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House Republicans Criticize Biden's Request for ATF Funding Increase

House Republicans looking to make cuts this budget cycle have strongly opposed President Biden’s proposed increase for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The budget plan seeks $1.9 billion for the agency next fiscal year, a 7.4% bump, as Democrats have defended ATF as a critical factor in combating an epidemic of gun violence, reports Roll Call. The budget request seeks to implement a 2022 law on gun violence, a measure that got support from only 14 of 207 voting House Republicans. Republicans who are the most vocal backers of Second Amendment gun rights have criticized the Biden administration’s actions to toughen firearm enforcement. They had planned to hold a markup Tuesday on a resolution to repeal one of them, but it was postponed after the Nashville school shooting.

The partisan divide over the ATF was most recently on display at a joint subcommittee hearing that focused on a rule proposal submitted this year by the Justice Department that would require gun owners to register pistols with stabilizing braces that turn them into short-barreled rifles. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) introduced a resolution to prevent enforcement of the rule. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who supports the resolution, wants to eliminate AFT altogether. Last year's law was enacted after public outrage over the Uvalde, Tx., school shooting. The package requires more thorough background checks for gun purchasers by people under 21 years old and helps with the implementation of “red flag” laws. ATF is requesting $71 million to implement the legislative package, calling it the most “substantial” change to federal firearms law in a generation. DOJ said the agency’s ability to implement the new law “comprehensively is dependent on the appropriate resources,” which could be impeded as Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Oh.) supports using the appropriations process to slow down the implementation of gun provisions.


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