U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Seventeen U.S. Senators recently introduced legislation aimed at removing the guts of the National Firearms Act—taxation, registration and regulatory requirements—and they are calling it the Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today (SHORT) Act.
Sponsored by Sens. Roger Marshall (KS) John Kennedy (LA), John Barrasso (WY), John Boozman (AR), Ted Budd (NC), Mike Crapo (ID), Ted Cruz (TX), Steve Daines (MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Mike Lee (UT), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Markwayne Mullin (OK), Rand Paul (KY), Mike Risch (ID), Mike Rounds (SD), Rick Scott (FL), John Thune (SD), and Tommy Tuberville (AL), the six-page measure may have a short life span—it probably will not get out of the Senate with Democrats in control—but it might raise a few eyebrows and some important political issues.
It’s the second go-round for this legislation. Marshall introduced it in the last Congress. But what about the issues it raises?
In a report from KIDO Radio in Boise, Crapo and Risch both took nasty swipes at the Biden administration.
“This Administration’s vendetta against lawful gun ownership is a gross violation of Constitutional rights. A federal gun registry has no place in America, yet this Administration is forcing millions of law-abiding Americans to either register these commonly owned firearms or become felons,” Risch said.
“As the Biden Administration continues to seek creative methods of advancing their anti-gun agenda, Congress must be resolute and oppose all efforts to undermine Second Amendment rights,” Crapo added. “Burdening law-abiding Americans with additional firearm restrictions is not the answer to safeguarding the public.”
Marshall also went after the administration, zeroing in on the new ATF pistol brace rule, which has already resulted in legal action.
“Finalization of this pistol brace rule represents the worst fears of gun owners across the country,” Marshall observed in a prepared statement. “The SHORT Act will protect Americans from the anti-2nd Amendment gun registry that the ATF is abusing the National Firearms Act to create. This Congress, I challenge my colleagues in both chambers to make protecting Americans’ Second Amendment Rights a priority and sign onto this legislation that will stop the ATF’s pistol brace rule in its tracks.”
The introduction of the SHORT Act came about two weeks after the Second Amendment Foundation had ripped into the administration for allowing the ATF to adopt its “final rule.” SAF already has a legal challenge in the works, filed way back in 2021. The case is known as SAF et. al. v. BATFE, et. al.
“When we started this process,” Gottlieb said at the time, “we anticipated where the agency’s efforts would lead. With our co-plaintiffs, we will continue to challenge this new arm brace rule.”
SAF is joined in that case by Rainier Arms, LLC and two private citizens, Samuel Walley and William Green. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.
According to plaintiffs’ attorney Chad Flores’ analysis of the 291-page Final Rule, the definition of a “rifle” now turns on a bewildering six-factor test. This new definition can be controlled not by the firearm’s objective characteristics, but instead by what ATF agents in D.C. think of a manufacturer’s marketing materials or the firearm’s “likely use.” The new rule itself is forced to admit its dramatic result: Under this new definitional regime, “a majority of the existing firearms equipped with a ‘stabilizing brace’ are likely to be classified as ‘rifles.’”
All of this comes at a coincidental moment, as SAF has just launched its 2023 television advertising campaign, in which President Joe Biden’s own admission he wants to ban 9mm pistols, as well as semiautomatic rifles, is the centerpiece of the 60-second message.
This is already causing trouble in Connecticut, where—according to a Monday announcement by SAF—legal action is heating up because that state’s gun laws, combined with the ATF’s new “rifle” definition, makes criminals out of thousands of Constitution State citizens.
SAF and its partners in a federal lawsuit against Connecticut Gov. Edward Lamont and several others have filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order because a new rule published by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on firearms designation places thousands of Constitution State citizens in serious legal jeopardy. SAF is joined by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and three private citizens, Jennifer Hamilton, Michael Stiefel and Eddie Grant, Jr. They are represented by Connecticut attorneys Doug Dubitsky of North Windham, Craig C. Fishbein of Wallingford and Cameron L. Atkinson of Harwinton.
“When ATF published its new rule,” Gottlieb said, “redesignating a class of firearms known as ‘any other firearm’ or simply ‘others’ as either ‘rifles’ or ‘short barreled rifles’ depending on the barrel length, all of those guns suddenly fell within the state’s definition of an assault weapon. This immediately put thousands of owners of previously-classified ‘other’ firearms in harm’s way legally because now their possession is a felony.”
SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, who is also a practicing attorney, added this observation:
“This re-classification, is a textbook example of the harm which can be caused by an arbitrary change of rules and definitions making legally-purchased firearms suddenly illegal, turning their owners into criminals, essentially by the stroke of a pen. We’re asking the court to step in to prevent a legal nightmare for thousands of Connecticut citizens.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) have both endorsed the SHORT Act.
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