U.S.A. — House Republicans tried to stop the massive overreach by unelected bureaucrats at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who turned more than 40 million law-abiding Americans into felons overnight, but the normal operation of our Constitutional Republic has been perverted by a doddering old buffoon who would rather rule by imperial decree than submit to the normal checks, balances and separation of powers, which have proven so effective for nearly two-and-a-half centuries.
This week, the House passed H.J. Res. 44, which should have sent a strong warning to the Biden-Harris administration that Congress makes law, not ATF or the Executive Branch. The joint resolution would overturn ATF’s final rule, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms With Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces,’” which was published in January. ATF’s rule requires anyone who owns a pistol brace to permanently install a longer barrel, remove and discard the brace, turn it in to ATF, destroy the brace or register it under the National Firearms Act. Those who fail to comply risk federal felony charges.
Kudos to Congressmen Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) and Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) for sponsoring the joint resolution, but on Monday the White House announced that Biden would use his veto pen if it ever reached his desk, and a brief glimmer of hope for 40 million Americans disappeared.
For more than a decade, the ATF had no problems with pistol braces and issued several official letters stating that braced pistols were not short-barrel rifles and did not need to be registered under the NFA. But after Biden was elected, the ATF changed its mind.
What we’re left with is an unconstitutional mechanism whereby ATF can now criminalize any firearm or accessory they want – even those in common usage – and Biden will block Congress from stopping the overreach.
Therefore, if you want to know what ATF will criminalize next, the answer is simple: Any damn thing they want. Our only recourse is the courts, and that process can be both lengthy and extremely expensive, and it offers no guarantee of success. There may be some who will claim that an ATF rule is not a law, but anything that can land you in federal prison for a decade is law-like enough.
To be clear, this is a full-blown constitutional crisis. Joe Biden usurped the law-making role of Congress, and his power grab was aided and abetted by the legacy media, who turned a blind eye to his unconstitutional decree, because guns. Same-same for other alleged constitutional watchdogs like the American Civil Liberties Union. If Joe’s overreach infringed on any Amendment other than the Second, the ACLU would be screaming like gut-shot blue banshees.
Several courts have already issued preliminary injunctions barring the ATF from taking enforcement against members of the pro-gun groups that brought the lawsuits. In SAF, et.al. v. ATF, et. al., United States District Judge Jane J. Boyle specifically noted this plethora of litigation, writing in her preliminary injunction that “plaintiffs are not alone in their concerns regarding the Rule.”
“The Court is aware of at least two other cases in the Northern District of Texas alone where similar plaintiffs – handgun users, nonprofits, and/or firearm manufacturers – are challenging the Rule on identical or similar grounds,” Judge Boyle wrote.
Pistol braces were originally designed to make shooting easier for disabled veterans. While veterans have never been a priority for the Biden-Harris administration, some of these men and women left chunks of their bodies on foreign battlefields, and they deserve to be respected for their sacrifices. Banning pistol braces robs them of their ability to enjoy shooting sports and defend themselves and their families.
Today it’s pistol braces. Tomorrow, who knows. Biden and his ATF toadies can now criminalize whatever they want, whenever they want, and Congress is powerless to do anything about it.
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About Lee Williams
Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.