Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces”

On June 7, 2021, the Attorney General signed ATF proposed rule 2021R-08, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces,’” amending ATF’s regulations to clarify when a rifle is “intended to be fired from the shoulder.”

The proposed rule outlines the factors ATF would consider when evaluating firearms equipped with a purported “stabilizing brace” to determine whether these weapons would be considered a “rifle” or “short-barreled rifle” under the Gun Control Act of 1968, or a “rifle” or “firearm” subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act.

What is Proposed in this Rulemaking?

The proposed rule would:

  • Amend the definition of “rifle” in 27 CFR 478.11 and 479.11, respectively, by adding a sentence at the end of each definition to clarify that the term “rifle” includes any weapon with a rifled barrel and equipped with an attached “stabilizing brace” that has objective design features and characteristics that indicate that the firearm is designed to be fired from the shoulder.
  • Set forth a worksheet “Factoring Criteria for Rifled Barrel Weapons with Accessories commonly referred to as ‘Stabilizing Braces,’” ATF Worksheet 4999, to aid the firearms industry and public in understanding the criteria that ATF considers when evaluating firearm samples that are submitted with an attached “stabilizing brace” or similar component or accessory.

This proposed rule would not affect “stabilizing braces” that are objectively designed and intended as a “stabilizing brace” for use by individuals with disabilities, and not for shouldering the weapon as a rifle. Such stabilizing braces are designed to conform to the arm and not as a buttstock.

Submit a Comment

ATF is receiving comments on the proposed rule for 90 days starting the date the proposed rule is posted in the Federal Register. We will update this section when the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

You may submit comments after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register by mail, fax or the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov.

If you commented in December 2020:

This proposed rule is a separate action from the Notice on the Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces” published on December 18, 2020 and withdrawn on December 31, 2020. No comments received under the withdrawn notice were considered for this proposed rule, and no comments received pursuant to that notice will be considered as part of this proposed rule. Commenters will need to submit new comments in connection with this proposed rule