Almost every Republican in the U.S. Senate last week attached their name to a letter demanding that the Biden administration rescind a proposed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rule designed to regulate guns used with certain types of stabilizing braces, as Fox News reports.
The controversial measure, first raised by the Biden administration earlier this month, would result in the reclassification of a number of pistols that use stabilizing braces into the category of short-barreled rifles, guns which carry with them a federal licensing requirement pursuant to the National Firearms Act (NFA).
Fox News noted that the proposed rule was one of a series of gun control measures introduced by the current administration, purportedly in response to a number of mass shooting events earlier this year.
A letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the ATF that was signed by 48 Republican senators claims that the rule would “bring the most common uses of the most widely possessed stabilizing braces within the purview of the NFA,” an outcome that “would turn millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals overnight, and would constitute the largest executive branch-imposed gun registration and confiscation scheme in American history.”
According to the letter’s signatories, if the rule were to be made permanent, the administration would compel a large number of gun owners to pay a $200 tax on their existing pistols equipped with the covered stabilizing braces, expend resources to convert the guns into rifles, destroy the weapons, or relinquish them to federal authorities, as the Daily Wire noted.
The senators who signed also declared, “To one unfamiliar with stabilizing braces, AFT’s proposed rule and the accompanying regulatory analysis suggest that these braces are dangerous alterations to firearms designed to help criminals evade federal law. Nothing could be further from the truth, and ATF knows that. After all, it has repeatedly blessed their design, manufacture, sale, and use.”
Slamming the substance of the proposed rule as “vague, confusing, and largely subjective,” the GOP lawmakers claim that it “says nothing about how any individual gun owner, gun show, or manufacturer will go about determining whether an individual brace-equipped pistol” would be subject to the regulation,” a fact that is extremely unfair given that even “a good-faith error could land them in prison.”
The agency’s attempt to implement new restrictions on legal gun owners comes amid a dramatic increase in violent crime seen in communities across America, particularly in major cities such as Chicago and New York. Such a misguided priority is, according to the legislators “plain wrong,” and they urge the ATF to “correct this mistake and withdraw the proposed rule.”
Whether the Biden administration will ultimately reverse course remains to be seen, but the push for new and onerous gun control from this president and those pulling the strings inside the White House is unfortunately no surprise.