ORLANDO, Fla. — Republican lawmakers vowed Tuesday to defund any attempt by the Biden administration to enforce a new gun control rule that would reclassify pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles.
Under a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rule — “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces” — gun owners who have a stabilizing brace attachment on their firearm must register the device by May 31 or face up to 10 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
But Republican House lawmakers, gathered in Orlando this week for their annual GOP retreat, are lining up behind an effort to block the administration — and one said there will be no money in the budget produced by the Republican-controlled House to enforce the rule, which took effect Jan. 31.
Rep. Andrew Clyde is pushing a resolution checking the administration, introduced almost a week ago, and already has 182 Republican cosponsors. He told The Washington Times that federal agencies are engaged in a power grab.
“The ATF has overstepped its bounds significantly. They’re not a legislative arm of the government,” the Georgia Republican said.
“They’re an executive arm. And when they legislate, which is what they’re doing, redefining a definition, then they have exceeded their authority.”
Mr. Clyde’s resolution is expected to pass easily in the House, but similar legislation from Republican Sens. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Roger Marshall of Kansas is expected to hit a wall in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Mr. Clyde said Republicans will find a way to “take it down” anyway.
“We’ll defund the rule in appropriations. There’s multiple ways of taking this unconstitutional rule down, and we’re going to use every solitary one of them, because it’s wrong. Imagine not knowing about it. And in 120 days, becoming a felon.”
Under the rule, If gun owners fail to register their firearms by the deadline, they will have to destroy the weapon, surrender it to the ATF or remove the brace in such a way that it cannot be reattached.
Gun rights activists want to see Republicans go one step further and defund the ATF altogether. Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms released a statement Monday.
“Clearly,” CCKRB Chairman Alan Gottlieb said, “Biden and the Democrats have decided that American gun owners are their enemy. They are scrambling to restrict the Second Amendment rights of tens of millions of citizens whose only offense is that they want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. Last week, the president signed an executive order to create even more restrictions. Where does this stop?”
“The only way to derail this obsession,” he stated, “is for House and Senate Republicans to send a message to the White House and Capitol Hill Democrats by refusing to fund the agency Biden wants to unleash on law-abiding Americans. This war on the Second Amendment must stop now.”
House Republicans will hold a joint hearing combining panels from Judiciary and Oversight scrutinizing the ATF on Thursday intended to probe the agency’s new stabilizing pistol brace rule among many other actions the department has taken related to Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Republican senators were part of the GOP retreat. The meeting is for House members.
• Kerry Picket can be reached at email@example.com.
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