President Biden’s ATF is set to turn millions of law-abiding Americans into felons overnight—all for owning a particular type of firearm.
On March 26, the ATF announced a new rule prohibiting so-called “pistol-braced” firearms, which use a brace to reduce the length of a pistol, allowing for easier handling and shooting. Proponents argue that the firearm attachments, originally designed in 2012 to help disabled veterans shoot guns without assistance, have become popular among firearms enthusiasts—and that they don’t enhance rates of fire, lethality, or effectiveness.
Critics argue that the new rule is a clear-cut case of the government targeting law-abiding gun owners, rather than properly addressing the issue of gun violence. After all, the Congressional Research Service estimates that up to 40 million of these braced weapons are in circulation today—meaning that any owner who fails to either register their weapon, destroy it, or turn it over, is subject to felony charges carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
In response, Gun Owners of America (GOA) has sued the ATF in Federal Court, alongside a coalition of state attorneys general—arguing that this is a decision for the people’s representatives, not bureaucrats. Additionally, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has already cleared a resolution of disapproval, which would nullify the regulation and force the Senate to go on the record with how they feel about the new rule.
However, many gun owners may not be aware of the legal jeopardy they face. According to GOA, the total number of braces registered with the agency since the grace period took effect is surprisingly low. It’s likely that many gun owners have no idea of the consequences of owning an unregistered brace pistol.
The Biden administration has made it clear that gun owners and firearms are a target of its regulations. The new rule on pistol braced firearms is just the latest example of a misguided policy that seeks to punish innocent Americans, rather than protecting the innocent from criminals who illegally acquire guns.
Congress must take up the resolution of disapproval quickly in order to send a message to the courts. Lawmakers should also demand that President Biden immediately rescind his executive order, which bans homemade firearms and other dangerous items. There is no excuse for creating policies that punish law-abiding citizens, when solutions to address gun violence could be found by focusing on the criminal offenders who illicitly acquire weapons.