Republican Legislators Object to ATF’s Proposed Amendment to Gun Control Regulation

Dozens of members of Congress have voiced concerns over a proposed rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) redefining what constitutes dealing in firearms. Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) authored one of the letters of concern and cosigned the other, expressing worries that the proposed change is even more radical than what progressive gun groups were lobbying for.

The ATF has not commented on the letters in response to requests from The Epoch Times. Gun rights activists argue that the proposed rule could practically eliminate private gun sales. Mr. Good’s letter, sent on the final day of the public comment period, warns ATF Director Steven Dettelbach that the proposed rule is an unconstitutional overreach.

The letter also points to the redefining of several phrases, including “personal collection” and “Predominantly earn a profit,” and says it would lead to an increase in burdensome paperwork and unnecessary background checks for what was previously a lawful transaction. Eight other Republican members of Congress signed Mr. Good’s letter.

Furthermore, Mr. Good was also one of 24 co-signers of a letter from Rep. Andrew Clyde to Mr. Dettelbach, raising concerns about the ATF’s refusal to accept 40,000 petitions from the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) opposing the rule change.

The rejection of the petitions has led to questions about the ATF’s commitment to the public comment process and First Amendment rights according to Clyde, which results in further controversy surrounding the rule change. Meanwhile, ATF has not expressed interest in hearing from anyone who disagrees with the proposed rule. Clyde further invoked the APA and E-Government Act of 2022 in his letter to call for an avenue to accept the petitions.

Contrary to the concerns of supporters of the Second Amendment, over 230,000 out of the 323,710 public comments received electronically indicated support for the proposed rule, as reported by The Epoch Times. Second Amendment advocates say an organized anti-gun campaign is influencing the comment section, and they are concerned that citizens feel disengaged from the public comment process.

The ATF proposed the rule to align gun regulations with the BSCA passed by Congress, which redefined the criteria for a gun dealer versus a private individual selling a gun. If the new rule is implemented, private individuals selling a gun to a friend, neighbor, or family member would have to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and run a background check on the prospective buyer. This has sparked concern and controversy among those who support Second Amendment rights.

The proposed rule has ignited debate and concern among members of Congress, gun rights activists, and citizens alike, as the ATF seeks to redefine what constitutes dealing in firearms. The clash of opinions has raised questions about constitutional rights and the evolving landscape of gun regulations in the United States.


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