Matt Gaetz pushes bill to abolish the ATF

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Rep. Matt Gaetz, (R-FLA) introduced a bill this week to eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) following a controversial ruling that tightens regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces.

The ATF issued its final rule Friday that will treat guns with stabilizing accessories like short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own under the National Firearms Act.

Fox News reported on update and said: “The move is part of a comprehensive gun crime strategy President Biden announced in April 2021, in response to the massacre at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, where a gunman using a stabilizing brace killed 10 people. A stabilizing brace was also used in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine people dead in 2019.”

Announcing the rule, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that stabilizing brace accessories, which were designed to help disabled combat veterans enjoy recreational shooting, transform pistols into short-barreled rifles.

“Keeping our communities safe from gun violence is among the Department’s highest priorities,” Garland said. “Almost a century ago, Congress determined that short-barreled rifles must be subject to heightened requirements. Today’s rule makes clear that firearm manufacturers, dealers, and individuals cannot evade these important public safety protections simply by adding accessories to pistols that transform them into short-barreled rifles.”

Garland said the ruling enhances public safety, but Gaetz said it unfairly punishes disabled gun owners and veterans who rely on stabilizing braces to be able to fire with one hand.

“I have a lot of disabled veterans in my district who enjoy pistol shooting and rely on stabilizing braces to be able to engage in the activity,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “The recent actions from the ATF essentially allow them to make case-by-case determinations on whether a pistol with a stabilizing brace is legal or an unlawful, sawed-off shotgun.”

“The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on the actions they’re taking to convert otherwise law-abiding people into felons,” he said. “My bill would abolish the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to try defunding the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to target the individual bureaucrats at the top of the ATF who have exceeded their authority in rulemaking. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to take a meat cleaver to the statutes that the ATF believes broadly authorize their actions.”

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is hereby abolished,” the text of the concise measure reads.

“House Republicans have the ATF in our crosshairs,” Gaetz said, according to a press release. “My bill today would abolish the ATF once and for all.”

The full text of the Gaetz release:

“Today, U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) introduced the “Abolish the ATF Act” of 2023, which eliminates the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms (ATF) immediately after the bill’s enactment.

During his time in Congress, Congressman Gaetz has sounded the alarm more than once on ATF overreach. In June and September of 2020, he issued letters to Attorney General William Barr and Acting ATF Director Regina Lombardo calling on the 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.” Both letters went unanswered by the ATF. Last week, however, the ATF then cited Rep. Gaetz’s June 2020 letter in their latest announcement of big government overreach by forcing gun owners to face risk of a felony charge if they do not register their firearms with stabilizing braces (see pages 40-42).

“House Republicans have the ATF in our crosshairs. The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on their repeated actions to convert law-abiding citizens into felons. They must be stopped. My bill today would abolish the ATF once and for all,” Congressman Gaetz said.

“The proposal likely has no chance of becoming law — even if House Republicans rallied around the idea of nixing the ATF, the GOP does not have control of the Senate, and President Joe Biden would almost certainly veto the legislation if it ever reached his desk,” The Blaze reported.

“The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on the actions they’re taking to convert otherwise law-abiding people into felons,” Gaetz said, according to Fox News Digital. “My bill would abolish the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to try defunding the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to target the individual bureaucrats at the top of the ATF who have exceeded their authority in rulemaking. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to take a meat cleaver to the statutes that the ATF believes broadly authorize their actions.”

The Blaze reported about Gaetz,  saying he  has served as a U.S. House member from the Sunshine State since 2017, was one of the House GOP lawmakers who repeatedly voted against Kevin McCarthy earlier this month as the California Republican sought the role of House speaker. Gaetz voted against McCarthy for 13 rounds, then switched his vote to present during the last two rounds — the present votes cast by Gaetz and other GOP lawmakers on the 15th round of voting lowered the threshold necessary for McCarthy to win, enabling him to secure the speakership.

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