Washington, DC –Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the United States Conference of Mayors, sent a letter to the leaders of the House Judiciary Committee in advance of its meeting today in which it is scheduled to markup H.J. Res. 44, a legislative effort to undo action by the Biden Administration to limit the availability of deadly weapons that could be used in mass shootings. In the wake of numerous mass shootings across the country in recent weeks, the measure would reverse a rule published by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that seeks to keep short-barreled rifles off our streets, effectively making it easier for killers to access weapons of war. This letter follows one sent by more than 160 mayors from across the country to Congress earlier this week urging lawmaker to take action to reduce gun violence.
Cochran wrote, in part: “The U.S. Conference of Mayors is committed to doing everything possible to reduce the terrible toll gun violence is taking on our people and our nation. H.J. Res. 44 would do the exact opposite and must be defeated.”
The full text of the letter to Congress can be found here and below:
Dear Chairman Jordan and Ranking Member Nadler:
I write to register the strong opposition of the nation’s mayors to H.J. Res. 44, which would repeal the pistol brace rule published by ATF in the Federal Register on January 31 of this year and thereby allow for the continuing proliferation of dangerous short-barreled rifles on America’s streets. We urge you to vote against H.J. Res. 44 in tomorrow’s markup.
A stabilizing brace was used to kill three nine-year-old children and three adults in the Covenant School in Nashville on March 27, and this wasn’t the first time such a brace was used. They were also used in the 2021 white supremacist mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, CO, and the 2019 mass shooting in downtown Dayton, where nine people were killed and 26 others were injured in just 32 seconds.
Nullifying the federal rule around “stabilizing braces” would make it easier for mass shooters to access weapons of war and would weaken ATF’s authority to enforce a law that has been on the books for nearly 100 years. It would also nullify the President’s common-sense executive order issued in 2021 and finalized in 2023 to stop the gun industry from dangerously misbranding “stabilizing braces” and allow the gun industry to circumvent the requirements of the 1934 National Firearms Act to turn pistols into more lethal short-barreled rifles, making it appealing to mass shooters. H.J. Res. 44 would roll back the sensible requirement that those who seek to purchase a “stabilizing brace” undergo the same increased scrutiny as those purchasing short-barreled rifles, including registering the firearm, submitting a photo and fingerprints, and undergoing a background check.
This rule ensures that such “stabilizing braces” are properly classified and aren’t easily possessed by individuals seeking to cause mass violence. And while true stabilizing braces are intended to aid shooters with disabilities, these devices have been marketed erroneously as “stabilizing braces” intentionally to circumvent the regulations for short-barreled rifles. The new ATF rule will in no way affect those individuals with disabilities who use a stabilizing brace that does not transform a pistol into a short-barreled rifle.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is committed to doing everything possible to reduce the terrible toll gun violence is taking on our people and our nation. H.J. Res. 44 would do the exact opposite and must be defeated.
CEO and Executive Director
The United States Conference of Mayors