The proposed rule, the “Definition of Frame or Receiver and Identification of Firearms” was presented in May and signed by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Public remarks on the rule closed Thursday.
It would amend the Code of Federal Regulations, including the term “firearm” in order to regulate firearm kits, and amend the term “gunsmith” to define that gunsmiths have to mark unlicensed guns — effectively making the individual the manufacturer. It would implement regulations on almost all portions of a firearm.
“Contrary to ATF’s claims that the [proposed rule] will ‘clarify’ various aspects of federal gun laws, in reality the proposed rule would inject ambiguity after ambiguity into an otherwise unambiguous definition of ‘firearm,’ which has existed unmolested since its enactment over half a century ago,” the congressmen wrote. “These changes will cause significant problems not only for the law-abiding public and the courts in trying to apply the agency’s intent instead of a statute, but also for the firearms industry.”
The rule would further complicate types of guns by crafting definitions for what ATF deems a “complete weapon,” “complete muffler or silencer device,” and a “privately made firearm.” A deadline would further be put in place for the timeframe of marking guns.
Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told The Federalist the caucus is correct in asserting its position to alert the Department of Justice and ATF as to the problematic nature of the proposed rule.
“The proposed rule redefining ‘frames and receivers’ by the Biden administration is a naked attempt at legislation through regulation,” Oliva announced. “The proposed rule is an attempt to shift the goalposts and enact gun control the Biden administration knows runs counter to the will of Congress, the duly-elected representatives of the People.”
Oliva explained that it would bypass the lawmaking process and, “in essence allow the president to enact gun control via executive fiat. It is executive overreach. It is nothing more than a gun grab.”
The Republicans prominently take issue with ATF redefining “frame or receiver.” Under the proposed rule, an “upper receiver” of an AR-15 would be deemed a “firearm” since the gun portion can be seen from the exterior.
Though, ATF has always deemed the lower receiver of an AR-15 to be a “frame or receiver” since it is comprised of the fire control group: the trigger, disconnector, hammer, and fire selector. The lower receiver is the portion that is currently marked by my manufacturers with a serial number, but the upper portion would be marked as well under the new rule.