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Republicans Criticize ATF Over New Regulations On Gun Braces

House Republicans prodded Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in a hearing Wednesday, questioning his expertise and criticizing a rule that would toughen regulations on firearms with stabilizing braces, Roll Call reports. GOP members at times cut off Dettelbach or accused him of not answering their questions. “I'm not getting anything from him,” Texas Republican Rep. Troy Nehls said as he interrupted an answer from Dettelbach. “I just want the American people, everybody to understand, you're going after veterans, individuals like myself.”

The hearing underscored GOP grievances with the agency and a rule that would require gun owners before June to register pistols with stabilizing braces that turn them into short-barreled rifles. Republicans called the regulation an overreach and proposed a joint resolution to block it. They say the rule will expose unknowing gun owners to criminal liability and that the device was designed to help people with disabilities. Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio said Dettelbach has become a “one-man Congress.” Jordan said the rule was not due to legislation but a result of “unelected bureaucrats simply enacting a new regulation.” Democrats sought to turn attention to the toll of gun violence. Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said a shooter at a school in Nashville last month was equipped with a firearm that had a stabilizing brace. Legislation to abolish ATF is sponsored by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. “I am one of those MAGA Republicans that would defund your salary, your agency,” Gaetz told Dettelbach. “And I think all these good things that you say exist could happen with those folks at the local and state level. And this is a terrible abuse of power.”

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