Biden’s ATF Chief Avoids Saying Whether He’ll Jail Americans Who Inadvertently Break New Gun Rule

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Trevor Schakohl Legal Reporter
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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Director Steve Dettelbach avoided confirming Wednesday whether the agency would pursue prosecution against people who violated its new pistol brace rule accidentally.

The rule requires owners to register pistols with braces as “short barrel rifles” by redefining a weapon “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder” as a “rifle,” with a May 31 deadline. Republican Texas Rep. Troy Nehls said he viewed the rule as “a direct assault” on law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights, asking Dettelbach what enforcement mechanism the ATF would use to fine or possibly sentence people to jail if they do not comply or aren’t aware of it, during the Wednesday House Judiciary Committee hearing on ATF oversight.


“ATF’s mission remains focused on protecting the American people from violent crime. We target our resources toward violent people who-” Dettelbach said, with Nehls cutting him off. Nehls questioned what the ATF would do if he or millions of others hypothetically failed to comply with the rule, prompting Dettelbach to mention the ATF’s violent crime focus again. (RELATED: ‘Not A Firearms Expert’: Biden’s ATF Chief Admits He Can’t Define What An ‘Assault Weapon’ Is)

Nehls had said stabilizing gun braces were originally created for wounded and disabled Americans, who often use them. The ATF says the new rule does not affect pistol stabilizing braces “objectively designed and intended as a ‘stabilizing brace’ for use by individuals with disabilities, and not for shouldering the weapon as a rifle.”

“I just want the American people, everybody to understand, you’re going after veterans, individuals like myself, like this guy, with the resources they currently have,” Nehls argued, pointing to a photo of a man in a wheelchair holding a firearm.

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