The Justice Department has finalized tougher gun regulations

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is finalizing tougher gun rules on accessories called stabilizer braces, a gun control move President Joe Biden has touted after the devices have been used in mass shootings in recent years.

The rule, made official on Friday, was one of several measures Biden announced after a gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado in April 2021. A stabilizing brace was also used in the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that killed nine people.

The new rule treats firearms with accessories as short-barreled shotguns, which are similar to sawed-off shotguns and have been strictly regulated since the 1930s.

According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, handgun stabilizer straps make a handgun a weapon with equal lethality and ease of concealment.

READ MORE: An Oregon judge has struck down a voter-approved ban on large-capacity handgun magazines

“Today’s rule makes clear that gun manufacturers, dealers and individuals cannot avoid these important public safety protections by adding accessories to their guns that convert them to short-barreled shotguns. Garland said.

“Simply put, this rule increases public safety,” said Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Republicans and gun rights groups, such as the National Rifle Association, have criticized the provision, which has pointed out that it was originally designed for disabled veterans. The Second Amendment Foundation has said it will file a lawsuit against the hand test rule.

The group Everytown for Gun Safety applauded the ATF’s decision, saying gun makers are taking advantage of loopholes in the law to make guns more deadly.

The rule is expected to go into effect next week. After it goes into effect, anyone who owns a firearm with a stabilizer must register the gun with the federal government.

Authorities estimate that approximately 3 million immobilizers are currently in circulation in the United States.

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