WASHINGTON, D.C. -(Ammoland.com)- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) published its pistol stabilization device rule to the Federal Register this morning. Now, some members of Congress are stepping in to try to stop the new regulation.
Representative Andrew Clyde (R-GA) vowed to reintroduce the Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today (SHORT) Act next week. The law would remove short barreled rifles (SBRs) from the National Firearms Act (NFA). According to NFA regulations, any rifle with a barrel under 16 inches is subject to the law and must be registered with the ATF, and the gun owner must pay a $200 tax for the “privileged” of owning the rifle.
Under the newly published rule, a pistol with stabilizing device would be reclassified as an SBR. The owners could remove the brace and modify it so it cannot be reattached to the rifle, replace the short barrel with a 16-inch barrel, destroy the firearm, turn it in to the ATF, or register the firearm with the ATF as an SBR. The gun owner would be granted a $200 tax fee forbearance. Gun owners will have until May 31, 2023, to come into compliance with the new rule.
Gun owners, hear me loud and clear:
We’re fighting for you and your Second Amendment freedoms—and we will never give up. pic.twitter.com/0LfUslyEwM
— Rep. Andrew Clyde (@Rep_Clyde) January 30, 2023
Non-compliance is a choice, but if a gun owner is caught with a firearm not in compliance, then the owner could face up to 10 years in federal prison for an NFA violation.
“Next week, I will reintroduce the Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today Act, or the SHORT Act, to repeal elements of the National Firearms Act, thereby prohibiting the ATF from registering and banning pistols with stabilizing braces,” Rep Clyde said on the House Floor. “Additionally, as soon as the ATF’s unlawful rule is published to the Federal Register, I will introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to override the Biden administration’s unlawful overreach.”
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows Congress to nullify regulations enacted by government agencies. The CRA requires a joint resolution within 60 legislative working days after Congress receives the report from an agency.
Clyde has plans to challenge the ATF’s pistol brace rule using the CRA and stated that Congress is “putting the ATF on notice.”
The CRA requires a simple majority in Congress to disapprove a regulation. The CRA is immune from being filibustered in the Senate, meaning that only 51 Senators must sign on to kill a rule. There is enough support in the House to use the CRA to shut down the ATF’s new rule, which many in the gun community see as a Draconian regulation.
The real fight will be in the Senate, where there are 48 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and 3 Independents. All three independents caucus with the Democrats, making it the majority party. Even if all Senate Republicans vote to use the CRA to void the ATF rule, two other Senators will need to be convinced.
Although most in the gun community feel that the real solution is to repeal the NFA or dissolve the ATF, those options are not possible under the current political climate. The SHORT Act is also a long shot, but reintroducing bills builds support over time.
Using the CRA to shut down the ATF’s overreaching bill is a real possibility, but it will require the gun community to press their Senators and Representatives to get on board.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.