Brnovich Co-leads 20-state coalition in ATF Comment Letter
PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are leading a coalition of 20 states urging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to reconsider and reject a proposed rule that weakens the Second Amendment by giving the ATF power to regulate firearm parts. The attorneys general filed public comments on Thursday afternoon.
The proposed rule significantly expands the regulation of firearm parts beyond the scope of ATF’s authority under the Gun Control Act of 1968. ATF is only authorized to regulate complete firearms and complete receivers–not incomplete firearms or receivers (with the exception of machineguns). In their letter, the attorneys general explain how courts have ruled against agencies that have attempted to promulgate regulations that broaden the definition of statutory terms beyond the scope of Congress’s intent.
“ATF’s job is to enforce the laws written by Congress, not interpret or rewrite them because of political pressure,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "I will continue to vigorously protect the Second Amendment."
The proposed rule classifies any firearm part that “provides housing or structure for any fire control component” as a receiver, and thus equal to a complete firearm under the law. Each part, under the proposed rule, would need to bear a serial number regardless of how small or impractical. ATF itself recognizes the risk of creating such an unmanageable system, and thus grants itself the discretion to ultimately determine which part falls within the definition.
Law abiding citizens have the right to assemble firearms for their own use— a fact borne out in early American history and expressly recognized by the Gun Control Act. The new proposed ATF rule treats this activity as a problem to be stamped out, rather than a right and tradition to be respected.
The coalition further argues that ATF did not fully consider the costs of changing a longstanding policy upon which many people and businesses rely. It cites the ATF’s own analysis in stating the rule would force at least 35 businesses to cease operation or significantly scale down their activities. The attorneys general, however, argue the bureau underestimates the financial loss contending it would far exceed the rule’s $1.1 million estimate.
Joining Attorney General Brnovich and Morrissey are the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
Copy of coalition’s letter here.
Since 2015, General Brnovich has consistently fought to protect the Second Amendment.
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