(The Center Square) – The White House on Monday called for a controversial pistol regulation that would impact millions of Americans, requiring many more gun owners to register with the federal government.
President Joe Biden’s Office of Management and Budget released a statement backing new federal regulations for “stabilizing braces” for pistols. The White House also blasted a Republican Congressional effort to push back against the rule, making clear Biden would veto Republicans’ bill if needed.
The fight over this issue kicked into high gear in January when the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued a final rule to put pistols with “stabilizing braces” into the category of short-barreled rifles, thus subjecting them to heavier regulations. Those braces allow users to fire pistols with one hand, and were initially designed to help people such as disabled veterans to continue using firearms.
The new rule would require Americans to pay a fee and register their braces. Lawsuits were filed to challenge this rule, and in May a federal court temporarily blocked the rule until a final decision is reached.
The Firearms Policy Coalition, which challenged the Biden rule in court, said it would have made “millions of peaceable people into felons overnight simply for owning a firearm that has been lawful to own for a decade, unless they either destroy their constitutionally protected property or comply with the NFA’s onerous and unconstitutional requirements.”
According to ATF, there are about 3 million guns with stabilizing braces in the U.S. Failing to register could lead to fines and even imprisonment.
The White House pointed out that some mass shooters have used stabilizing braces and argue the braces make pistols more like short barrel rifles, which are much more heavily regulated.
“The rationale is clear: short-barreled rifles are more concealable than long guns, yet more dangerous and accurate at a distance than traditional pistols,” the White House said. “For these reasons, they are particularly lethal, which is why Congress has deemed them to be dangerous and unusual weapons subject to strict regulation since 1934.”
U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., introduce a resolution in March to overturn the federal rule change via the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to block federal rule changes.
The White House, though, has blasted the Republican effort.
“Even though Congressional Republicans should take additional action to keep these and other dangerous weapons off our streets, they are instead pushing a resolution to reverse this rule and the progress we have made to enforce existing statutory requirements on these dangerous weapons,” OMB said.