Republicans push back against Biden’s new ATF rules

President Joe Biden doubled down on his push for stricter gun control laws this week in a speech ostensibly focused on a rising violent crime rate in cities nationwide.

Although the president’s power to advance his agenda is limited by a narrow Democratic majority in Congress, his administration has proposed new rules through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that many in the GOP warn would lay the foundation for a national gun registry.

“A significant step”

In Texas, a group of lawmakers opposed to the rules is taking action by calling on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to resist the new regulations, the Daily Wire reported.

One of the rules, critics argue, would reclassify certain large pistols and other firearms as “short-barreled rifles,” thus opening them up to additional regulation under the National Firearms Act.

The GOP lawmakers wrote in their letter to Abbott that the rule would effectively “make felons of countless honest Texans.”

In response to the other proposed rule, they wrote that it would “take a significant step toward a national gun registry” by requiring federally licensed dealers “to permanently maintain personal gun owner information and records of firearm transfer information including makes, models, and serial numbers.”

They urged the governor to do whatever possible to stymie Biden’s plan, noting that state Attorney General Ken Paxton has vowed to challenge the first rule.

“To prevent any enforcement scheme”

“We urge you to work with Texas agencies, political subdivisions, law enforcement officers, and employees thereof to prevent any enforcement scheme,” the lawmakers concluded.

Although the president and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland touted the rules as part of the White House’s agenda to tackle the “epidemic” of gun violence, House and Senate Republicans are already calling on the ATF to withdraw them.

Furthering his call for legislative reform on the matter, Biden announced a crackdown on so-called “rogue” firearms dealers. Critics of this approach, however, argue that many guns used by criminals are not obtained through licensed dealers.

In anticipation of the Biden agenda, some GOP-led states have already passed “sanctuary” bills aimed at nullifying federal gun laws. Abbott, for example, signed such a measure into law last week, along with a constitutional carry bill.

For many congressional Republicans, one method of putting a dent into Biden’s ATF entails rejecting his nominee to lead the agency. David Chipman, an avowed gun control advocate, is currently awaiting Senate confirmation.

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