AMERICA FIRST LEGAL STANDS UP (AGAIN) FOR THE SECOND AMENDMENT IN FORMAL COMMENT OPPOSING THE ATF’S PROPOSED GUN-GRAB

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, America First Legal (AFL) took another stand for the Second Amendment by submitting written comments against the Biden Administration’s latest radical attempts to undermine the rule of law and take away guns from law-abiding Americans.This comes just weeks after AFL opposed the Biden Administration’s sweeping “Frame or Receiver” rule. 

In a Proposed Rule published on June 7, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Biden Administration announced its intent to recategorize the vast majority of braced pistols as “short barreled rifles” (SBRs). As most gun users know, SBRs are largely illegal, and in order to own one legally, a person must pay fees and endure lengthy wait times to obtain them. ATF’s rule is a dramatic rewriting of the Nation’s firearms laws and would subject braced pistols to the same bureaucratic stifling of Second Amendment Rights. 

AFL filed a public comment with ATF standing up for the Second Amendment, Americans who enjoy shooting, and those who need braces to protect themselves, their home, and their families. This proposed rule is faulty and unconstitutional on several grounds, which AFL explained in its comment:

– The rule is unconstitutional because it would fundamentally alter the definition of a rifle, which is a statutory definition only Congress can change, not the ATF.

– The implementation of the rule would put the National Firearms Act in violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller because it would make more than 3 million current, legally owned, braced pistols illegal. Heller is clear that weapons in “common use” are protected and so subjecting braced pistols to the restrictive measures of the National Firearms Act would be unconstitutional.

– The rule is too vague. ATF did not meet its legal requirements to clearly describe what conduct it is prohibiting, and because there are criminal penalties associated with violating the rule, it deprives citizens of their due process rights.

– ATF did not give a sufficient factual basis to justify this rule.

– ATF did not comply with longstanding Executive Branch rules governing rule making.

In closing, AFL warned ATF:

ATF has finite resources and an important mission, namely to “protect the public from crimes involving firearms, explosives, [and] arson.” These unconstitutional political power grabs, all designed to disarm law-abiding American citizens, are wasteful, undermine decades-old and bipartisan statutory norms and regulatory practices, and, most significantly, erode public trust in the ATF’s legitimacy and mission. At the very least, every tax dollar ATF spends drafting rules to needlessly harass lawful gun owners is a tax dollar not spent on tracking down gunrunners, criminal syndicates, and terrorists. Congress might be well advised to look hard at ATF, its budget, and its priorities, as it seems ATF has more funds than it needs to pursue its legitimate mission. We urge ATF to withdraw the Proposed Rule and abandon any further attempts to reclassify braced pistols as SBRs.

To schedule an engagement with American First Legal, please email [email protected].