Dozens of Republican Senators demanded that Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration reverse course on a proposed ATF rule that would “turn millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals overnight” and would represent “the largest executive branch-imposed gun registration and confiscation scheme in American history.”
The senators warned in a letter that the move by the Biden administration would force millions of Americans to have to either pay a $200 tax on pistols that feature a stabilizing brace, spend even more money converting the pistol into a rifle, destroy the weapon, or turn the weapon over to the Biden administration.
The Reload reports:
They warned the reclassification would mean owners who don’t register their guns would face felony charges and up to 10 years in federal prison per gun. … The letter comes as negative public comments have flooded in on the proposal. Americans have already submitted over 100,000 comments and dozens of the comments reviewed by The Reload showed universal opposition to the proposal. If the proposal receives enough opposition, it could be pulled like other rule-change proposals in the past, including a similar pistol brace ban proposed last year and an Obama Administration attempt to ban a type of ammunition commonly used in AR-15s.
However, President Joe Biden doubled down on the brace ban Wednesday in his newly announced strategy to combat the rise in violent crime. The ATF cited just two crimes committed with braced pistols—mass shootings in Ohio and Colorado—in the proposal but did not explain whether the brace contributed to those crimes. The Republican senators said the proposal would do nothing to reduce the recent murder spike.
“To one unfamiliar with stabilizing braces, ATF’s proposed rule and the accompanying regulatory analysis suggest that these braces are dangerous alterations to firearms designed to help criminals evade federal law,” the senators said. “Nothing could be further from the truth, and ATF knows that. After all, it has repeatedly blessed their design, manufacture, sale, and use.”
“The impetus for the manufacture of stabilizing braces was to assist disabled combat veterans in shooting large pistol platforms that were otherwise too cumbersome for a disabled shooter to use,” the letter continued. “In 2012, ATF announced that attaching a stabilizing brace to an AR-type pistol did not convert that pistol-regulated by the [Gun Control Act]-into a short-barreled rifle (SBR) regulated by the [National Firearm Act] and subject to the NFA’s taxation and registration regime. In 2015, ATF announced that attaching a stabilizing brace to a pistol that could allow the pistol to be fired from the shoulder converted that pistol into an SBR. Just two years later, however, in a letter to a manufacturer, ATF appeared to rescind its indefensible 2015 ruling. ATF thereafter issued private letter rulings blessing a wide array of stabilizing brace configurations from a host of manufacturers.”
Only two Republican Senators did not sign the letter, Rob Portman (OH), who is not seeking reelection, and Susan Collins (ME).
The senators noted that the move by the Biden administration comes as “a crime wave is sweeping America.”
“These aren’t broken-windows crimes; they are violent crimes like murder, assault, and robbery,” the letter said. “But rather than cracking down on the criminals who are turning America’s cities into warzones, ATF and the Department of Justice have decided to go after law-abiding gun owners who are minding their own business and using equipment that ATF seemingly blessed in 2017.”
“This is plain wrong,” the letter concluded. “The proposed rule is worse than merely abdicating your responsibility to protect Americans from criminals; you’re threatening to turn law-abiding Americans into criminals by imposing the largest executive branch-initiated gun registration and confiscation program in American history. We urge you to turn back. Correct this mistake and withdraw the proposed rule.”
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