FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) director to “clarify” his comments regarding the agency’s pistol brace rule.
Massie and Jordan sent a letter on Monday to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach regarding his recent committee testimony when he refused to define the term “assault weapon,” warning the agency’s pistol brace rule will create millions of felons “overnight.”
“We are concerned that your agency’s new Stabilizing Brace Rule and enforcement thereof will result in millions of Americans becoming classified as felons overnight without them having any intent or having taken any action to break the law. The Founders designed our constitutional structure to have three distinct branches,” the lawyers wrote in the letter exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital.
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“The branch tasked with making laws should not be the same branch tasked with enforcing those laws. Congress must be responsible for making laws, and we do not believe the ATF has the authority to enact the Stabilizing Brace Rule,” Massie and Jordan continued.
The GOP congressmen wrote that irrespective “of the role your agency is undertaking in the creation and enforcement of its own rule, which is without proper Congressional Authority, the Executive Branch has a duty to be transparent with Americans about their classifications of unlawful conduct.”
The lawyers noted that there “are less than 30 days left until criminal provisions of this rule go into effect” and, because of that deadline, “it is important for” Dettelbach to “provide the public with a clear interpretation of the parameters of the rule.”
“When your agency takes actions that will make millions of Americans felons, you have a responsibility to give a clear, concise, and simple to understand explanation of the rule at hand and how your agency will enforce it,” Massie and Jordan wrote.
The Republicans touched on Dettelbach’s testimony to the committee last month, when the director said his agency does not “count” detachable pistol braces for its rule and that gun owners with a detachable brace can keep it and “the business end of the gun.”
“Your testimony raises concerns as it conflicts with guidelines, slides, and other documents and information distributed by the ATF,” the congressmen wrote.
“For example, ATF.gov Final Rule 2021R-08F ‘Factoring the criteria for firearms with attached stabilizing braces’ Slide 26 indicates that an option available to all possessors allows them to ‘[p]Permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the ‘stabilizing brace’ such that it cannot be reattached,'” they pointed out.
“From that guidance, it does not appear that individuals can ‘keep’ both the brace and the ‘business end of the gun’ as you claimed in your sworn testimony,” the lawyers added.
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The Republicans called on Dettelbach to give a “clarification regarding pistol brace detachment” and, “for the sake of the law-abiding citizens,” and that the ATF director “publicly correct any statements” from his testimony “which may lead to a misunderstanding or incorrect interpretation of the rule.”
The ATF did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.