Mississippi senator joins fight against ATF brace rule for pistols

Published 7:16 am Tuesday, February 7, 2023

“Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms should not be up for debate,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said Monday. “But misguided politicians and bureaucrats in Washington often treat the Second Amendment like it’s a second-class right.”

Last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) published a new Biden Administration rule that subjects pistols with stabilizing braces to regulatory and tax requirements normally reserved for short-barreled rifles. When the ATF announced in June 2021 it was considering implementing the rule, gun rights groups stepped up. These advocates highlighted the burden it would place on disabled veterans and sportsmen who rely on pistol braces.

Despite these good-faith efforts, the ATF decided to push ahead anyway. The final rule contradicts the Bureau’s past positions and reverses more than a decade of guidance that gun owners have used to make purchasing decisions.

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Law-abiding owners will now be forced to register these guns, modify them, surrender them, or destroy them. If they do not, they could soon face a federal felony charge. It is not clear how any of these provisions would improve gun safety, Wicker said.

“From my first days in Congress, I have worked to defend the Second Amendment and protect the rights of every American, including gun owners,” said Wicker. “I am joining Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana in introducing a resolution that would nullify this outrageous and unnecessary regulation.”

Wicker recently cosponsored the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.

“Gun owners with concealed carry privileges are overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens, hence their licenses and permits. Their constitutional rights should never be questioned, including when they travel to states with restrictive gun rules,” Wicker said.

“Misguided gun-control policies are ineffective at best or harmful at worst. Some of the most terrible gun violence happens in places with the most onerous gun laws, including in jurisdictions like Illinois or California, which each have dozens of gun restrictions,” said Wicker. “What makes schools and communities safe is when they have strong law-enforcement presences, supportive families and organizations, and focus on mental health, especially for troubled young people.”

“With a conservative majority and outstanding recent additions like Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch, I am confident that this (Supreme) Court will protect the Second Amendment. I will work to ensure my colleagues in Congress do the same,” he said.