NRA Files Suit Against ATF and DOJ Over “Pistol Brace Rule”

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The National Rifle Association of America (“NRA”) announced it filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), ATF Director Steven Dettelbach, and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (“Defendants”) in opposition to the unlawful “pistol brace rule.”

“The NRA has ramped up its offense on this arbitrary and unconstitutional rule,” says NRA Executive Vice President & CEO Wayne LaPierre. “We are confident in our ability to confront the ATF and DOJ – and preserve freedom for NRA members.”

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District, Dallas Division, the lawsuit is the NRA’s latest challenge to the rule regarding stabilizing braces. On June 30, 2023, the same court denied the NRA’s motion to intervene in another legal action, while recognizing the NRA was positioned to pursue its own lawsuit – a course it now adopts in support of its millions of law-abiding members.

The lawsuit exposes the failings of the new rule – which subjects law-abiding gun owners to penalties, fines, and potential prison sentences for the use of an otherwise legal plastic apparatus on some firearms. The NRA previously submitted comments in opposition to the rule, filed a motion to intervene in another legal action, and supported a lawsuit by several state attorneys general filed in North Dakota.

“The NRA is pursuing every possible avenue in defense of its law-abiding members and their constitutional freedoms,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA. “Our members should be free of the threat of enforcement of this presumptively unlawful rule. We are confident that we will prevail in obtaining the same relief for them that has already been granted to members of other gun rights groups.”

As noted in the complaint, the NRA argues the rule is unconstitutional, as the ATF reverses its long-standing position that pistol braces do not transform pistols into rifles subject to onerous registration and taxation requirements under the National Firearms Act.

​Previously, the NRA obtained clarification of multiple aspects of ATF’s proposed rule, including: 1) that braces removed from firearms do not necessarily have to be destroyed or altered in a way that prevents them from being reattached to a firearm; and 2) that imported pistols with stabilizing braces do not necessarily need to be destroyed or surrendered.

​The NRA will go to court to obtain preliminary, and ultimately permanent, injunctive relief restraining Defendants from enforcing the “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces’” (the “Final Rule”) against law-abiding NRA members. First announced in January 2023, the Final Rule was set to go into effect June 1, 2023. Gun rights groups and the State of Texas are among those who have been granted preliminary injunctive relief from the Final Rule – and now the NRA seeks recognition of the irreparable harm its members also face from the Final Rule.

​In opposition to the Final Rule, NRA President Charles Cotton has said, “The NRA will continue to defend its members and their constitutional freedoms – fighting this rule and President Biden’s anti-Second Amendment agenda in every forum available.”

​The NRA represents millions of members across the nation in preserving the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, including hundreds of thousands of members in Texas. The NRA has approximately 350,000 members in Texas – the #1 state for NRA members.

​As explained in the NRA’s Complaint, many of its members are being irreparably harmed by the Final Rule because they are forced to modify their firearms, destroy them, register them, or surrender them to the federal government under threat of criminal prosecution. Pistol stabilizing braces allow users to strap their gun to their forearm or place them on their shoulders for more stability. Millions of these devices are used by gun owners across the nation – particularly disabled veterans who need braces to safely use a pistol.

​In late May, the court entered orders enjoining Defendants from enforcing the Final Rule against another gun-rights group and its members. However, the scope of the injunctive relief granted applies only to those plaintiffs.​​

The NRA backs and supports another lawsuit challenging ATF’s unlawful rule. The lawsuit, filed February 9, 2023, is captioned Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition, Inc., v. Merrick Garland and was filed in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. Plaintiffs include: SB Tactical, B&T USA, Wounded Warrior Richard Cicero, and a coalition of 25 states led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley.

View the filing by clicking here.

About NRA-ILA:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess, and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit:

National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

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“On June 30, 2023, the same court denied the NRA’s motion to intervene in another legal action …” “… filed a motion to intervene in another legal action …” “Gun rights groups and the State of Texas …” “… against another gun-rights group and its members …” Its an established principle in advertising that you don’t mention your competitors by name in your commercials. Is NRA dropping a hint that they see these other “gun rights groups” as competitors and not allies? If so, Wayne & Co. need to pick up their game a bit, start taking the lead in… Read more »


Could be they just noticed FPC, SAF, and GOA got a nice surge of new members and membership fees and wanted the same for themselves. Why tell people the other options?

I mean, if you’re a dying money hungry organization driven into the ground by an entitled rich boy and a bunch of teet sucklers.

Incidentally, if teet suckler is not a term, it should be.


About time they jump on the band wagon. Well past time, really.

Knute Knute

A day late, and six million dollars stolen by WLP short, ought to be Negotiating Rights Away since 1934’s official motto.


HAHAHAHA!!! Just think of what could’ve been done had NRA sent that $12M settlement to Second Amendment Foundation instead of Ackerman McQueen… NRA is a waste of money at this point, hope Wayne finishes his years in prison. Seems like everyone BUT the NRA is making gains for the 2A…

Last edited 2 months ago by Dasher_Dork

Normally I’d say “better late than never”. But at this point it’s just “F- the NRA.”

Knute Knute

With posers and valor thieves like WLP’s NRA around, its never “better late than never”. Gun owners are better off without the NRA. They’ve just been stabbing us in the back, one time after another. From the NFA to the Hughes amendment, the NRA deserves no consideration from any gun owner aware of their history.


show something, anything, that says NRA supported Hughes. while they did support the Firearm Owners Protection Act, Hughes was snuck in at the last moment and done on a voice vote.


PBR must be getting close to certain win for SAF/GOA because NRA is jumping into the fray to spike the ball they haven’t carried….AGAIN!!!!


I’m a life member of the NRA, and I wish that I weren’t, they are not the organization that I joined 65 + years ago. I just joined FPC and donate to GOA all of the time because they are fighting for me and the 2A, I have no idea what the NRA is doing for us anymore.


AFTER SAF got protection for its members, NRA attempted to join the suit to spike the ball for its members, and got kicked in the groin by the court refusing their motion. Court said, NRA had had plenty of time earlier, came to the party too late……”Wayno Come Lately.” So, now the NRA files after the fact. Guess Wayno was too busy being measured for suits to get on board in timely manner.


Look who’s late to the party. The organization that started this with their support of bumpstock regulation.

Eric Kennard

A little late to the game aren’t they? FOC and SAF had suits and injunctive relief. NRA tried to ride in on their coat tails rather than file their own suit. Shame on the NRA for not being there first. Your NRA money at work. Note I didn’t say hard at work.

Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH

more like “hardly at work.”