Measure passed by House would make mass shootings easier

Washington, DC – Today, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) sent a letter to U.S. Senators calling on them to oppose a measure that would make it easier for mass shooters to access deadly weapons and weaken enforcement at a time of heightened gun violence in American cities. The measure, H.J Res. 44, would reverse a recent rule regulating so-called pistol braces, which stabilize weapons and have been used in several mass shootings. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation earlier this month.

The letter, from USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran, says in part, “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.”

Since 1968, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has supported commonsense and comprehensive strategies to reduce gun violence.

Full text of the letter can be found below, and a copy is linked here:

June 22, 2023

Dear Senator:

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives approved 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 understand that it is expected to be considered by the Senate today. I write to register the strong opposition of the nation’s mayors to H.J. Res. 44 and urge you oppose it when it comes up for a vote.

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. Such braces were also used in the 2021 white supremacist mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, CO, and in 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.


Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director