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Capitol Briefs: Blunt, Hawley oppose ATF pistol brace rule

U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley joined 46 other Republican lawmakers objecting to a proposed federal rule that would recategorize most firearms using pistol braces. 

As first reported by The Reload, the proposal from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) would classify guns equipped with pistol braces as short-barrel rifles. The change would require owners to register their guns under that designation or face felony charges and up to a decade in prison per gun under the National Firearms Act (NFA). 

All but two Republican members of the body wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland opposing the move. 

“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 letter said. “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.”

  • The group argued gun owners did not have a viable way of determining if their firearms required registration under the rule and accused the ATF of attacking gun owners’ rights.  
  • President Joe Biden’s administration unveiled its plan to combat rising gun violence earlier this week, including a Community Violence Intervention Collaborative that includes St. Louis.  

The U.S. Senate remains deadlocked over Biden’s appointment of David Chipman to lead the ATF, a nomination Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt opposed last month.

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