Here we go again. If you recall, the ATF, unfortunately, has a history of backpedaling pre-established decisions and interpretations of the law and later changing their minds. The Bump Stock Ban is a great example where they took a pre-established firearm accessory and changed the narrative to claim that they are now considered machine guns. If you want to refresh your memory read my analysis of the bump stock ban. Recently news has broken from Congressman Gaetz about the ATF’s secret brace ban.
Congressman Matt Gaetz announced today on his podcast the ATF is crafting secret rules restricting the possession of certain pistol braces by American citizens, and that he has sent them a letter demanding they stop.
“We understand that ATF is currently considering restricting one arm brace model owned by over 700,000 Americans,” Congressman Gaetz writes along with six other members of Congress. “We strongly urge ATF to cease taking any actions and reconsider or rescind any secret determinations which call into question the legality of firearms owned by millions of law-abiding Americans.”
“There is always a need to vindicate our Second Amendment rights,” Gaetz says on his podcast, “Hot Takes with Matt Gaetz.”
Click here to listen to the pod cast. 6:00 minutes in is where he talks about the brace ban.
He explains that even during very conservative administrations, like President Trump’s, some do “try to make it more difficult to acquire things that shooters need and gun owners need, for safety and for the unique circumstances that an individual may have.”
The congressman emphasizes that Americans must remain proactive in defense of their Second Amendment Rights.
“But now, what we find, is that the ATF is making it very difficult for people to have arm braces. They’re changing standards and changing rules.” Gaetz continues: “And I am particularly frustrated when our government, at the administrative and executive level, goes beyond their grant of authority in our Constitution and in our Federal Statutes. Nothing gives anyone at ATF the ability to constrain the use of arm braces.”
“So the breaking news is this – I’ll be sending a letter to the Department of Justice, asking for a review of the decisions made by ATF and asking that ATF stop, in this crazy effort to limit access to arm braces for people who seek to have them.”
Congressman Gaetz addresses Attorney General William Barr and Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Regina Lombardo in his letter, and says that he is concerned about the ATF’s practice of creating secret regulation, which could have devastating impacts on law-abiding citizens.
“This practice not only burdens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens,” Gaetz concludes, “but has recently been used by ATF to stifle innovation within the firearms industry and prosecute unwitting firearm owners.
I spoke with Alex Bosco, CEO of SB Tactical and here is his company’s statement regarding this news.
Although this may seem alarming, it is, in fact, nothing new. Since 2015, SB Tactical has been actively engaged in discussions with the ATF and working tirelessly to encourage them to provide clear and public guidance regarding what constitutes a brace and the standards by which braces are measured. At this time, we are unaware of any plans by the ATF to make any announcements regarding Pistol Stabilizing Braces. We are grateful that Congressmen Matt Gaetz, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Daniel Webster, Neil P. Dunn, W. Gregory Steube, and Ted S. Yoho are committed to protecting the second amendment rights of law abiding Americans.
If you have been paying attention, both the Congressman and Alex Bosco are dancing around a bigger issue than a brace ban. So to clarify this isn’t a ban. It is secret restrictions and determinations that is not out in the open regarding the brace. The problem is the secrecy. Yes, reclassifying any brace as a stock is complete reversal and would be terrible for millions of law abiding citizens. Unfortunately, the ATF is trying to do this behind our backs.
The President enacted two executive orders (EO) that address this issue.
- Executive Order on Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents
- Executive Order on Promoting the Rule of Law Through Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement and Adjudication
The first EO basically says that public guidance does not have the force or effect of law. We saw this earlier in Benjamin F’s article about the ATF admitting they do not have legal authority. The second EO states that private letters cannot use standards that are not publicly stated in guidance documents.
These two EOs go hand in hand and directly address what the ATF is trying to do. They can’t have a set of secret rules that the public is not aware of and yet are responsible for following. On top of that said rules are not considered enforceable as law.
While the ATF’s secret brace ban is alarming, it is not official and certainly not public yet. Interested parties should contact their representatives and make them aware of this issue.