Georgia Congressman Andrew Clyde Wants to Challenge the ATF’s Final Rule

After the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) published its pistol brace rule to the Federal Register on January 31, 2023. Several members of the United States House of Representatives such as Georgian Congressman Andrew Clyde are working to stop this new ATF regulation.

Clyde promised to reintroduce the Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today (SHORT) Act. This law would have short barreled rifles (SBRs) removed from the National Firearms Act (NFA). Per NFA regulations, any rifle that has a barrel under 16 inches is subject to the NFA and must be registered with the ATF. On top of that, the gun owner must pay a $200 tax for owning this kind of rifle. 

Under this new rule, a pistol featuring a stabilizing device would fall under the classification as an SBR. According to John Crump of AmmoLand, “The owners could remove the brace and modify it so it cannot be reattached to the rifle, replace the short barrel with a 16-inch barrel, destroy the firearm, turn it in to the ATF, or register the firearm with the ATF as an SBR.” Crump added that “The gun owner would be granted a $200 tax fee forbearance.” Gun owners have until May 31, 2023 to fully comply with the new regulation.

If a gun owner is caught with a firearm that is not in compliance with the regulation, they could face up to 10 years in federal prison. 

“Next week, I will reintroduce the Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today Act, or the SHORT Act, to repeal elements of the National Firearms Act, thereby prohibiting the ATF from registering and banning pistols with stabilizing braces,” Clyde announced on the House Floor. “Additionally, as soon as the ATF’s unlawful rule is published to the Federal Register, I will introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to override the Biden administration’s unlawful overreach.”

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) grants Congress the power to nullify regulations that government agencies enact. 

Clyde plans to take on ATF’s pistol brace rule by turning to the CRA. He declared that Congress is “putting the ATF on notice.”

Under the CRA, a simple majority in Congress is needed to disapprove a regulation. The CRA also cannot be filibustered in the Senate, which means that only 51 Senators must vote on the resolution to scrap a rule. There is sufficient support in the House to use the CRA to repeal the ATF’s new rule. 

In the Senate, it will be much harder for elected officials to do away with the ATF rule. With 48 Democrats and 3 Independents who caucus with Democrats, Republicans will need at least two other Senators to cross over and vote for this bill. 

Nevertheless, Clyde’s bill is a good first step. Republicans’ ultimate goal should be to defund and eventually abolish the ATF. There should be no more games when dealing with unconstitutional agencies 

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