- House Joint Resolution 44 has passed, rejecting the ATF's pistol brace rule.
- The resolution states that the ATF cannot enforce the rule, which deems pistol braces illegal.
- Possessing a pistol brace on an AR-15 style rifle was considered a felony under the ATF's rule.
- The Senate's decision on the resolution is awaited, but the party in power traditionally opposes expanding gun rights.
- The resolution's approval by the Senate and the President's support are necessary for it to become law.
In a significant development regarding the ATF's pistol brace rule, the House of Representatives has voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 44 (HJR44). The resolution nullifies the ATF's rule, stating that pistol braces are illegal and making gun owners with pistol brace-equipped AR-15 style rifles felons. With a close vote of 219 to 210, the House has sent a strong message against the ATF's stance on pistol braces. However, the resolution must now pass through the Senate, where its fate remains uncertain due to the dominance of a political party traditionally opposed to expanding gun rights. Additionally, the President's support is required for the resolution to become law, and the President has previously expressed reservations about the AR-15 and pistol braces.
Background: The controversy surrounding the ATF's pistol brace rule has been ongoing for some time. For the past decade, the ATF declared that owning an AR-15 style rifle equipped with a pistol brace and a barrel shorter than 16 inches was legal, as long as it was not fired from the shoulder, avoiding the classification of a short barrel rifle. However, on May 31st, the ATF changed its stance. It announced that AR-15 style pistols with pistol braces and barrels shorter than 16 inches were now classified as short barrel rifles, requiring registration. Failure to register would result in felony charges. This sudden reversal left many gun owners in a difficult position, as they had to navigate new regulations or risk becoming felons.
House Joint Resolution 44: HJR44, which recently passed in the House, aims to overturn the ATF's pistol brace rule. The resolution declares that the ATF cannot enforce the rule, preventing law-abiding gun owners from being labeled as felons. It challenges the ATF's authority and aims to protect the rights of gun owners who have previously operated within the ATF's guidelines. However, the resolution's future is uncertain, as it must now face the Senate, where its passage may face significant challenges.
Senate and Presidential Challenges: The Senate's decision on HJR44 is of crucial importance. The dominance of a political party that traditionally opposes expanding gun rights raises concerns about the resolution's prospects. The party's stance and potential opposition may pose obstacles to the resolution's advancement. Even if the resolution successfully passes the Senate, it must still obtain the President's support to become law. Given the President's previous stance on AR-15s and pistol braces, which has been unfavorable, there is uncertainty about whether the resolution would receive the necessary approval.
Conclusion: While the House's passing of House Joint Resolution 44 signals a significant step in challenging the ATF's pistol brace rule, the future of the resolution remains uncertain. The resolution's fate now lies in the hands of the Senate and, ultimately, the President. The outcome will determine whether the ATF's rule stands or if pistol brace-equipped AR-15 style rifles remain legally accessible to law-abiding gun owners. This ongoing debate highlights the delicate balance between gun rights, law enforcement, and the power of regulatory agencies.