The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has issued a new rule that instantly turned millions of U.S. gun owners into criminals after initially saying that the agency would not do so.
The ATF has banned so-called pistol-stabilizing braces as part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to criminalize as many firearms as he possibly can, the Second Amendment’s guaranteed “right to keep and bear arms” be damned.
“While firearms equipped with ‘stabilizing braces’ or other rearward attachments may be submitted to ATF for a new classification determination, a majority of the existing firearms equipped with a ‘stabilizing brace’ are likely to be classified as ‘rifles’ because they are configured for shoulder fire based on the factors described in this rule,” the ATF said in the rule. “Because many of these firearms generally have a barrel of less than 16 inches, they are likely to be classified as short-barreled rifles subject to regulation and registration under the [National Firearms Act (NFA)] and [Gun Control Act].”
The 296-page document outlines several options gun owners with stabilizing braces have to avoid prosecution.
“Any weapons with ‘stabilizing braces’ or similar attachments that constitute rifles under the NFA must be registered no later than 120 days after date of publication in the Federal Register, or the short barrel removed and a 16-inch or longer rifle barrel attached to the firearm; or permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the ‘stabilizing brace’ such that it cannot be reattached; or the firearm is turned in to your local ATF office. Or the firearm is destroyed,” he rule stated.
Not surprisingly, Attorney General Merrick Garland is defending the new rule, claiming that the braces were simply a way for gun owners to get past laws regulating or banning short-barreled rifles.
“Keeping our communities safe from gun violence is among the Department’s highest priorities,” read a statement from Garland last week.
“Almost a century ago, Congress determined that short-barreled rifles must be subject to heightened requirements. Today’s rule makes clear that firearm manufacturers, dealers, and individuals cannot evade these important public safety protections simply by adding accessories to pistols that transform them into short-barreled rifles,” he continued.
The ATF initially said in 2012 that the braces did not constitute any violation of existing federal law, but the leftists running Joe Biden’s administration begged to differ.
The new rule faces big-time opposition in Congress and will likely face legal challenges from states.
The Senate Republican caucus has already fired off a letter to Garland opposing the rule.
“The way the proposed rule is written makes clear that ATF intends to bring the most common uses of the most widely possessed stabilizing braces within the purview of the NFA,” the senators said in the letter. “Doing so 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.”
Erich Pratt, Gun Owners of America senior vice president, said his group is already drawing up a lawsuit.
“This administration continues to find new ways to attack gun owners, and this time their target is brace-equipped firearms that allow persons with disabilities to safely and effectively use pistols,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our industry partners to amplify the disapproving voices in the firearms industry, and the Gun Owners Foundation, our sister legal arm, will be filing suit in the near future.”