President Joe Biden has made it clear that he intends to keep pushing for new gun control laws, and his administration’s latest effort could cost gun owners billions.
According to reports, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has drafted a proposed regulation that would force owners of certain rifles to turn in their weapons, significantly modify them, or pay a $200 fee.
Ongoing push for new regulations
Of course, the ATF could be operating under the assumption that many owners of AR-15 and similar rifles will simply pay the fee, which would allow the Biden administration to bring in money through unnecessary burdens on gun-owning Americans.
The president has already made it clear that he does not believe the Second Amendment is “absolute” and the recent ATF proposal is in line with the Biden administration’s general stance on guns.
As written, the regulation could net billions of dollars within the first year with up to 40 million weapons falling under the category of firearms described therein.
For their part, Democratic lawmakers attempted to push through an earlier gun control measure but met fierce opposition by a sizable GOP minority.
It remains to be seen whether Republicans in Congress will mount a similar fight against the ATF proposal.
Backlash from the right
A lengthy court challenge could still end up costing Americans time and money, but such a united front would send the message that the GOP is taking the issue seriously.
Republicans successfully challenged the bureau on the topic of regulating braced AR-style pistols and are in the position to once again remind the Biden administration they will not support an anti-gun agenda.
Some critics have already spoken out in favor of significant reform within the ATF.
In the meantime, many Americans are understandably concerned about running afoul of the law or encountering new fees and taxes as a result of exercising their right to bear arms.
Instead of acting as a guardian of the Second Amendment, the ATF is increasingly seen as a tool by which the government can abridge the rights of Americans. If Republicans regain a majority on Capitol Hill after next year’s midterm elections, however, opponents of new gun control restrictions might be able to breathe a sigh of relief.