Blog 3/24/23

Weekly Spotlight 3/25/23 – 3/31/23

Important Steps Taken to Rein in the Out-of-Control ATF 

Yesterday, two committees in the U.S. House of Representatives held a joint hearing to examine recent actions taken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) aimed at restricting Americans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.  The hearing, appropriately titled, “ATF’s Assault on the Second Amendment: When is Enough Enough?” demonstrated the new House majority’s commitment to defending the rights law-abiding gun owners from an overbearing federal bureaucracy. 

The House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs and the  Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance were the hosts of the joint hearing.  It examined a recent rule issued by the ATF to redefine a firearm with an attached stabilizing brace as a short-barreled rifle, contradicting an ATF determination made over a decade ago during the Obama Administration, as well as other harmful actions taken by the Bureau to curb Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

“The Biden Administration is weaponizing the ATF to advance a left-wing gun control agenda without regard for fundamental fairness or constitutional rights,” said Subcommittee Chairmen Pat Fallon (TX-04) and Andy Biggs (AZ-05) in a statement released prior to the hearing. “The ATF has engaged in a host of practices that seek to curtail the ability of lawful gun owners to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” they concluded. 

During the hearing, committee members had the chance to question three witnesses, including Alex Bosco, veteran and inventor of the stabilizing brace, and Amy Swearer, Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “At its worst, ATF tends to use its vast and often unchecked regulatory powers to accomplish through agency rule making the very types of unreasonable and unconstitutional gun control measures that elected officials couldn’t accomplish through the democratic process. The litany of recent abuses is long,” Swearer said in her hearing testimony. 

On top of this oversight hearing, Reps. Richard Hudson (NC-09), Andrew Clyde (GA-09) and 180 other House members introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would block the ATF’s pistol brace rule. Rep. Hudson is a Second Amendment stalwart and the sponsor of the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. 

The USCCA-FSL strongly supports these concrete actions that prioritize transparency and accountability from federal bureaucrats engaged in efforts to dismantle Americans’ natural-born right to defend themselves with a firearm.  We hope further steps will be taken by this House majority to push back against the Biden Administration’s misguided policies that fly in the face of the Constitution. 

Visit the USCCA-FSL’s advocacy page to help us stand up for the Second Amendment!


Republican Rep. August Pfluger of Texas will introduce legislation Friday that aims to make it easier for law enforcement to respond to emergency situations in school zones, the Daily Caller News Foundation learned.  The legislation, dubbed the Police Officers Protecting Children Act, would allow active and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms in a school zone for the purposes of protecting students and amends the Gun Free School Zones Act.  Republican Reps. Nicole Malliotakis and Claudia Tenney of New York and Don Bacon of Nebraska are cosponsoring the legislation, which is endorsed by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the National Association for Gun Rights.

After a gunman killed three students last month at Michigan State University, the campus was quickly awash in cries for more gun control.  It wasn’t long before the Rock, a campus monument long used by students as a free canvas for promoting school events and social issues, became a focal point of pro-gun control messaging.  But someone, thought to be a student, repainted the Rock with a fundamentally different message to state legislators and campus officials: “Allow us to defend ourselves and carry on campus.”  For this unknown student, classmates’ tragic deaths clearly highlighted a problem that too few care to acknowledge—other than law enforcement officers, no one on campus that day had the lawful option of armed self-defense.  Michigan, like many other states, prohibits civilians (including holders of concealed carry permits) from possessing firearms inside college dorms or classrooms. Michigan State’s Board of Trustees took this one step further, prohibiting firearms “anywhere upon property governed by the board.”  Of course, none of these prohibitions stopped one man with violent intentions that day from carrying them out to horrific effect.

Santa Monica residents will have to pay five times more for a concealed carry weapon (CCW) license than what was charged by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) before its halt in processing them for Santa Monica and other independent municipalities.  The decision was taken on Tuesday by the City Council after the US Supreme Court ruled last June that New York’s law requiring “proper cause” for carrying a concealed weapon violates the 14th Amendment. This led to an influx of applications, causing LASD to stop accepting applications from August 1, 2022.  According to the City of Santa Monica, at present, 150 applications from Santa Monica are in various stages of review at LASD, with 83 in the queue waiting for processing.  The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) began seeking external vendors to facilitate and set up a streamlined CCW license process that can be provided to its residents efficiently without extra burden on the staff workload.

For Tom Nguyen, founder of the firearms academy LA Progressive Shooters, the shootings in California reflect a burgeoning mental health crisis affecting Asian immigrant seniors, a demographic that’s been traumatized by wave upon wave of violence.  Calling for tighter gun laws, he said, felt like the “predictive” response from politicians after such tragedies. New restrictions on permits to carry concealed weapons in public, he said, wouldn’t stop people who have no intention of following the law – but would stop gun owners from “exercising their rights to protect themselves”.  Nguyen said he expected interest in his academy to grow in the coming weeks, as it often does after high-profile shootings. Many of his Asian students, he said, had bought their first guns over the past couple of years because they felt powerless amid a rise in homicides and violent crime.