Republican Rep. Jim Jordan was one of the lawmakers who signed the letter. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Eight Republican members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee are taking the ATF to task for what they argue is a clear attempt to usurp the authority of Congress.

The agency’s new rule redefining “frame or receiver” under federal law goes against the will of Congress and infringes upon the Second Amendment rights of the American people, the lawmakers argued in a letter sent to ATF Acting Director Marvin Richardson.

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) attempt to expand the definition of firearm, like other ATF regulatory efforts, is deeply flawed, beyond the scope of ATF’s authority, contrary to years of previous ATF opinions, and harmful to millions of law-abiding American firearm owners,” they say.

The lawmakers point out that the agency’s new rule exceeds the authority granted by Congress.

The new rule, for example, adds “weapons parts kids” as well as “assembled” and “completed” to the new definition of “frame or receiver.” But the Gun Control Act makes no mentions of parts kits and only describes weapons that are “designed to or may readily be converted” into firearms. By adding new concepts to the statutory definition of “firearm,” the ATF is contradicting the will of Congress.

In addition, the new rule tries to regulate privately made firearms without statutory authorization from Congress, the lawmakers write. The ATF claims that federal law requires all firearms to be serialized, which is how it justifies requiring gun dealers to serialize privately made firearms that come into their possession.

But federal law does not require privately made firearms to be serialized. Only “manufacturers” and “importers” must mark firearms, the lawmakers point out. The ATF attempts to add a new category of regulated entities—“dealer-gunsmith”—that appears nowhere else in federal law.

By usurping the authority of Congress, the ATF is usurping on the will of the American people and violating their constitutional rights.

“ATF’s rule appears to be a deliberate attempt to usurp the authority of Congress. In so doing, ATF has also unconstitutionally infringed on American citizens’ fundamental Second Amendment rights and privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment,” the letter says. “We strongly urge ATF to abandon its proposed rule issued on May 21, 2021, entitled, “Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms.”


Source: GunsAmerica Digest