U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who was at risk of being punched out during the contentious debate over electing the speaker of the House, thinks Americans ought to see more such scenes on television.

Rep. Gaetz Declares War On ATF, Calling Agency’s Rule “Snipe Hunt” To Penalize Legal Gun Owners

The Fort Walton Beach Republican filed the “Abolish the ATF Act” this week, which, as the name implies, would eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (TFP File Photo, FB)

Rep. Matt Gaetz is leading the charge to gut the ATF.

The Fort Walton Beach Republican filed the “Abolish the ATF Act” this week, which, as the name implies, would eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

“We are putting the ATF in our crosshairs,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Gaetz told Fox News in an interview that a rule the agency introduced on Friday was the “last straw.”

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According to the pro-Second Amendment website Bearing Arms, the massive 291-page rule would essentially reclassify pistol-stabilizing braces into the same category as short-barreled rifles. Owning a short-barreled rifle requires registering the gun under the National Firearms Act.

Both Attorney General Merrick Garland and ATF Director Steve Dettelbach claimed the rule will enhance public safety.  Dettelbach, in a statement, raised the specter of mob boss Al Capone and said stabilizing devices are “essentially converting them [pistols] into short-barreled rifles to be fired from the shoulder. Therefore, they must be treated in the same way under the statute.” 

It’s difficult for gun owners to see how a pistol can be converted to a rifle with an instrument intended in part to help disabled gun owners. Yet the Biden administration showed it was no friend of democracy.

Bearing Arms noted that the proposed rule generated more than 237,000 comments during the public comment period. Of those, only 8% were in favor of the new rule.

Fox News reported that Gaetz argued the rule “unfairly punishes disabled gun owners and veterans who rely on stabilizing braces to be able to fire with one hand.”

“I have a lot of disabled veterans in my district who enjoy pistol shooting and rely on stabilizing braces to be able to engage in the activity,” the congressman told Fox News in an interview Wednesday morning.

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“The recent actions from the ATF essentially allow them to make case-by-case determinations on whether a pistol with a stabilizing brace is legal or an unlawful, sawed-off shotgun.”

“The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on the actions they’re taking to convert otherwise law-abiding people into felons,” Gaetz continued.

“My bill would abolish the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to try defunding the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to target the individual bureaucrats at the top of the ATF who have exceeded their authority in rulemaking. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to take a meat cleaver to the statutes that the ATF believes broadly authorize their actions.”

Gaetz added that he thinks “the people at the ATF making these rules fundamentally don’t understand firearms.”

“I think they are under the flawed conception that a stabilizing brace increases the lethality or danger of a pistol,” he said. “It seems the ATF is on a snipe hunt for regulatory action that virtue signals to the anti-gun left, but that has no real practical safety impact on Americans.”

“I believe that you are likely to see ATF bureaucrats hauled before the Judiciary Committee to explain themselves in the coming weeks and months,” Gaetz, a committee member, added.

“Because we’re hearing this very loudly from our constituents, and the reason I filed this bill is, frankly, I think that the ATF should have to justify their existence at all.”

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