AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — An Amarillo man is among three plaintiffs suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives over a new ruling.
The complaint was filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division after the ATF issued a rule reclassifying pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles.
According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Darren Britto of Amarillo is a decorated Marine combat veteran who owns a pistol with a stabilizing brace.
“I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know the legalese portion of it, but essentially, there’s about 40 million braces out there,” said Britto. “I own one of those braces on on my particular firearm and it’s, ATF, what they’re doing is arbitrary. It’s not going through the proper channels.”
Britto said he uses the stabilizing brace to make the firearm more accurate and safer.
“Obviously, I have both my arms, but I do have issues,” he said. “So sometimes I do have to fire it in a stabilized form, the way it was meant to.”
According to the lawsuit, there are only three options for people who own pistols with stabilizing braces: Destroy, dismantle, or hand over those guns; list their pistols, or commit a felony.
“They filed and registered this rule, which states that the firearm, you know, that I own in its current configuration is illegal. But, you know, through their benevolence, they’ve said, well, if I register it, it’ll be legal and that means my name will go on a registry and the ATF, ie, the government will know I have that particular type of firearm and under the Second Amendment, they shouldn’t have to know I have a firearm.”
Britto continued, “These arbitrary rules are just an incremental step in eroding the Second Amendment aecause what happens is, now to have the brace in its current configuration, if I don’t want to register it, I have to modify it, which can be cost exorbitant.”
The plaintiffs said in the lawsuit the braces are designed and intended to be attached to the user’s forearm. They also claim a pistol does not qualify as a rifle under the National Firearms Act of 1933 or the Gun Control Act of 1968 because it is not designed, made, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.
The suit asks the court to stop the ATF from enforcing the rule and declare the ATF did not have the authority to make the change.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation also filed a lawsuit against the ATF on the ruling.
MyHighPlains.com reached out to the ATF for comment. The ATF said they are unable to comment on litigation.