“We are not going to run the narrative that more guns equals more safety,” The Missoulian, January 31, 2023.
While we believe that guns on net do make people safer, that isn’t the point of the piece that the Missoulian turned down. What the article said is much narrower. The Biden administration didn’t provide any evidence that pistol stabilizing braces make attacks more lethal or discuss that guns are used defensively. If they aren’t willing to run a piece that says that the administration isn’t providing any evidence to back up their new regulation, does that mean they won’t run pieces that criticize any gun control regulations? The piece was also submitted to the Montana Standard, the Billings Gazette, and the Missoula Current, but none were interested in it. Only the Missoulian explained why they wouldn’t take the piece.
This is the piece that Dr. Lott submitted.
The Biden administration’s newly released regulations regarding “pistol-stabilizing braces” will instantly turn tens of thousands of law-abiding Americans into felons and create a national rifle registry. Worse, the Biden administration and the media exaggerate the costs and ignore the benefits these braces produce for the disabled.
Despite ample warnings that Steven Dettelbach, a controversial gun control advocate, would pursue these policies when confirmed as director of the ATF, he was narrowly confirmed and Montana’s Jon Tester voted for him.
Stabilizing braces for pistols were originally designed to allow wounded and disabled veterans who may have lost the use of part of their hand to hold handguns. They are essentially a strap attached to the gun. Disabled individuals are often viewed as easy targets by criminals, and stabilizers make it easier to defend themselves. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) originally approved pistol braces during the Obama administration.
There are plenty disabled veterans, such as Rick Cicero, who lost his right arm in an explosion in Afghanistan and can still use a gun today because of the pistol-stabilizing brace. But outside of a brief mention in a Fox News story, news articles on the new regulations never mention that these braces help the disabled and make it possible for them to defend themselves.
Obama was hardly a friend of gun ownership, but now the Biden administration has undone the Obama administration’s decision. The ATF now concludes that any foreign-made pistols with stabilizing braces violate the law and are retroactively considered rifles and violate the size requirement for rifles. The ATF leaves only two options: the destruction of the guns or their surrender to ATF.
Putting aside that the ATF isn’t Congress and can’t make up new laws to redefine what a rifle is, their logic is baffling. Take two otherwise identical guns, one with a pistol brace and one that never had a pistol brace: Even if the pistol brace is removed from the gun to which it was attached, it is still banned. Meanwhile, the gun that never had the brace attached could have one added, just as easily as the gun that previously had the pistol brace could have it reattached – but only the gun that once had a pistol brace attached to it is banned.
Of course, how the ATF is supposed to know whether you used to have the pistol brace attached to the gun is a mystery. Nor is it obvious why functionally identical foreign-made pistols should be treated differently than domestically manufactured ones.
This started after President Biden cited a crime in 2021 in Colorado – where a shooter used a pistol stabilizing brace when attacking shoppers in a grocery store – to call for classifying such brace-affixed pistols as machine guns. Ahmed Al Alwi murdered 10 people at close range in a Boulder, Colorado grocery store. A previous shooting in 2019 by Connor Betts, in Dayton, Ohio, also involved a pistol brace. These are the only two such cases and, more importantly, neither of them had any difficulty holding their guns and all their shots were fired at a short distance. There is no evidence the brace made any difference in their ability to carry out the attacks. There has been no surge in crime by the disabled or others using these braces.
Gun control advocates make no attempt to provide evidence that these two attacks were any more lethal with stabilizing braces. The cost will be to the disabled Americans who will now have a harder time being able to defend themselves and their families.