Almost the entire Republican Senate caucus on Thursday signed a letter demanding the withdrawal of a proposed ATF rule that would regulate certain handgun stabilizer orthodontic appliances.
The rule, which was proposed on June 7, would reclassify many pistols used with stabilizer slings to short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own under the National Firearms Act.
“The way the proposed rule is worded makes it clear that the ATF intends to bring the most common uses of the most popular stabilization devices within the purview of the NFA.” 48 Republican senators wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Acting ATF Director Marvin Richardson in the letter, which was originally obtained by The Reload.
“It would turn millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals overnight and be the largest executive-imposed gun registration and confiscation program in US history.”
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Attorney General Merrick Garland unveiled the rule alongside a host of other gun control measures the Biden administration is pushing forward following a series of mass shootings to begin 2021.
“We have published a proposed rule to clarify that pistols fitted with certain stabilizer straps are subject to the same statutory restrictions as easily concealed short-barreled shotguns,” Garland said at the White House Wednesday.
Stabilizer braces extend rearward from the rear portion of a handgun and attach to a shooter’s firearm, making it easier to handle larger, short-stock guns.
As the Congressional Research Service notes, the first pistol stabilizer splints were “designed to help a veteran and service-bound amputee with firing an AR-type handgun alone. “
Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina led 140 House Republicans to call for the rule to be repealed last week, arguing that it “jeopardizes the rights of law-abiding gun owners and elders. disabled combatants â.
âIf these guidelines come into effect, a disabled veteran who has chosen the best stabilizing brace for his disability is now a criminal unless he returns or destroys the firearm, destroys the brace, or pays a fee. $ 200 tax. Representative Hudson wrote in a letter to Garland and Richardson on June 14.
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According to the ATF, the proposed rule would not affect stabilization devices which are “designed to comply arm “, but only devices designed to be pulled from the shoulder.
“Where a so-called ‘stabilization splint’ and the objective design characteristics of an attached weapon indicate that the firearm is actually designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder, such a weapon may enter the field. scope of the NFA, requiring registration and payment of the tax “, the proposed rule bed.
“Accordingly, the ATF must assess on a case-by-case basis whether a particular firearm configured with a ‘stabilizer brace’ exhibits the objective characteristics of a firearm designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder and is therefore subject to the NFA. “
Republican senators, however, argue that the ATF criteria are “vague, confusing and largely subjective.”
“The proposed rule says nothing about how a gun owner, gun store, or manufacturer will determine whether an individual pistol equipped with a corset is an SBR under the criteria of the proposed rule.” , wrote the Senators.
“Does ATF expect individuals to themselves apply the vague and confusing criteria of the proposed rule, knowing that a good faith mistake could lead them to jail?” “
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The proposed rule will be open to the public for comment until September 8 and has already received over 100,000 such comments.