FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, dropped a bipartisan bill that would create an avenue for firearms companies to appeal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rulings, Fox News Digital has learned.
Crenshaw reintroduced the ATF Accountability Act to Congress on Tuesday, aiming to create the appeals route for firearms companies and small businesses to push back on ATF classification letter rulings that harm business or go against Second Amendment rights.
The Texas Republican’s bill comes with a GOP majority in the House and after the ATF’s new rule tightening regulations on pistol stabilizing braces that classified guns with the accessory as short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own.
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The Texas congressman told Fox News Digital that for “far too long, the ATF has trampled on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” calling it “sickening.”
“We saw this most recently with a new rule banning the use of pistol braces – a shameless slap in the face to disabled veterans,” Crenshaw said. “My bill will establish an appeals process that brings ATF in line with most other federal regulatory bodies, and allows small business owners an avenue to fight these unconstitutional attacks – without having to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars challenging the federal government in court.”
“Overzealous, anti-gun government bureaucrats shouldn’t get the final say on blocking Americans from exercising their fundamental rights,” he added.
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., will be introducing the Senate companion bill in the coming days.
By and large, classification letters from the ATF’s Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) are considered binding by the agency and rarely face public input.
No formal appeals process exists for the agency’s FATD rules, which Crenshaw’s bill aims to change. The bill specifically establishes procedures for firearms dealers, importers and manufacturers to appeal rulings and determinations by the ATF, which requires a decision from the agency within 30 days.
Additionally, the bill requires inquiries made by gun sellers, makers and importers to be answered by the attorney general within 90 days and creates an avenue for those entities to have their appeals heard in front of an administrative law judge.
The judge would then have 90 days to render a decision.
Joining Crenshaw on the bill is Democrat Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, bringing in support from both sides of the aisle.
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The ATF’s new rule is part of a comprehensive gun crime strategy President Biden announced in April 2021, in response to the massacre at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, where a gunman using a stabilizing brace killed 10 people. A stabilizing brace was also used in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine people dead in 2019.
Announcing the rule, Attorney General Merrick Garland said stabilizing brace accessories, which were designed to help disabled combat veterans enjoy recreational shooting, transform pistols into short-barreled rifles.
“Keeping our communities safe from gun violence is among the Department’s highest priorities,” Garland said. “Almost a century ago, Congress determined that short-barreled rifles must be subject to heightened requirements. Today’s rule makes clear that firearm manufacturers, dealers and individuals cannot evade these important public safety protections simply by adding accessories to pistols that transform them into short-barreled rifles.”
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The new rule was bashed hard by Republicans and gun advocacy organizations as being “unconstitutional overreach.” The ATF said its new rule does not affect stabilizing braces intended for disabled persons.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, recently introduced a bill to abolish the ATF entirely following the rule.
Fox News Digital’s Chris Pandolfo contributed reporting.