As Pistol Brace Ban Begins, Wyoming Gun Owners Urged To Lawyer Up

Court Injunctions against federal restrictions on pistol braces that went into effect Thursday apply only to certain people. Everybody else should get a lawyer, a Wyoming Second Amendment rights activist says.

Mark Heinz

June 01, 20233 min read

Restrictions on pistol braces went into effect Thursday.
Restrictions on pistol braces went into effect Thursday. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Recent injunctions in Texas courts protect only certain gun owners against federal restrictions on “pistol braces” that began Thursday. Everybody else should lawyer up, says a Wyoming gun rights activist.

“We’ve recommended that citizens who still have questions (about the pistol brace ruling) consult an attorney at this point,” said Mark Jones of Buffalo, a spokesman for Gun Owners of America.

Many gun owners with pistol braces installed on certain firearms could be considered felons and face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, Guns.Com reported Thursday.

Blame It Bonnie And Clyde

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in January issued a ruling that classifies firearms outfitted with pistol braces as “short-barreled rifles,” which are subject to restrictions under the 1934 Firearms Act.

The ruling gave gun owners until May 31 to comply.

The 1934 Firearms Act also restricts weapons like submachine guns (such as the iconic “Tommy Gun”) and sawed-of shotguns. It was implemented in response to gangsters of that time using such firearms. Bandits were fond of stuffing compact firepower under their jackets and trenchcoats.

Break Is For GOA Members, Texans Only

The ruling was met with a flurry of legal challenges. Two recently stuck in the 5th District Court in Texas, resulting in an injunction against the ATF’s ruling.

The problem is, only certain parties directly named in the legal actions are covered by the injunction, Jones told Cowboy State Daily.

“The injunction only gives relief to GOA members across America, and Texans. I assume the judge did that because GOA sued, along with the Texas Attorney General. He only granted relief to the people these two entities represented. This is regrettable, because we asked for relief for all Americans,” Jones said.

“Everyone else needs to comply with the ATF or risk becoming a felon,” he added.

Remove, Or Register And Pay $200 Tax

Millions of Americans, including many in Wyoming, own firearms such as AR-15 pistols that have been outfitted with braces, stabilizing them or allowing them to be fired with greater accuracy from the shoulder.

To comply with the ATF ruling, owners must remove the braces or register the firearms as short-barreled rifles, which require a $200 tax stamp.

GOA and many unaffiliated gun owners are adamantly against mass firearm registration, Jones previously told Cowboy State Daily.

‘What’s Next; I Can’t Lift My Truck?’

Firearms owner Chris Amos of Riverton told Cowboy State Daily that he thinks the ruling is arbitrary and an example of government overreach.

“It’s just a distraction from something bigger, I’m sure. Personally, I don’t see how a short-barreled rifle is more dangerous than a long-barreled pistol,” he said.

“What’s next, I can’t life MY truck, or paint MY house yellow?” he added. “I fail to see how MY property is the government’s business.”

Jones said he hopes the ATF ruling is eventually struck down entirely.

“It is a frustrating ruling in many ways,” he said. “Congress still can pass legislation, but the ATF’s deadline is here in the meantime.”

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter