Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) introduced legislation Wednesday to block funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) proposed universal background check rule.
The legislation has 107 cosponsors.
On August 31, 2023, Breitbart News reported that the ATF announced a proposed rule, 2022R-17, redefining what it means to be gun dealer, thereby broadening the number of gun sales that must be performed via a background check.
ATF director Steven Dettelbach said the proposed rule “[clarifies] the circumstances in which a person is ‘engaged in the business’ of dealing in firearms.” By so doing, it puts private gun sales under the same point-of-sale requirements that exist for retail gun sales, and those requirements include an FBI-run National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check.
The legislation introduced today to defund the ATF’s efforts is titled the Stopping Unconstitutional Background Checks Act.
The Act states: “No Federal funds may be used to finalize, implement, or enforce the rule proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, entitled ‘Definition of “Engaged in the Business” as a Dealer in Firearms,’ in the notice of proposed rulemaking 2022R–17, signed by the Attorney General on August 30, 2023, or any substantially similar rule.”
In announcing the Act, Rep. Clyde said, “[The ATF’s] proposed rule marks the Biden Administration’s latest attempt to infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights, institute universal background checks, and advance the Left’s radical gun control agenda.”
Private citizens should not be forced to jump through unelected anti-gun bureaucrats’ unconstitutional hurdles in order to engage in lawful firearms transactions. The ATF’s concerning pattern of criminalizing the American people for exercising their unalienable right to keep and bear arms must be met with swift congressional action. My legislation provides a simple solution to block the implementation of and funding for this unlawful, convoluted, and burdensome rule — protecting Americans’ Second Amendment liberties from the Biden Administration’s nefarious overreach.
The effort to defund the ATF’s universal background check rule has the support of Gun Owners of America (GOA), the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), the National Rifle Association (NRA), and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
Aidan Johnson, GOA director of federal affairs, commented on the push to defund and block the rule, saying:
While Congress has made it clear that the federal government may not create a registry of guns and gun owners, that’s not stopping Joe Biden’s ATF from using every tool in its arsenal to weaponize the background check system to build a digital database of firearm transaction records. This backdoor ‘Universal Background Check’ rule, which attempts to require anyone selling just one gun in a year to keep gun registration paperwork, is a violation of the Second Amendment and is only enforceable with ATF’s illegal gun registry — which the ATF Director admits is already very real. GOA thanks Congressman Clyde for standing up to this rogue regime’s actions.
Hunter King, NAGR director of government affairs, said, “Yet again, the ATF is attempting to circumvent Congress and the law-making process in
order to implement their radical gun control agenda on the American people, this time in the form of universal gun registration.”
WATCH: AWR Hawkins: Universal Background Checks = Gun Registry
King went on to praise Rep. Clyde’s efforts to defund the rule and called for all of Congress to rally behind him.
NRA-ILA executive director Randy Kozuch said, “The ATF’s proposal to redefine ‘Engaged in the Business’ is another example of the Biden Administration attempting to circumvent the U.S. Congress and radically rewrite federal law.”
Kozuch echoed King’s praise for the defunding efforts of Clyde and his Congressional co-sponsors.
NSSF senior vice president and general counsel Larry Keane commented, saying:
Implementing the proposed rule would harm industry members’ ability to run their businesses because it will divert ATF resources away from providing required services to the industry like processing NFA forms, issuing import permits, renewing licenses, and providing product classifications — all of which already take too long — to license and inspect gun owners and collectors Congress does not require to have a license. NSSF thanks Congressman Clyde for his leadership to assert Congress’ sole authority to legislate and to rein in ATF’s overreach.
Biden’s ATF has already used one rule to redefine “partially complete pistol frames” as “firearms” and another rule to adopt new terminology so that AR-pistols with stabilizer braces are categorized as short barrel rifles (SBRs), thereby placing them under the auspices of the National Firearms Act.
In 2018 the ATF used the same rule-making procedure to categorize bump stocks as “machineguns,” although bump stocks do not have a trigger, a barrel, an action, nor a hammer or firing pin.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010, a speaker at the 2023 Western Conservative Summit, and he holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange. Reach him directly at email@example.com.