American Rifleman - August 2021 - 20

The fate of this legislative agenda
hangs on the thinnest of margins in
the U.S. Senate. If Chuck Schumer
(D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and the
rest of current Senate leadership are
successful in abolishing the legislative
filibuster, Americans would almost
certainly see the end of the right to
bear arms as we know it.
But Joe Biden is not waiting for
Congress to act on his anti-gun agenda.
He promised to pursue gun control
unilaterally, and on that pledge, at least,
he has been as good as his word.
It is worth remembering that Biden
had been tasked by Barack Obama to
lead that administration's push for gun
control in 2012.
The legislative effort failed, sparking
a petulant reaction from Obama, who
wasn't used to being told he wasn't
going to get what he wanted. Obama
-never shy to let America know how
much it had disappointed him-would
later lament that the failure of guncontrol
was the biggest disappointment
of his tenure in the White House.
But the Obama-Biden administration
also sought to act alone on gun control
through executive actions. And Obama
also tried to reassure his gun-control
supporters that everything that could
be done in that realm was being
done. " [W]e do have to feel a sense
of urgency about it, " Obama said
in announcing a series of executive
actions in 2016. " And the constant
excuses for inaction no longer ... no
longer suffice. "
He also noted, " After Sandy Hook,
Joe [Biden] and I worked together
with our teams and we put forward a
whole series of executive actions to
try to tighten up the existing rules and
systems that we had in place. "
After two rounds of these actions,
however, Obama said it would be up to
Congress to take the next steps. " Now,
I want to be clear. Congress still needs
to act, " he said.
The point is this: The Obama-Biden
administration was determined to make
gun control part of its legacy. When
Congress denied that gun-control legacy,
the administration claimed to have
carried the ball as far as possible without
additional gun-control legislation.
The U.S. Constitution, needless to
say, hasn't changed in the meantime. But
whatever constraints the Obama-Biden
administration was willing to acknowledge
on gun control by executive action
have somehow fallen by the wayside in
the Biden-Harris administration.
20
During May and June of this
year, the administration proposed
two gun-control regulations that
are breathtaking in their scope and
audacity. At issue is not merely some
tinkering around the edges of " existing
rules and systems " but a wholesale
overhaul of what is considered a
regulated " firearm " under federal
law and the retroactive banning of
potentially millions of guns.
The first proposed rule is being marketed
to the public as a way to address
the sales of firearm kits that include 80%
receivers and all the other parts necessary
to build a complete, operable firearm
(what gun-control advocates call a " ghost
gun " because it is not serialized and
documented in government-accessible
paperwork). They claim this is a " loophole "
that needs to be closed because a
legally prohibited person could buy such a
kit without a background check and make
their own functional firearm.
THE LINE BETWEEN BEING
A LAW-ABIDING GUN
OWNER AND A FEDERAL
FELON WOULD BE LEFT UP
TO THE JUDGMENT
OF AN UNELECTED
FEDERAL BUREAUCRAT.
Of course, in that scenario, the
prohibited person would already be
breaking the law by possessing the
completed firearm. But the logic of gun
control always requires adding new
laws on top of laws that are never or
seldom enforced. This only burdens
law-abiding gun owners.
In any case, the proposed rule goes
well beyond build kits. Indeed, it seeks
to change the federal definition of a
regulated " firearm " to cover not just
80% receivers or unfinished receiver
blanks but to empower ATF to call virtually
any firearm component a regulated
" firearm " on a case-by-case basis.
The consequences of this would
be vast. Retail sales of anything ATF
dubbed a " firearm " would be subject
to background checks and government
paperwork. The parts would have to be
serialized. And finished firearms might
include multiple " firearm " components.
This would create headaches, legal
jeopardy, and red tape for legitimate
manufacturers and hobbyists alike. The
legality of millions of existing homemade
firearms would also be cast into doubt.
Biden's other proposed rule seeks to
re-categorize braced pistols as " short
August 2021
AmericAn riflemAn
barreled rifles " subject to the National
Firearms Act's registration and tax
requirements. This new tax would cost
American gun owners millions just for the
opportunity to keep the firearms they
already lawfully purchased. So much for
no new taxes on the middle class.
Once again, the complicated
regulatory structure would leave
millions of current owners of braced
pistols in potential legal jeopardy. It is
clearly intended to intimidate current
owners into dismantling their braced
pistols or getting rid of them entirely.
Both rules, in short, continue ATF's " I'll
know it when I see it approach " that gives
American gun owners little clarity when
exercising their Second Amendment
rights. The line between being a lawabiding
gun owner and a federal felon
would be left up to the judgment of an
unelected federal bureaucrat.
Prohibitory rules, of course, are only
as oppressive as their interpretation and
enforcement. And the man the BidenHarris
administration has chosen to
lead the ATF is none other than Michael
Bloomberg's handpicked operative,
David Chipman.
The administration likes to stress
that Chipman comes to the role
as a former ATF agent. What they
conveniently ignore, however, is his
more recent career of paid activism
for the most strident gun-control
organizations in the country, including
Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety.
Among other radical views,
Chipman is on record supporting broad
bans on semi-automatic rifles. He could
put that policy preference into action in
the way he administers firearm imports
if confirmed.
As Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
colorfully (and accurately) put it at a hearing
on the nomination, David Chipman's
appointment as ATF director would
be " like putting a tobacco executive in
charge of the Department of Health and
Human Services or ANTIFA in charge of
the Portland Police Department. "
The Western world has mostly
submitted to the idea that keeping
and bearing arms is a privilege to be
administered at the government's
discretion. The United States, alone,
treats it as a sacrosanct right that
cannot be infringed by the state.
The Biden-Harris administration
considers that a national embarrassment.
And if the administration has its
way, this uniquely American freedom
and tradition will become one more
sacrifice to global uniformity.

American Rifleman - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - August 2021

Contents
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Cover1
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 1
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Contents
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 3
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 4
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 5
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 6
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 7
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 8
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 9
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