Ninety Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) urging the agency to reverse its new guidance that would restrict AR-15-style pistols and subject non-compliant owners to penalties, the Washington Examiner‘s Paul Bedard reported Wednesday.
Advocates warn the new guidance from the ATF could result in a ban on stabilizing braces, similar to gun stocks, that are often used on the firearms, and designate all similar guns as short-barreled rifles rather than pistols, according to Bedard.
The new rules could require existing owners of such weapons to register their firearms with the ATF and pay a $200 fee for each gun, Bedard reports. Violators who refuse to register could be charged as felons.
Some four million firearms could be affected, Bedard said.
While the new rules do not outright ban the braces, it seems to move in that direction, prompting concern among gun owners and the National Rifle Association (NRA), Bedard reported.
The NRA shared House Republicans’ letter in a tweet on Wednesday.
BREAKING: @RepRichHudson and 89 other members of Congress signed a letter opposing ATF’s recent pistol brace guidance. Thank you to all NRA members and gun owners who contacted their members of Congress and demanded they protect #2A.
— NRA (@NRA) December 23, 2020
The letter comes within the 14-day comment period common to new guidance. “With ambiguous and malleable subjective criteria such as these, it is obvious the ATF has no interest in clarifying the matter but banning stabilizing braces outright and submitting lawfully purchased firearms and their owners to federal regulation,” the Republicans said, according to Bedard.
Also addressed in the letter is the fact that the braces originally came about because disabled veterans needed support to handle heavier pistols. The ATF had already agreed that there were legitimate uses for the braces, the letter pointed out, “but this ‘guidance’ suggests otherwise,” the letter read.
An “alarming” decision
According to Bedard, the letter was organized by North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson, and other prominent signees include Reps. Mo Brooks (AL), Jim Jordan (OH), and Steve Scalise (LA).
“This decision is alarming and jeopardizes law-abiding gun owners across the country,” they said.
And it may only get worse from here. Both President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have vowed to enact more gun restrictions after taking office in January, according to BizPac Review.