Weekly Spotlight 6/16/23 – 6/22/23
U.S. House Passes Resolution to Overturn Unconstitutional ATF Rule
As we documented last week (and earlier this spring), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) is seeking to implement a new federal regulation that could turn millions of law-abiding gun owners into criminals with the stroke of a pen, circumventing Congress’ rightful lawmaking authority. The regulation reclassifies pistols with attached stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, making them illegal to own unless registered with the federal government (after paying a hefty fee). It’s a brazen and unconstitutional rule.
Fortunately, the U.S. House of Representatives voted this week on a Congressional Review Act resolution (H.J. Res. 44) to rein in the ATF and overturn the pistol brace rule, and it passed with bipartisan support. It will now head to the Senate for consideration, where we hope it will receive a proper hearing. Despite President Biden’s promises to veto the resolution, sufficient support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who see the ATF’s overreach for what it is could turn the tides.
The reason the ATF’s rule is so alarming is two-fold. First, it’s an unambiguous example of abuse of power by the executive branch of the federal government. Only Congress has the right to create new laws, but the pistol brace rule effectively creates a new law overnight.
Second, the rule has nothing to do with thwarting criminals who use firearms when carrying out deadly attacks, but instead puts a target on the backs of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. Millions of Americans have lawfully (by the ATF’s own previous rulemaking) owned pistol stabilizing braces for years, including many seniors and disabled veterans who use them to safely train for self-defense situations. With the ATF’s rule, these innocent people could face severe criminal penalties if they don’t register, surrender, or destroy their pistol braces. It is an absurd proposition, which is why this week’s congressional action was so important.
USCCA-FSL supporters were especially vocal in urging their representatives in Congress to support H.J. Res. 44, which was introduced by Second Amendment Champions Reps. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) and Richard Hudson (R-NC). In recent weeks, thousands of our supporters sent more than 77,000 letters to Congress calling for the resolution to be past, and now their efforts have paid off. We truly thank you for your support. It takes a tidal wave of support from freedom-loving Americans like you, who understand the gravity of the ATF’s unconstitutional action, to make a real difference.
The USCCA-FSL will always work to promote legislation that equips responsible gun owners to exercise their rights and protect their families.
OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
- Washington Examiner: Starting pistol: Permitless carry expands to majority of US after Supreme Court gun ruling
One year since the Supreme Court recognized a right to carry firearms for self-defense in public, a majority of states are now paring back regulations on the Second Amendment, while states with gun control are encountering legal challenges for enforcement. Gov. Jim Pillen (R-NE) signed LB 77 into law on April 25, 2023, cementing Nebraska as the 27th state to remove permitting requirement to carry a firearm in public. Just weeks before that, presidential hopeful Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) was celebrated by the gun lobby when the Sunshine State became the 26th, meaning a majority of the United States will operate under permitless carry or “constitutional carry” laws by July 1, when Florida’s law takes effect.
Michigan is unlikely to become the 28th state with “constitutional carry” laws on its books, but that’s not stopping a small cohort of House Republicans from trying. Introduced in the House Committee on Government Operation last week were House bills 4710 through 4715, which would allow those legally able to own a firearm the ability to conceal carry – a move that now requires an additional license under Michigan law.
- Complete Colorado: More Coloradans carrying as concealed handgun permits climb above pre-pandemic levels
Despite the practice being targeted for restrictions by some municipalities, the number of Coloradans obtaining concealed handgun permits (CHPs) in 2022 still climbed above pre-pandemic levels. Such local gun rights restrictions are possible after Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 256 in 2021. The new law unwound decades of state preemption and allows local governments to manage their own gun laws, but only so long as they are more restrictive than those at the state level, meaning the law only allows for a one-way ratcheting up rather than true local control. To date several communities have been successful in passing laws prohibiting concealed carry in public-owned buildings or parks, including Denver, Boulder and Broomfield.
The online firearms marketplace Armslist cannot be held liable for a pair of shootings in Wisconsin that involved guns bought through ads posted on the site, a federal appeals court has ruled. On Monday, a three-judge panel for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the two suits in a joint decision. The court found that even though the circumstances surrounding the cases “are grave and the allegations are serious,” Armslist cannot be found liable for negligence under Wisconsin law because it is not a firearms dealer.