Durbin Statement On Failed Republican Effort To Weaken The National Firearms Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today voted against a Republican-sponsored Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal a vital gun safety regulation under the National Firearms Act.  Reversing this common sense provision would have weakened the regulation of stabilizing braces that can convert pistols into short-barreled rifles and that have been used in multiple recent mass shootings.  The resolution failed 49-50.  Before the vote, Durbin spoke on the Senate floor on this issue. 

Key Durbin quotes: 

“Americans cannot gather to celebrate a holiday, a graduation, or even a funeral without the ever-present threat of gun violence.  It goes without saying, but I'm going to repeat it—gunfire is the number one killer of America's children… One in five Americans have lost someone to gun violence.  That's unthinkable around the world, yet it's the American way, sadly.”

“Today, [we faced] an effort by Senate Republicans to take a gun safety law off the books… They want[ed] to overturn a regulation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that prevents people from turning pistols into short-barreled rifles.  This restriction is on devices known as stabilizing braces.” 

“For almost 90 years, short-barreled rifles have been controlled under the National Firearms Act—along with machine guns and sawed-off shotguns.  Why? Because short-barreled rifles combine the accuracy of a rifle with the concealability of a handgun.  It is a deadly combination.”

“At a time when gun violence is the number one killer of children… this makes no sense whatsoever.  But it defines the Republican Party's attitude towards gun control.”

“The ATF rule gives law-abiding gun owners plenty of options to comply.  Remove the stabilizing brace, attach a longer barrel, or register the weapon like any other short-barreled rifle, because that is what it is.”   

“The rule is common sense, and the last thing we should do is wipe it off the books.”

These devices, known as stabilizing braces, can be attached to certain pistols to enable them to be fired from the shoulder.  When attached to a pistol, stabilizing braces provide the accuracy of a rifle and the easy concealability of a handgun.  This kind of weapon was used in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, in 2019, allowing the mass shooter to kill nine people and injure 17.  A similar weapon was used to kill 10 people in a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in 2021, and to kill five and injure nine in Colorado Springs in 2022.  The shooter who killed three children and three adults at the Covenant School in Nashville also possessed this kind of weapon at the scene.

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here. 

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here. 

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.