Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, are calling out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ (ATF) denial of applications to develop firearm silencers due to a regulatory change.
Under current law, Americans may file a form with ATF and pay a $200 filing fee before they are approved to build their own silencers. Those applications are generally accepted. However, the Bureau recently rejected more than 800 applications to build silencers due to a change in their policy which treats designer kits as the devices themselves.
Already developed silencers must be sold by licensed dealers, who must fill out separate forms and pay an extra tax.
“The ATF’s continued assault of the Second Amendment threatens millions of law–abiding American firearm owners. The ATF has overstepped its authority by changing the definition of what constitutes a silencer from the definition as passed by Congress,” 156 Republicans wrote to ATF Acting Director Marvin Richardson in a letter obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.
Read the letter here:
The Republicans report that constituents who applied to build silencers were told by ATF agents to send in photographs of the device parts and kits or they will not be approved. This could create self-incrimination issues, the Republicans say, if the ATF determines that the kits already constitute a silencer.
“The ATF continues to infringe on the constitutional liberties of law-abiding Americans. This has gone on long enough,” Biggs told the Daily Caller. “ATF is ignoring years of precedent to restrict individuals’ ability to make their own silencers. I’ve heard from my constituents how this arbitrary change is negatively impacting them. This is unacceptable. The ATF is overstepping its authority and it must explain its actions to Congress and the American people.”
Richardson, a long-time ATF agent, has led the Bureau since June 2021. Biden’s nominee for permanent head, David Chipman, withdrew his nomination after Independent Maine Sen. Angus King announced his opposition. (RELATED: Biden’s Nominee To Lead ATF Pushed Dubious Claim About Waco Siege To Call For Blanket Ban On Assault Rifles)
The Republicans are demanding that Richardson explain the denials and produce documents discussing the regulatory process that led to the definition change. They also expect him to explain how the ATF will publicize the change and how it will evaluate future applications.