Biden’s ATF is cracking down on everything, from homemade firearms to pistol braces. But the NRA and patriotic lawmakers are bringing the heat just in time.
During his recent State of the Union address, President Biden demonized AR-15s as “assault weapons” even though only one cartridge is expended each time the trigger is pressed, and despite the fact that these rifles are used for lawful purposes every day, with over 24.4 million in circulation today. Also, Biden failed to mention that over half of the country opposes this ban on millions of firearms, as the National Shooting Sports Foundation recently reported.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg for the Biden’s war on the second amendment. With the exception of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (which didn’t ban or place restrictions on specific types of firearms, but instead dumped hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into mental health programs), Biden’s administration hasn’t made much headway with gun control through Congress. So the commander in chief and his stewards decided to weaponize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) instead.
The ATF’s Crackdown on Firearms Parts and Serial Numbers
Biden’s ATF appears to be the latest government agency to reenact George Orwell’s 1984 with their language alterations. Case in point is their sudden reclassification firearms parts as firearms. They have now changed the definition of “firearm” to “include unfinished pistols that would only require a small amount of time and effort to complete.” They are also punishing gun manufacturers that sell firearms without serial numbers.
Over the past year, we have seen the CDC change the definition of vaccine, Merriam Webster change the definition of “anti-vaxxer” and then the White House redefined the term “economic recession.” Now this mirroring of 1984’s Newspeak is impacting the firearms industry and citizens’ right to bear arms.
Under the ATF’s new rules, a pistol frame that has no associated jig and doesn’t even operate as a firearm, is now defined as a firearm and requires serial numbers and background checks, simply because they can be used in a crime.
From an open letter that the ATF addressed to federal firearms licensees on December 27:
“[P]artially complete Polymer80, Lone Wolf, and similar striker-fired semiautomatic pistol frames, including, but not limited to, those sold within parts kits, have reached a stage of manufacture where they ‘may readily be completed, assembled, restored, or otherwise converted’ to a functional frame,” the letter reads. “Therefore, even without any associated templates, jigs, molds, equipment, tools, instructions, guides, or marketing materials, these partially complete pistol frames are ‘frames’ and also ‘firearms’ as defined in the [Gun Control Act] and its implementing regulations.”
I discussed these new developments with Philip Smith, founder and president of National African American Gun Association (NAAGA). He says that in theory, he understands the concept of concern over criminals having access to guns. But, Smith says “when you have people that are just building a gun for their own leisure and their own home and they’re not selling that gun, I really do not see the harm in that, and I’m not trying to be dismissive or flippant.” In the end, he says these regulations interfere with American liberty and not only endanger law-abiding citizens, but remove their favorite pastimes and passions as well. Smith likens individuals who build firearms as a hobby to someone that enjoys building and breaking down cars. “And I just think that takes away from the spirit of this country that I know, where people are allowed to enjoy the merits of being an American. And I’m not trying to be super patriotic but I am trying to be realistic that folks like building guns at home, a lot of them. So that’s just my perspective.”
The ATF Redefines “Rifle” with New Pistol Brace Regulations
As many suspected, the crusade to “close the ghost gun loophole” by requiring serials numbers was only the beginning of this power grab by Biden’s ATF. Now, they have gone as far as to criminalize handicapped gun owners. In the latest set of shenanigans from this new trend of bypassing Congress to create laws, the ATF has created a rule that now requires pistol brace owners to register their pistols as “short barrel rifles” (SBRs) with the federal government. If these legal gun owners fail to comply, they could spend up to 10 years in jail and face a fine of up to $10,000.
So here we go with the Biden ATF’s Newspeak. Once again changing language as they redefine “rifle” to be any weapon that is ““designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.” The ATF is giving gun owners 120 days to register their gun as a short barrel rifle, and they will also be slapped with a $200 tax. Aside from registering their gun as an SBR, the only other option for pistol brace owners will be to dismantle the firearm, surrender it to authorities, remove the brace or convert the gun with a different barrel. If the brace is removed, gun owners will also have to make sure the attachment is destroyed, making it unable to be reinstalled, or else they will be in violation of the ATF’s rule.
Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb told the Daily Caller News Foundation that it’s Congress that has the authority to define what a firearm is, not the ATF. The NRA says that the ATF has no authority to regulate braces separate from a firearm.
