Pro-Gun Control Witness Admits That He Spoke With ATF Director Ahead Of Pistol Brace Rule


Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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An executive for the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety testified Thursday that he spoke with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Director Steven Dettelbach before the agency issued a rule cracking down on pistol braces.

Rob Wilcox, Everytown’s senior director of policy, repeatedly dodged questioning from House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio before admitting to the conversations. ATF finalized the pistol brace rule in January 2023, seven months after the Senate confirmed Dettelbach to helm the bureau. (RELATED: Here’s What You Need To Know About Biden’s New ATF Nominee)

“Did you or anyone in your organization communicate with the ATF or the Biden administration, about these issues we’re discussing today prior to the notice of proposed rule-making?” Jordan asked.

We submitted formal petitions for rule-making through the appropriate channels,” Wilcox responded.

“Before the notice of proposed rule-making?” Jordan followed up.

“That’s correct,” Wilcox answered.

ATF first approved the pistol stabilizing brace add-on in 2012, ruling that the device “would not alter the classification of a pistol or other firearm,” according to its developer, Alex Bosco. The bureau finalized a rule in January 2023 classifying pistols with braces attached as “short-barreled rifles,” which must be registered with the federal government. Multiple outside groups are suing over the rule.

Did anyone [with Everytown] ever talk to Mr. Dettelbach about this personally?” Jordan asked.

“Of course we’ve been in communication with the ATF in this administration and in prior administrations,” Wilcox dodged.

“Talking to the director? You’ve talked to the director?” Jordan followed up.

“We work with ATF across administrations,” Wilcox again said.

“Have you talked to the director? It’s a simple question,” Jordan doubled down.

“Yeah, I’ve communicated with the director,” Wilcox admitted.

Jordan compared Wilcox’s interactions with Dettelbach to interactions between National School Boards Association (NSBA) officials and White House staff before the group submitted a letter requesting that the Biden administration use domestic terrorism statutes to combat threats of violence directed at public officials. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government is currently investigating the NSBA and Biden administration’s interactions.

“It looks to me like we have a similar operation going on here, where you guys worked with the ATF to change something that had been the law for 10 years to go after law-abiding Second Amendment-supporting Americans,” Jordan said.