The star β Pictoris hosts the best studied circumstellar disk to date. Nonetheless, a long-standing puzzle has been around since the detection of metallic gas in the disk: radiation pressure from the star should blow the gas away, yet the observed motion is consistent with Keplerian rotation. In this work we search for braking mechanisms that can resolve this discrepancy. We find that all species affected by radiation force are largely ionized and dynamically coupled into a single fluid by Coulomb collisions, reducing the radiation force on species feeling the strongest acceleration. For a gas of solar composition, the effective radiation force still exceeds gravity, while a gas of enhanced carbon abundance could be self-braking. We also explore two other braking agents: collisions with dust grains and neutral gas. Grains surrounding β Pic are photoelectrically charged to a positive electrostatic potential. If a significant fraction of the grains are carbonaceous (10% in the midplane and larger at higher altitudes), ions can be slowed down to satisfy the observed velocity constraints. For neutral gas to brake the ion fluid, we find a minimum required mass ~0.03 M⊕, consistent with observed upper limits on the hydrogen column density and substantially reduced relative to previous estimates. Our results favor a scenario in which metallic gas is generated by grain evaporation in the disk, perhaps during grain-grain collisions. We exclude a primordial origin for the gas but cannot rule out its production by falling evaporating bodies near the star.