ARKANSAS, USA — Update: The new regulation was finalized, which means nearly all gun owners who use a stabilizing brace will have to register their weapons with the government. Click HERE for more info.
Later this month, gun owners that use a brace stabilizer might have to register it with the government or risk the possibility of receiving a felony.
There are three main classifications for guns: a handgun, a rifle, and a short-barreled rifle.
A short-barreled rifle has more restrictions and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), is expected to add one more restriction before 2023.
In just a few weeks, new regulations from the ATF could change the classification of a handgun with a brace stabilizer to a short-barreled rifle.
Nathan House with the Arkansas Armory explained the reason behind the change.
"Even though [the brace stabilizer] was intended and designed to be a brace, certain people were using it from the shoulder. And [the ATF is] concerned that, that now changes the classification of this thing into a short-barreled rifle, when, for the past 10 years, it hasn't been," he described.
House added that the upcoming restriction to treat a brace like a bump stock has already confused some of his customers.
"That's a lot of gun owners that the ATF is saying now look, you're gonna have to turn in that property, destroy that property or register it," House said.
UALR law professor, Robert Steinbuch, said how the debate between gun control and second amendment rights can add further confusion.
"You do tend to see this swinging back and forth. ATF has unfortunately become politicized, not as an agency, but by those that are controlling it by administrations," Steinbuch explained.
Activists such as Lindsay Nichols with Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said that these braces need to be restricted for public safety.
"[Braces] make these [guns] easy to manage, essentially, so that they function like an AR-15 rifle... mass shooters are choosing these because they are extremely dangerous," Nichols said.
This decision comes at the end of a year with record mass shootings across the country.
"Registration means that the people who own these guns go through a very thorough background check, and they know they will be held accountable if these guns are used in a crime," Nichols added, in support of the expected registration requirement for braces.
The braced weapons would require federal registration and a tax, or the risk of a felony. House explained that this is unlike the requirements of a regular riffle.
House explained that the new classification would impact about 40 million gun owners nationwide, and at least 200,000 in Arkansas.
"If you've got 40 million more applicants just trying to register a pistol brace, if they even chose to do that, then it's going to totally back the system up," House added.
The Armory has already stopped their sales of the brace, as they are expecting the change to happen in the next few weeks.