I asked Mark Oliva, Director of Public Affairs at National Shooting Sports Foundation, his thoughts on this latest move to regulate pistol braces. Incidentally, the ATF had a booth at Shot Show, which is the NSSF-sponsored trade show for the firearms industry that just took place in January. “There are concerns that some of these regulations have no foundation in law, it is up to Congress to decide what is law, and what is especially criminal law,” says Oliva. “So when we talk about the definition of firearms and punishments that can go with it for illegal possession and illegal manufacturing for firearms, that is up to Congress.”
Oliva said that since the ATF is the industry’s regulating body, the NSSF tries to maintain a professional relationship with them and work with them in whatever capacity possible while also staying within the confines of the law. He says that the ATF’s booth tends to be one of the busiest at Shot Show, and he thinks it’s important the retailers, manufacturers, dealers and others from the gun industry have the opportunity to ask the ATF any questions they have. But regarding concerns over whether these new ATF regulations are unconstitutional, he likens this situation to the Supreme Court decision in June which restricted the EPA’s authority to mandate carbon emissions reductions:
“The US Supreme Court said that the EPA was promulgating their own rules with force of law that had no foundation in law, they had to go back to Congress to do that so there are concerns, we expect there to be some challenges,” says Oliva. “In the meantime we’re trying to make sure that we’re doing our best to ensure that our manufacturers, our retailers and dealers can stay within the confines of the law, make sure they’re not running afoul of that, and [that these organizations are] able to stay in business.”
The Pistol Brace Backlash
Many fear that these ATF regulations would leave the door wide open for the Biden administration’s previously-expressed desire to create a national firearms registry and confiscate weapons. This is why patriotic lawmakers like Louisiana senator John Kennedy and Florida Representative Matt Gaetz brought the backlash in a heartbeat.
Senate Republicans John Kennedy (Louisiana) and Roger Marshall (Kansas) immediately got to work with a Congressional Review Act they plan to introduce, which would render the ATF pistol brace rule null and void if it passes with a simple majority. Marshall stated:
“The Biden administration’s war on every American’s fundamental right to bear arms is relentless and an offense to our founders. Congress must use every tool at its disposal to stop the Biden ATF from enacting this unconstitutional gun grab and creating its newly proposed anti-2nd Amendment gun registry. The Congressional Review Act is one of those important tools, and I’m pleased to co-lead this effort with Senator Kennedy.”
A corresponding Congressional Review Act was drawn up by the House as well, spearheaded by Republican Rep Andrew Clyde (Georgia).
And another member of the House, Republican Dan Crenshaw from Texas, is reintroducing the ATF Accountability Act with bipartisan support, thanks to the bill’s co-sponsor, Democrat Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar. This legislation would create a formal procedure for firearms dealers, importers and manufacturers to appeal ATF regulations, which the ATF must respond to within 30 days of the appeal. Then the attorney general is required to respond to these inquiries within 90 days, and business owners appealing ATF regulations will also have the opportunity to have an administrative law judge hear their appeal.
Representative Matt Gaetz wants to take this all a step further and completely abolish the ATF. A few weeks ago, Gaetz introduced H.R.374, the “Abolish the ATF Act,”
The ATF has claimed that the rule regarding pistol braces doesn’t apply to the stabilizing braces used by disabled gun owners. Instead, they claim these new regulations apply to the pistol braces that are used for shouldering the weapon as a rifle.
But Gaetz told Fox News Digital that “the people at the ATF making these rules fundamentally don’t understand firearms.”
“I think they are under the flawed conception that a stabilizing brace increases the lethality or danger of a pistol,” says Gaetz. “It seems the ATF is on a snipe hunt for regulatory action that virtue signals to the anti-gun left, but that has no real practical safety impact on Americans.”
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty estimates there are over 40 million of these braces in the United States. And a lawsuit has been filed against the ATF on behalf of three military veterans who own these stabilizing braces. One of them is Darren Britto, a marine combat veteran and manager of training at Silverback Independent, LLC, Darren Britto. After suffering a rotator cuff injury, Britto had his pistol brace custom made.
“By having the brace I can affix it to my forearm and be able to have better control of the fire arm,” says Britto.
And to add to what is mentioned above, the NRA and 25 states have just joined forces to file a lawsuit against the Biden administration to stop the unconstitutional pistol brace rule. One thing is clear: Biden’s ATF has certainly entered new territory. And in coming weeks and months the firearms industry, members of Congress and other concerned citizens and businesses are likely to turn this pistol brace backlash into a full-on riptide.