By: José Niño
The ATF has made recent waves for its proposal to prohibit and register popular firearms accessories such as pistol braces, which could affect millions of gun owners.
To their credit, the 19 Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee signed on to a letter directed to the government agency on July 16, 2021, inquiring about the nature of this proposal.
At the pro-Second Amendment website, The Reload, Stephen Gutowski reported that the group of representatives demanded “to know how the proposal was conceived, who wrote it, and if outside agencies worked on it. The lawmakers are giving the ATF until the end of the month to answer those questions.”
“ATF’s regulatory notice is deeply flawed, beyond the scope of its authority, contrary to years of previous ATF opinions, and harmful to millions of law-abiding American firearm owners,” the Republican congressmen proclaimed in the letter.
This letter represents a recent effort by the grassroots movement, which has successfully pressured Republicans, to halt the prohibition of firearms featuring shorter barrels and specialized braces in lieu of stocks. The popular AR-15 variant makes for an easy target in this case, due to Gun Control Inc.’s obsession with AR-15 bans.
The House is following in the Senate’s footsteps in pushing the ATF to reverse course on this decision. Towards the end of June, all of the Republican Senate caucus sent a letter to the Department of Justice and ATF calling on the Department of Justice and ATF to scrap this proposal. Over the past few weeks, Americans have submitted north of 100,000 public comments to the Federal Register in opposition to the ATF’s arbitrary regulation.
The principal argument being used by opponents of the ATF is that this new regulation would turn the roughly 10 million owners (per numbers from the Congressional Research Service) of these accessories into federal felons if they don’t register the items with the ATF.
The Republicans who submitted the letter contend that the Biden administration is broadening the scope of the ATF’s power well beyond the limits Congress had previously established.
“Congress has not criminalized the use of a pistol arm-stabilizing brace under the GCA or allowed for its regulation under the NFA,” the Republican lawmakers remarked. “Through its proposed rule, ATF seeks to subject stabilizing braces to GCA criminal penalties and NFA regulation without Congressional prohibition of the underlying activity.”
The Republicans made the case that the standards the ATF put forth in attempting to determine if the pistol brace is legal are “arbitrary and capricious.” Additionally, these Republicans criticized the ATF for contradicting determinations that it made previously regarding the legality of many braces.
In brief, Republicans called on the ATF to reverse course and throw away its regulatory proposal.
“ATF’s regulation would amount to an unconstitutional infringement of fundamental Second Amendment rights,” the Republican elected officials said. “We strongly urge ATF to abandon its proposed rule.”
Anti-gun Democrats are finding it increasingly difficult to see through their gun control agenda via the traditional legislative process. At the end of the day, they simply don’t have the votes. But that doesn’t deter leftists from pursuing other means to defang the Second Amendment. That’s where ATF and similar bureaucracies enter the picture.
The unaccountable nature of the bureaucracies, where their employees and higher-ups aren’t subject to electoral pressures, allow them to unilaterally enact anti-freedom measures that would generally die in committees, either in the Senate or the House. The ATF’s latest proposal illustrates the lengths anti-gun forces will go to score some kind of win against the Second Amendment.
Pro-gun activists should exercise constant vigilance and be ready to expose the ATF’s machinations. If worse comes to worst, states will have to nullify the ATF’s unconstitutional edicts.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at email@example.com. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.