On Monday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) at the behest of President Biden proposed a new rule that would make most firearms with stabilizing pistol braces illegal.
The rule could allegedly make millions of American gun owners felons overnight. They would be forced to register, turn in, or disassemble guns and possibly face federal felony charges. One estimate from the government states that as many as 40 million guns could be affected by the rule.
The proposed rule has not been published in the Federal Register yet. Interested parties will have 90 days to voice their views on it once it is published.
Senator Ted Cruz was shocked by Biden’s invasive move against gun owners: “This is a dangerous move and doesn’t actually stop crime. It’s just with a stroke of a pen, the Biden admin would be turning millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals.”
This is a dangerous move and doesn’t actually stop crime.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 10, 2021
“It will be the largest gun registration, destruction, and confiscation scheme in American history,” Alex Bosco told The Reload. He is the inventor of the stabilizing brace.
The rule embraces a complicated point system that is meant to determine whether a gun with a stabilizing brace should be classified as a pistol or as a short-barrel rifle that would require registration under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). Gun advocates claim the new proposed system is much worse than the old one. They assert the criteria for determining whether a brace is legal or not appears to be random.
“Today’s proposed rulemaking on pistol-braced firearms represents a gross abuse of executive authority,” proclaimed Aidan Johnston, who is the Director of Federal Affairs for Gun Owners of America, in a statement.
Bosco is ringing alarm bells over the rule stating that it would outlaw the vast majority of braces currently on the market. He contends that it reads like it was “reverse-engineered to make braces illegal” and called it “arbitrary and capricious.”
“The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on stabilizing braces has been published for public notice and comment pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act,” April Langwell, chief of the ATF’s Public Affairs Division, said in a statement. “The NPRM sets forth in detail the proposed rule, including its legal and factual basis. While the statutory notice and comment period is ongoing, ATF and the Department of Justice cannot further comment on the specific content of the proposed rule.”
The ATF contends that the rule is necessary to stop individuals from using pistol braces as a means to circumvent the NFA’s registration requirements. They also claim that the guns in question are “especially dangerous and unusual.” This statement in itself is seen as arbitrary since the ATF only lists two instances where pistol braces were used in mass shootings. Those include Boulder, Colorado, and Dayton, Ohio.
“Congress placed stricter requirements on the making and possession of ‘short-barreled rifles’ because it found them to pose a significant crime problem,” the agency noted in its proposal. “Providing clarity to the public and industry on how ATF enforces the provisions of the [National Firearms Act of 1934] through this proposed rule significantly enhances public safety and could reduce the criminal use of such firearms, which are easily concealable from the public and first responders.”
The rule stems from Biden’s executive actions taken in regards to gun control. Since he can’t get new restrictive and potentially unconstitutional laws through Congress, he is instead using his pen and federal agencies to work around the law. He has tasked the Department of Justice and ATF with creating proposals to ban ghost guns and certain pistol braces following mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado.
Over 8 million Americans bought a gun for the first time in 2020. His gun-control maneuvers could very well further hurt his standing and that of the Democrat Party among voters.
The Firearms Policy Coalition is considering legal action if the ATF’s brace rule goes into effect: “Just as FPC did when the Trump Administration’s DOJ lawlessly declared that bump-stocks were machine guns, we will use every available resource to defend the People’s human right to keep and bear arms from attacks by the ATF,” Adam Kraut, the group’s senior director of legal operations, declared in a statement. “We stand ready to defend the People, human liberty, and personal property in this rulemaking process and, if necessary, in court.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is taking a hard stance against the rule, calling it “unconstitutional.” In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Acting Director of the ATF Marvin Richardson, Paxton informed them he “strongly disagrees” with the proposed rule.
I strongly disagree with the recent notice of proposed “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces’” issued by the @ATFHQ. See my letter below ⬇️. The 2A shall NOT be infringed! #2A https://t.co/serRVbUmbZ
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) June 10, 2021
The standard the ATF is using “is far from objective, but rather confusing and subjective,” Paxton wrote. The ATF’s “ambiguous criteria could reclassify pistols with stabilizing braces into firearms subject to classification under the National Firearms Act, imposing upon owners a range of federal registration requirements and fees. And because the proposed rulemaking fails to notify millions of gun owners whether their firearm complies with federal law, it leaves law-abiding citizens guessing whether they are complying with the new standard or committing a federal crime.”
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