- Three Democratic senators are leaning towards supporting a GOP-led effort to repeal the ATF pistol brace rule.
- The rule, implemented this month, could turn law-abiding citizens into felons overnight.
- Despite potential Democratic support, a Biden veto could still prevent the repeal from passing.
- Repealing the rule would be a setback for Biden's anti-gun agenda and a rebuke to ATF regulators.
- Lawsuits and pressure from various groups aim to challenge the ATF's rule through the courts.
- The issue revolves around the classification of pistol braces on AR-15s and their regulation under the National Firearms Act.
- Second Amendment advocates argue that only Congress should have the power to outlaw such devices.
- The outcome may eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.
In a surprising turn of events, three Democratic senators are considering supporting a Republican-led effort to repeal the ATF pistol brace rule. This unexpected development comes after the House of Representatives passed a resolution to stop the rule, leading many to believe it would face staunch opposition in the Senate or be vetoed by President Biden. However, with a possible shift in Democratic support, the Senate is now anticipated to vote on killing Biden's regulation on AR-15s equipped with pistol braces.
The controversial rule, which went into effect this month, has raised concerns among gun owners and Second Amendment advocates. It has the potential to turn tens of millions of law-abiding citizens into felons overnight. Despite the support of pro-gun Democrats such as Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, and Senator Angus King of Maine, their combined votes might not be enough to override a Biden veto.
Nevertheless, repealing the rule through the Congressional review act process would deal a significant blow to Biden's liberal anti-gun agenda. It would also serve as a sharp rebuke to overzealous regulators at the ATF and send a signal to federal judges that there is support for rulings against the Biden administration's gun control initiatives.
Several groups have already taken legal action against the ATF, seeking temporary injunctions against the rule. Additionally, they are pressuring Senators, particularly Manchin and Tester, through advertisements and online campaigns. The American Firearms Association, for instance, has targeted these senators, both of whom are up for re-election next year and represent pro-gun states.
Driving the unity among Republicans and garnering some Democratic support is the frustration with Biden's reliance on regulations to implement policies that should be subject to a vote in Congress. In Manchin's case, one source indicated that the Biden administration's seemingly endless moves to embarrass him have played a role in his potential support for repealing the rule.
The Congressional review act resolution, sponsored by Senators John Kennedy of Louisiana and Roger Marshall of Kansas, mirrors the House version sponsored by Representative Andrew Clyde of Georgia. This complex issue revolves around the classification of pistol braces on AR-15s and their regulation under the National Firearms Act. Originally developed to assist disabled individuals in stabilizing the gun, pistol braces gained popularity among target shooters and hunters who utilized the adjustable brace as a rifle stock.
The ATF had previously deemed these firearms legal even with the shorter barrels, which typically fall under the regulations of the Al Capone-era National Firearms Act, requiring registration and a $200 tax stamp. However, when Biden assumed office, the ATF reversed its position and decided to regulate the firearm under the National Firearms Act. The agency set a deadline of June 1st for registration but waived the $200 fee. Only approximately 253,000 people decided to register their guns, while Second Amendment advocates quietly maintained that the courts would eventually overturn the ATF rule, much like the Trump administration's ban on bump stocks.
Biden's inclusion of an assault-style weapons ban in his firearm agenda has drawn criticism, especially considering that only two mass shootings involved pistol-based weapons. Lawsuits against the ATF claim that only Congress can outlaw such devices and argue that the administrative state under Biden is exerting excessive control. This situation mirrors the administration's attempt to ban gas stoves, further fueling concerns about government overreach.
While the Senate may vote to stop the ATF pistol brace rule, it is highly likely that President Biden would veto it. Consequently, the issue would likely make its way through the courts, and there is a strong possibility it could reach the Supreme Court. Second Amendment advocates and gun owners are urged to continue pressuring elected officials to halt this perceived regulatory overreach. Their hope is to ultimately secure the permanent reinstatement of pistol braces.