It should come as no surprise that the executive branch of the government has taken unilateral action against weapons. After all, gun regulation was a major campaign issue for Vice President Joe Biden. He didn't hide his desire to outlaw and regulate firearms, unlike previous candidates who made vague statements on the subject. He took off after that message. Now we're seeing the first concrete manifestations of his administration's gun-control policy. Although we know Biden would like to sign legislation prohibiting the sale of millions of semi-automatic rifles and magazines, he will use his pen for a different cause this time. The White House issued a fact sheet on “Initial Actions to Address Climate Change” on April 7, 2021 the Gun Violence Public Health Epidemic.” In simple English: Gun control via executive order.
The first executive order addresses so-called "ghost guns," which are firearms that are created or finished by people rather than companies, and are frequently not serialized for cataloging or identification. Many of these rifles are made from 80 percent receivers that can be completed and assembled into a full handgun by a qualified end user. The Department of Justice (DOJ) will submit a proposed regulation to “stop the proliferation of these firearms” within 30 days, according to the fact sheet. We won't know the details of the rule until it's published, but we can expect it to control or prohibit the manufacture, possession, or sale of firearms that haven't been awarded a license serial number and sold through a licensed dealer.
The second order tackles a topic that everybody who has been following this story is familiar with: Within 60 days, the Department of Justice will issue a proposed rule requiring weapons equipped with "pistol stabilizing braces" to be registered as Short-Barreled Rifles (SBRs) and subject to the National Firearms Act's regulations. In December 2020, a similar rule was published and then mysteriously revoked. The new proposed rule is likely to be similar to the prior effort.
The ATF has issued letters on the matter of braces that contradict prior letters and instructions, creating a muddled history on the subject. The "Objective Factors" that would have determined whether or not a brace-equipped pistol was designated a short-barreled rifle were put out in the proposed rule for 2020. Type and caliber, weight and length, length of pull, attachment technique, stabilizing brace design characteristics, aim point, secondary grip, sights and scopes, and peripheral accessories were among the parameters considered. "No single criterion or combination of factors is necessarily dispositive," the notification continued, "and FATD considers each weapon holistically on a case-by-case basis."So, is your pistol now an SBR? That determination is up to an unelected bureaucrat.
Unlike the bump stock ruling, which left Americans with no legal way to keep their property, the December notice outlined a strategy: “ATF understands that most individuals who purchased affected stabilizer-equipped firearms did so in good faith based on representations made by those selling the stabilizing braces or firearms that those firearms were not subject to the NFA.” As a result, the ATF recommended creating a scheme in which people may register their brace-equipped firearms as SBRs. According to the notice, the program would have included faster processing and a $200 NFA tax relief.
The final decision instructs the Department of Justice to produce "model red flag" legislation for states to consider. Sure, the government has tried in vain to have a red flag confiscation bill passed in Congress, but they have been failed thus far. The administration also wants to "incentivize" states that adopt the model laws, most likely by dangling federal cash in front of state legislatures.
There's one more thing to say about this story. David Chipman will be nominated by the President to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). According to CNN, the nominee is a "ferocious campaigner for gun regulation," and his resume backs up that claim. Chipman, a former ATF agent, most recently worked for two well-known gun control organizations. Chipman worked as a senior advisor and senior vice president of public safety solutions at Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety after leaving the ATF in 2012. He was effectively the creator of the anti-gun measures that we've seen in recent years in those capacities. Chipman joined the Giffords Law Center, another gun-control organization, as a senior policy advisor in 2016.
Although these executive acts were not unexpected, they nonetheless indicate a deterioration of civil liberties. This is the beginning, not the finish, of the fight for our Second Amendment rights. As the administration continues to press the Democrat-controlled Congress to implement further gun control legislation, we should expect similar executive actions in the future. Keep an eye on gunsandammo.com for the most up-to-date information.