Weekly Spotlight 5/5/23 – 5/11/23
ATF Director Taken to Task by Congress for Federal Overreach
In recent weeks, we’ve written extensively about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)’s overreach and unconstitutional pistol brace rule set to take effect at the end of this month. Leaders on Capitol Hill have also been paying close attention, which is why the House Judiciary Committee recently called ATF Director Steve Dettelbach to testify at an oversight hearing.
The hearing, led by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, covered a litany of issues that the ATF has engaged on since President Biden appointed Director Dettelbach, with the ATF’s pistol brace rule taking center stage. Here’s how the issue and hearing can be summed up. The ATF is implementing a rule that could effectively turn millions of law-abiding American gun owners into criminals overnight, and Director Dettelbach did not seem concerned with that prospect.
The rule, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces,” reclassifies pistols with attached stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, impacting millions of firearms and gun owners – many of whom are disabled veterans and seniors who use the brace to shoot safely. These law-abiding citizens will be given three options: 1) place their firearm on a federal registry, 2) surrender or destroy the brace, or 3) face criminal penalties – including prison time.
At the Judiciary hearing, Director Dettelbach failed to articulate a good reason for why the rule will make American communities safer or reduce crime. He was unable to provide a reasonable explanation for why this rule is an apparent flip-flop from years of ATF guidance on pistol braces. Rep. Mike Johnson asked, “Does it concern you that for years, law-abiding Americans relied on the ATF’s guidance in purchasing stabilizing braces, and now due to a regulation – not a law passed by Congress, but a regulation – millions of them are suddenly going to become felons?” Dettelbach, unsurprisingly, did not provide any meaningful response.
On top of that, Rep. Thomas Massie called out the extreme penalties that could be levied on law-abiding Americans if they do not comply with the ATF’s unconstitutional rule. Watch that exchange below:
Americans should be gravely concerned with this kind of abuse of power – an unelected bureaucrat is subverting Congress to impose an unconstitutional regulation impacting millions of responsible gun owners. The ATF should reverse course and refuse to implement this new pistol brace rule. Otherwise, Congress should pass the Congressional Review Act introduced by Reps. Richard Hudson and Andrew Clyde to repeal the rule and protect law abiding gun owners.
OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
- Charleston Post & Courier (Op-Ed by USCCA-FSL Board Chairman Mike Lowney): Commentary: SC should join majority of states in passing constitutional carry
As late as 2013, 45 out of 50 states required their citizens to obtain a government permit in order to carry a concealed handgun. Today, 26 states have removed that requirement, making the United States a majority-constitutional carry nation. This trend is building momentum because more and more citizens want to become their own first line of defense, and state governments have responded in kind. South Carolina now has the opportunity to do the same. S.109 and H.3594 would make South Carolina the 27th state to pass a constitutional or permitless carry law. As we’ve seen in other states that have gone through a similar debate, there has been some alarm-ringing out there about what this legislation does and doesn’t do, so let’s set the record straight.
- Fox News: Illinois gun shops see surge in sales after federal judge placed injunction on firearm ban
A recent federal ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on a gun law had a massive impact on local gun sales, shop owners reported on Saturday. Judge Stephen Patrick McGlynn issued a temporary injunction on Friday against the enforcement of a gun law that would ban some semiautomatic weapons, penalize individuals who carry or possess certain “assault weapons” and require citizens to register with the Illinois State Police should they possess a weapon. McGlynn ruled that the law, which was signed in January, “did not just regulate the rights of the people to defend themselves; it restricted that right, and in some cases, completely obliterated that right by criminalizing the purchase and the sale of more than 190 ‘arms.'”
- Associated Press: Indiana sends state-funded teacher gun training to governor
Indiana state lawmakers have sent the state’s Republican governor a bill that would create a state-funded handgun training program available for teachers, something critics have said could wrongly increase the number of guns in schools. The state Senate gave the bill its final approval Wednesday evening after the House concurred with changes to the legislation earlier that day. The bill, which passed the Senate 41-8 without debate and now goes to the desk of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, is the cumulation of efforts by state lawmakers to offer additional training that have failed in recent years. That legislation was previously halted by opposition from both gun-rights advocates, who said training mandates would overstep local control, and gun-control proponents, who argued against steps they see as arming teachers.
The Alaska House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 3, urging Congress to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act or a similar bill. The resolution requests that Congress pass legislation allowing individuals with valid concealed carry permits from one state to lawfully carry a concealed firearm in another state to the same degree that an individual with a valid permit from that state can do so.