December 8, 2023

GOP House Members Get ATF to Accept 40,000 Additional Petitions

The GOP and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) had been at odds for quite some time over the rules required for people to be able to apply for and own a personal firearm.

The GOP won the latest round, getting the ATF to accept 40,000 petitions regarding background checks.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) took a victory lap after the ATF agreed to accept them.

Big Win for Clyde

The ATF had been putting up a wall in regard to these challenges to universal background check laws.

Clyde has led the effort to have them accepted, so he was quite happy when the ATF finally agreed to submit them.

Clyde stated, “Last week, the ATF refused to accept 40,000 petitions from National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) members opposing the agency’s universal background check rule. I led 25 of my colleagues in demanding the ATF abide by the U.S. Constitution and accept these petitions TODAY—when the comment period ends.”

He later added, “The ATF caved and finally accepted the NAGR 40,000 petitions. MAJOR WIN—but the fight continues. Now it’s time for Congress to take down the ATF’s universal background check rule.”

This is all in response to a newly proposed rule by the ATF for universal background checks, which has always been met with resistance from Congress.

When the rule was proposed, Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was passed by Congress to reduce gun violence, including by expanding the background checks that keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

“This proposed rule implements Congress’s mandate to expand the definition of who must obtain a license and conduct a background check before selling firearms.”

ATF director Steve Dettelbach added, “This new proposed rule would clarify the circumstances in which a person is ‘engaged in the business’ of dealing in firearms, and thus required to obtain a license and follow the laws Congress has established for firearms dealers.”

Once the rule was published, it was open for public comments, but the ATF had been resistant to accept those petitions as part of the public comments, which would officially enter them on the record.

These comments play a key role in helping various departments craft regulations, which is why the ATF was hesitant to have these petitions entered into the record, showing significant pushback from citizens against the new rule.

This is covered under the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946.

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