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Millions of Americans are About to Become Felons

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The majority of Americans are oblivious that a new rule from President Biden’s ATF will transform millions of our fellow citizens into felons overnight in less than two weeks.

The new regulation applies to pistol-braced firearms, which are firearms with a brace. Originally designed in 2012 to assist disabled veterans in firing guns independently, these attachments rapidly gained popularity among firearms devotees as an enjoyable and fascinating new way to use guns and shoot targets.

Contrary to claims, these stabilizers do not increase the rate of fire, lethality, or efficacy of firearms in the hands of a person intent on taking innocent lives. While activists cite an extremely uncommon instance in which one of these plastic pieces was attached to a firearm used in a high-profile homicide, this does not mean that it emboldened or aided the perpetrators in their evil deed.

Then why is this administration proceeding with this rule? The only reasonable conclusion is that this agency and administration are intent on harassing law-abiding gun owners at every opportunity, and this rule would cast a wide net. The Congressional Research Service, an independent, nonpartisan research branch of Congress, estimates that as many as forty million of these reinforced weapons are currently in circulation. Under this new rule, existing owners who fail to register, destroy, or surrender their firearms to the ATF could face felony charges carrying a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

Millions of Americans, our friends and neighbors, are (no pun intended) gazing down the muzzle of a loaded gun for possessing a firearm that this agency had previously affirmed was legal to own.

Once the rule was formalized at the end of January, Gun Owners of America coupled up with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to challenge it in Federal Court, as such a significant issue is not suited for bureaucrats to decide with a pen stroke. This is a question that should be decided by the representatives of the people. A coalition of other state attorneys general filed a similar legal challenge, and we are sanguine that the judges will concur with us that the ATF went far too far.

Nonetheless, Congress has an urgent solution to this dilemma. Under the Congressional Review Act, both chambers may pass a resolution of disapproval to invalidate a regulation, and sure, a vote in the Senate would not be subject to filibuster rules.

The Republican-controlled House has already passed the resolution out of committee and should vote on it before the Memorial Day weekend recess. This would require the Senate’s vulnerable Democrats in gun-friendly states to go on record: Will you vote to enable this administration to make a large number of your constituents overnight felons? Senators Tester, Manchin, Sinema, Shaheen, Hassan, and King, I am looking at you.

The total number of braces registered with the agency since the grace period began seems dismal, based on the discussions we’ve had within the gun industry and Second Amendment community. We suspect that, despite the fact that all owners of unregistered pistol braces will shortly be subject to prosecution, the vast majority of those in possession are oblivious of the legal risk they face. This is a poor policy.

President Biden has made it plain through his actions and words that his administration does not support firearms or gun owners. This is not the first significant executive action he has taken against gun owners – consider his prohibition on home-made firearms – and we know it won’t be the last. These attachments do not increase the lethality of firearms; rather, they are designed for entertainment purposes or to enable the disabled to discharge a firearm independently. Congress must act swiftly to halt this rule and signal to the courts that the ATF has gone too far.

SourceTown Hall

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