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Proper Representation: Arizona Attorney General Against the ATF Brace Ban

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According to the ATF, the window for the public to comment on the new ATF Brace Ban closed last week. We, the people of the United States, have seen recent victories, as the nomination of David Chipman for the position of the Director of the ATF was withdrawn by the White House. Many experience a disconnect between what they believe Representation in Government should look like, and what they observe within institutions from local, state, and federal offices. However, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brovnich has opposed the ATF action referred to as the Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces further showing that he represents the people of his state to the federal government, not the other way around.

There are two reasons why this is significant for us as Citizens of the United States. First and foremost, the Arizona Attorney General is arguing for, not against, the rights of the people. Second, his argument within a letter sent to the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland challenges not only the details of the new Brace Ban, but also clearly outlines the context that it was presented in, further adding weight.

ATF Brace Ban
It appears that even the Law Tactical Folding Adapter is considered in the new criteria.

Leave it to an Attorney General to describe the consequences of such a move as reclassifying firearms with stabilizing braces as SBRs. We are thankful that those in such positions have contributed to the over 200,000 voices who spoke up on behalf of the millions of people who own firearms using braces.

In his letter, Mark Brovnich outlined the history of the NFA, describing it as a “ban disguised as a tax” that presented itself as an attempt to curb organized crime and aid law enforcement by providing a new avenue by which to prosecute supposed gangsters, while stating that the average, otherwise law-abiding citizen would not be unnecessarily burdened. Brovnich goes on to explain that if this is the intent of the NFA as shown by its history, then the actions of the ATF to redefine a firearm as regulated by the NFA due to its configuration (i.e. having a brace) is both inconsistent with the intent and application of such law.

It is precisely this intent that ATF is violating here: issuing a proposed rule that expands the scope of the NFA beyond the bounds of its text to burden ordinary citizens with regulation of a popular weapon configuration—not even the weapon itself—which ATF has failed to meaningfully link to any special criminal use distinct from other non-NFA firearms. Worse yet, the proposed rule would turn Americans into felons for simply doing nothing. The proposed rule does not target gangsters and professional criminals but criminalizes the currently-lawful behavior of ordinary citizens.

Brovnich, Mark. Comment of the Arizona Attorney General in opposition to the proposed rule entitled Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” Dated 8 September, 2021.

Further arguing the letter of the Law, he included statutory examples of why the argument that attaching a brace to a pistol cannot be regulated by the NFA according to the wording of the proposed factoring criteria. The NFA, when written, deliberately exempts pistols from regulation, instead address rifles which have been modified to have shorter barrels. A technicality, but an important one, as it effectively states that attaching a brace to a pistol does not constitute a redesign, and even if it did, the NFA only has authority over firearms that began as rifles, but were then turned into short-barreled rifles.

The act of reclassifying pistols as NFA items because they have a brace attached also offends the concept of representative government.

ATF has no more power to suddenly declare a $200 tax and registration scheme on pistols under the NFA by changing its definition of “rifle” to include them than it has to do the same with racecars or watermelons. Congress deliberately left pistols out of the list of covered firearms in the NFA. ATF may not use the rulemaking process to wedge them in.

Brovnich, Mark. Comment of the Arizona Attorney General in opposition to the proposed rule entitled Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” Dated 8 September, 2021.

Citing our article on the Origins of the NFA Mark Brovnich that the proposed reclassification does the opposite of the intention of the NFA, treating law abiding citizens as if they were “criminals, racketeers, and gangsters.” In the sense of a Kafka trap, the new definition treats gun owners as criminals subject to registration, or makes them into felons for not complying.

In regard to the language of being in common use, if using recent classifications such as stun guns as a metric, which needed only hundreds of thousands in common circulation, the millions of braced pistols certainly exceed this requirement.

22 State Comments in Opposition

With the letter from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brovnich, opposition is clearly stated against the redefinition. On September 7th, 2021, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost also penned a letter of opposition to United States AG Merrick Garland, representing Ohio, and on behalf of 21 additional States. Alabama, Alaska, Missouri, Montana, Arizona, Nebraska, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Idaho, South Dakota, Indiana, Texas, Kentucky, Utah, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Mississippi Attorney Generals co signed a letter addressing similar concerns regarding the new proposed criteria.

Elections have consequences, and while the attention to high profile positions like the Presidency gather the most attention, we are reminded that the federal system operates on the actions of the States. The proper direction of representation is from the people, through their elected representatives, to the federal government, not the other way around. It is not the job of elected officials to condescend the language of the federal government to the people through regulations and translations, but rather, for them to direct the will of the people upward.

For more on the NFA, Short Barreled Rifles, and Gun Control

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