Forty-eight Republican senators sent a letter Thursday to Attorney General Merrick Garland criticizing a new gun control proposal the Biden Administration has put forward, arguing the administration should be focusing on rising crime rather than law-abiding citizens.
“A crime wave is sweeping America,” the group, which includes Sens Pat Toomey, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Ben Sasse and others wrote in a letter first obtained by The Reload. “These aren’t broken-windows crimes; they are violent crimes like murder, assault, and robbery. But rather than cracking down on the criminals who are turning America’s cities into war zones, ATF and the Department of Justice have decided to go after law-abiding gun owners who are minding their own business and using equipment that ATF seemingly blessed in 2017.”
BREAKING: 48 Senators just told the ATF to withdraw its braced pistol ban. This is huge.
— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) June 24, 2021
The group of senators are pushing back against a proposed rule which would ban most pistol braces. A pistol brace can be attached to a firearm and allows the gun to be fired with one hand. The brace goes around the shooter’s forearm and is secured by velcro. The accessory was designed to help disabled combat veterans shoot certain firearms.
An ATF proposal would reclassify guns with pistol braces as short-barrel rifles, which would then subject the firearms to the National Firearms Act, according to The Reload. This means owners who don’t register those firearms could face felony charges and up to 10 years of jail time per gun, according to the report.
“The way the proposed rule is written makes clear that ATF intends to bring the most common uses of the most widely possessed stabilizing braces within the purview of the NFA,” the senators wrote. “Doing so would turn millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals overnight, and would constitute the largest executive branch-imposed gun registration and confiscation scheme in American history.”
A 2017 letter from the ATF said “stabilizing braces are perfectly legal accessories for large handguns or pistols. However, when employed as a shoulder stock with a firearm with a barrel less than 16 inches in length, the result would be making an unregistered NFA firearm.”
The group of senators argued that “millions of law-abiding Americans have purchased braces to add them to their own firearms, or purchased firearms with the braces already attached” after ATF clarified the braces were legal accessories in 2017. The senators also note how some gun manufacturers have built firearms with the braces attached, creating a bustling new sect of the market.
“Having fostered this vibrant market in which millions of law-abiding Americans have participated, ATF now suddenly changes course. Its proposed rule would yank the rug out from under those law-abiding Americans.” (RELATED: ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ Bill Passes Wisconsin Senate, Heads To Governor’s Desk)
The senators also criticized the proposal for lacking specifications about criteria for a short barrel rifle or how the policy would be carried out, which they said would confuse Americans.
“The proposed rule is worse than merely abdicating your responsibility to protect Americans from criminals; you’re threatening to turn law-abiding Americans into criminals by imposing the largest executive branch-initiated gun registration and confiscation program in American history.”
“We urge you to turn back. Correct this mistake and withdraw the proposed rule.”
Republican Senators Susan Collins and Rob Portman did not sign the letter.