What Happens When Millions of Gun Owners Become Felons May 31st 2023?
U.S.A. — In a heated exchange during the House Judiciary Committee’s Oversight hearing of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on April 26th, Chairman Jim Jordan questioned ATF Director Steven Dettelbach on the upcoming deadline for pistol brace owners.
On May 31st, 2023, millions of American gun owners could potentially become felons for possessing pistol braces, a fact that Dettelbach acknowledged.
Jordan questioned Dettelbach on the impact that this rule change would have on millions of Americans.
Jim Jordan: “..so you told them [American Gun Owners] not once but twice that it was okay, and I’m just asking does it bother you now that [what] you are doing, that you’re making the change that’s going to impact millions of Americans?”
The ATF Director replied that the rule was necessary to address inconsistencies in the definition of pistol braces. He further explained that specific products get presented for classification, and these products sometimes change. Therefore, the rule change was necessary to ensure consistency.
Jordan then accused Dettelbach of contradicting what ATF had previously told American citizens, and now millions of law-abiding citizens will be impacted by this rule change. Dettelbach denied this accusation, stating that only specific products would be impacted, and those impacted individuals would have several options, including detaching the brace from the firearm and keeping both, attaching the brace to another firearm, removing or destroying the brace, getting a longer barrel, turning in or destroying the firearm, or registering the firearm.
Jordan then asked what would happen to those who do not take any of these actions and let the deadline expire.
Dettelbach replied that it would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case, and if a person were unaware, they would not be prosecuted, even though they were now breaking newly created rules. However, if they were aware, they could potentially become a felon.
Jordan also questioned how the ATF would enforce this rule and questioned Dettelbach whether ATF would inspect people at gun ranges or go to manufacturers and look for lists of people they sold braces to. Dettelbach mumbled something about ATF would consider it as one of the charges when doing a search warrant in a drug case and discovering an unlawful item.
Finally, Jordan asked if the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act clearly and unambiguously prohibits pistol braces. Dettelbach replied that it doesn’t prohibit anything and calls for increased controls on short-barreled rifles. Jordan cited a court decision this week in the Sixth Circuit, where the court ruled that the statute does not clearly and unambiguously prohibit bump stocks. In that ruling, the court also stated that for a decade, the ATF maintained that a bump stock was not a machine gun part, and the ATF’s own flip-flop on this position is one of the reasons why the court ruled in favor of those opposing the rule.
The exchange between Jordan and Dettelbach was intense.
The ATF’s flip-flopping on rules and Dettelbach’s inability to answer questions about the impact of the rule change on millions of Americans is a serious issue for American gun owners, whose only crime was following those same rules. The lack of accountability and poor decision-making by a rogue federal agency raises concerns about the risk of law-abiding citizens being turned into felons. The exchange was intense, with Jordan accusing Dettelbach of contradicting himself. At the same time, Dettelbach defended the Biden-ATF’s decision, stating that it was necessary to ensure consistency and address inconsistencies in the definition of pistol braces.