Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) revealed a bill on Wednesday that would terminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
“House Republicans have the ATF in our crosshairs,” Gaetz said in a tweet. “The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on their repeated actions to convert law-abiding citizens into felons. My bill today would abolish the ATF once and for all.”
Gaetz told Fox News the “final straw” came last week when the Justice Department announced a new rule to tighten ATF regulations on stabilizing braces that ATF Director Steven Dettelbach said essentially turn pistols into more dangerous short-barreled rifles, which are subject to more security checks.
While Attorney General Merrick Garland and Dettelbach characterized the rule as being part of an effort to crack down on gun violence and bolster public safety, gun rights advocates cast the changes as unconstitutional overreach that could adversely affect millions of citizens.
Gaetz particularly raised concerns about disabled veterans in his district who depend on stabilizing braces, and shrugged off ATF’s assurance that exemptions exist for individuals with disabilities because it could lead to arduous “case-by-case determinations.”
Gaetz, who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, co-sponsored a bill introduced in 2021 by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) that aimed to dismantle the ATF. At the time, Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, but now Republicans are in charge of the House.
If his bill to abolish ATF fails, Gaetz said there will be other actions taken against the agency, including a bid to defund it. The congressman also told Fox News there is “broad support” among Republicans to “go after the actions of ATF.”