On Wednesday, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz introduced an act to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after they issued a controversial ruling against the 2nd Amendment.
On Friday, the ATF issued a rule that will treat guns that have stabilizing accessories the same as they treat short-barreled rifles, meaning they would require a federal license.
AG Merrick Garland stated the ruling will keep the public safe. Gaetz fired back, stating that the ruling punishes disabled gun owners and veterans who need the braces.
“I have a lot of disabled veterans in my district who enjoy pistol shooting and rely on stabilizing braces to be able to engage in the activity,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “The recent actions from the ATF essentially allow them to make case-by-case determinations on whether a pistol with a stabilizing brace is legal or an unlawful, sawed-off shotgun.”
“The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on the actions they’re taking to convert otherwise law-abiding people into felons,” he said. “My bill would abolish the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to try defunding the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to target the individual bureaucrats at the top of the ATF who have exceeded their authority in rulemaking. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to take a meat cleaver to the statutes that the ATF believes broadly authorize their actions.”
The ATF claims the new rule doesn’t affect stabilizing braces that are “objectively designed and intended as a ‘stabilizing brace’ for use by individuals with disabilities, and not for shouldering the weapon as a rifle. Such stabilizing braces are designed to conform to the arm and not as a buttstock. However, if the firearm with the ‘stabilizing brace’ is a short-barreled rifle, it needs to be registered within 120-days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.”
Gaetz fired back, saying, “the people at the ATF making these rules fundamentally don’t understand firearms.”
“I think they are under the flawed conception that a stabilizing brace increases the lethality or danger of a pistol,” he said. “It seems the ATF is on a snipe hunt for regulatory action that virtue signals to the anti-gun left, but that has no real practical safety impact on Americans.”
“I believe that you are likely to see ATF bureaucrats hauled before the Judiciary Committee to explain themselves in the coming weeks and months,” Gaetz said. “Because we’re hearing this very loudly from our constituents, and the reason I filed this bill is, frankly, I think that the ATF should have to justify their existence at all.”