braces conform to the shoulder.
The ruling simply says if a gun is meant to be fired against the shoulder, it’s a rifle, not a pistol. Therefore, stabilizing braces turn pistols into short-barreled rifles, which are regulated under the National Firearms Act or NFA.
“Which means, if you use that under this definition,” Regalado said, “you have to register your firearm and pay a tax on it.”
The NFA applies to short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, machine guns, silencers, and destructive devices such as bombs and grenades.
“It doesn’t do anything to enhance the lethality of a firearm,” Simmons asserted. “It doesn’t do anything to enhance fire rate, range, or anything involving the operation or the function of a firearm.”
Regalado said the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled the ATF can’t change a gun’s classification without approval from Congress.
“And oddly enough,” he added, “this decision by the ATF in regard to stabilizing braces came approximately two weeks after the Fifth Circuit made their ruling.”
Regalado said he did not coordinate with any other sheriffs on his decision. He expects there will be consequences for his defiance.
“I fully expect legal ramifications in the form of litigation,” he admitted. “It’s my understanding that it is waiting.”
However, Regalado said his decision is in the best interest of Oklahomans.
“Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, it doesn’t matter,” he asserted. “This is not a partisan issue. This is a rights issue.”
“You can be the strongest anti-gun advocate in the world,” Simmons said. “And I understand that position because I used to hold it when I was young. All you have to do to keep yourself happy and satisfied in the face of this technology is don’t own one.”
The ATF is giving stabilizing brace owners 120 days to either register their weapons under the NFA or destroy their braces.