Bureaucrats at the ATF are covertly legislating, and Americans are not impressed.
The ATF's October 6th decision to classify "Honey Badger" pistol as a short-barreled rifle (SBR) was met with opposition by Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-1st District).
Gaetz alongside six GOP legislators stressed that the "practice of relying on arbitrary, non-public standards to promulgate general firearms policy hidden from public scrutiny and awareness" was unacceptable.
Reps. Bill Posey, W. Gregory Steube, John Rutherford, Ted S. Yoho, Neal P. Dunn, MD, and Daniel Webster joined Gaetz on the fiery June 16 letter castigating ATF'S practice of arbitrarily legislating beyond its mandate.
The letter was necessitated by the AFT's classification of "Honey Badger" as a short-barreled rifle. The agency also said that two more pistols marketed by Q LLC, the "Sugar Weasel" and "Mini Fix" might be designated SBRs.
"The Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) examined the Honey Badger Pistol manufactured and marketed by Q, LLC, and determined the firearm is a short-barreled rifle as defined under the NFA. A short-barreled rifle is subject to the registration, transfer, taxation, and possession restrictions regarding these regulated firearms, which include criminal penalties relating to the illegal transfer and possession of said firearms," ATF's letter read.
Later Gaetz penned another letter to Attorney General William Barr and ATF's Acting Director, Regina Lombardo, demanding an end to the unconstitutional practice. This was after the ATF failed to acknowledge the June 16 letter.
Gaetz rightly points out that the purpose of the pistol arm braces is to provide stability for AR-15-type semi-automatic pistols rather than allow them to be fired from the shoulder. ATF arrived at the same conclusion back in 2012.
ATF's hypocrisy is exposed by the letter which states that the agency "initially welcomed the advent of pistol arm braces" and agreed that the attachment of such components to large pistols "does not constitute the manufacture of a short-barreled rifle." The criteria that the ATF used to overturn this decision remains suspect.
Gaetz is willing to challenge the abuse of power taking place at ATF.
"Despite initially welcoming the introduction of pistol arm braces it has come to our attention that ATF is now attempting to restrict some of the most popular arm brace configurations by creating non-public standards that are not based in statute or regulation."
Among other controversial items addressed in the letter is an "inexhaustible" list of objectionable design features. The ATF embarked on a covert and illegal legislative process without consultation in creating the list. The agency arbitrarily settled on the "length of pull" as the determining factor whether a firearm qualifies as a short-barreled rifle. This measurement is the distance from the rear end of the stabilizing brace to the trigger.
ATF claims that any firearm whose length is at least 13 ½ inches is a short-barreled rifle "because it is supposed to be fired from the shoulder."
The sheer arrogance of bureaucrats at ATF is appalling. ATF has the responsibility of informing Americans the reasons and the criteria it used to arrive at certain decisions, especially the ones it shouldn't be making. Now Gaetz and his colleagues have questions that Americans deserve to know the answers.
What specific criteria does ATF use to determine whether a firearm is designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder?
What specific ATF publications are available for Americans to determine whether their firearm is designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder?
How many firearms with affixed arm braces have been evaluated by the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division in support of other law enforcement agencies or criminal prosecutions?
The abuse of power at ATF runs unchecked. Gaetz also revealed that the ATF was also misusing its "criminal enforcement powers" to intimidate small businesses to abide by these unilateral and unconstitutional regulations. Thus, the legislators demand that the ATF halts its targeted harassment of about 3-4 million American businesses with firearms fitted with pistol braces.
SB Tactical, the manufacturer of the pistol arm braces, was also disappointed by ATF's arbitrary classifications. The pistol braces maker said that bureaucrats at the ATF refused to evaluate accessories as standalone products and that they use the "they will know it when they see it" approach to ban products. The company says that this arbitrary classification causes confusion among American gun owners, sellers, and manufacturers. Firearms Policy (FPC), a California-based gun-rights group, also sent a letter to AG Barr and Lombardo. FPC is considering taking legal action to challenge ATF's abuse of power.
By operating in a legal vacuum, the ATF obscures its activities from scrutiny. Since there are no laid down laws or procedures, the ATF does not have to abide by any. It can make laws on the fly and expect everyone to comply. This is uncharacteristic of the United States that we all know. When did we stop living in a democracy and adopted institutional tyranny?
All this talk about being the most pro-gun administration is noise if it can’t get its own ATF in line. Ideally, the ATF and every gun control law passed since the enactment of the NFA must go. Alas, we live in a time where such prospects seem like a pipe dream. But we must start somewhere.
To get the conversation started, I ask that you sign your Lone Star Gun Rights petition condemning the ATF’s unilateral classification of the Honey Badger pistol as a short-barreled rifle. Every signature counts in getting the Trump administration to recognize that its ATF is totally out of control.
Once you’re done with that, please consider joining LSGR to help us fight gun grabs at all levels of government. We’re going to need all the help we can get.