By a vote of 219-210, the House of Representatives has signed off on Rep. Andrew Clyde’s resolution to repeal the ATF’s new rule on pistol braces; sending the measure on to the Senate where it faces a very uncertain future.
Joe Biden has already vowed to veto H.J. Res 44 if it gets to his desk, but passage out of both chambers of Congress would still be an important win for gun owners, especially with the legal challenges to the rule underway in multiple jurisdictions around the country. The text of Clyde’s resolution makes clear that the intent of Congress is being thwarted by the ATF rule as well as its legislative branch authority to write new laws, which has been abrogated by the agency and its crafting of new laws through regulation. Clyde himself brought up the executive branch overreach on the House floor on Tuesday afternoon.
“This rule doesn’t just infringe upon Americans’ Second Amendment liberties. It represents a dangerous government overreach by the administration,” Clyde said during debate Tuesday. “Congress maintains sole legislative authority, not government agencies, not the executive branch.”
Several lawsuits have been filed against the regulations by gun owners and state attorneys general. They say it violates Second Amendment protections by requiring millions of people to alter or register their weapons. In some cases, judges have recently agreed to temporarily block enforcement of the rule for the plaintiffs in a setback for the Biden administration.
House Democrats defended the rule on Tuesday, saying it could save lives.
“How many more mass shootings need to happen, how many more kids need to die before my Republican colleagues pull their heads out of the sand and realize that the NRA money is not worth the damage that’s been done to our country,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
I’d love for McGovern to explain how the pistol brace rule is going to stop any shooting from taking place, because that’s a nothingburger of a talking point. As we discussed yesterday, the gun control group Everytown is even claiming that attaching a brace to an AR-style pistol somehow makes it easier to conceal, which is another bizarre assertion completely unmoored from reality. No cowardly killer or twisted individual plotting a mass shooting is going to change their mind because they can’t purchase a stabilizing brace, but many disabled Americans will face irreparable harm as a result of the ATF’s new rule if the adaptive devices are not allowed to be purchased or possessed without registering brace-equipped pistols under the NFA.
The House vote was at least mildly bipartisan in nature, with two Democrats voting in favor of Clyde’s resolution and two Republicans voting against it. Now the measure heads over to the Senate, where its prospects are murky at best. With Democrats in control of the upper chamber supporters of the resolution are going to have to bring at least two of them on board, and it remains to be seen if “moderates” like Joe Manchin or Angus King will dare to buck the party bosses and side with gun owners. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen, and I still believe that litigation is going to be what ultimately derails the ATF’s executive branch overreach, but Tuesday’s House vote is still a step in the right direction in terms of defending our Second Amendment rights and curbing the abuses of the ATF and the Biden administration.