Some 90 House members, moving with unusual speed, called this week on the Trump administration’s gun regulators to back off banning one of the most popular firearms used by sports men and women and disabled veterans. In a letter organized by North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson and signed by 89 others, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was urged to withdraw new guidance on AR-15-style pistols. “We urge you to immediately take action to correct this injustice,” said the letter, tweeted by the National Rifle Association. At issue is a new ATF guidance on the stabilizing braces used on the guns, similar to gun stocks. For several years, the agency has allowed them on the shorter-barreled version of the AR-15-style rifles, considering them pistols that do not need to be regulated like short-barreled rifles. Short-barreled rifles are regulated under the Prohibition-era National Firearms Act. To get one, the ATF must approve the sale after a $200 fee is paid. The agency recently targeted one company that makes the weapon after the firearm was shown in a video being used as a rifle. That raised questions that the agency was going to ban the brace and designate all of the pistols with one as a short-barreled rifle subject to the fee and registration. There are some 4 million of the pistols in America, and those who would refuse to register could become felons, gun advocates said. The agency’s new guidance seemed to take a middle road, according to some firearms experts, but was confusing enough to draw concerns about when the agency might take action. The letter suggested that the language in the guidance was purposeful. “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,” it said.
The ATF has noted that the stabilizing brace helps disabled veterans use the weapon for sport. [full article]