ATF Director Redux…

By Larry Keane

If President Joe Biden’s White House Rose Garden gun control announcement seemed like déjà vu all over again, it was.

The president regurgitated firearm industry fabrications while proclaiming executive orders that have significant implications for firearm manufacturers, retailers and gunsmiths. President Biden announced his nominee for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Once again he chose someone with a known record of supporting gun control who was previously endorsed by gun control groups.

For President Biden, it’s the same gun control cycle – rinse and repeat.

Industry Attacks

The firearm industry has long-standing partnerships with the agencies charged with keeping Americans safe from criminals that break gun laws. President Biden chose again to attack the firearm industry instead of supporting those partnerships. It was a speech that he could’ve taken off the shelf from last year’s Rose Garden gun control announcement, or his earlier White House gun control remarks, or his first Joint Session Address to Congress or his first State of the Union Address last month.

The president repeated his favorite false attack on the firearm industry and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

“Look, this is incredibly rare because gun manufacturers have more immunity from liability than any other American industry, so they have never had to take responsibility for the death and destruction their products cause,” President Biden wrongly claimed. “They’re the only outfit — (applause) — they’re the only outfit in the country that is immune.”

That’s flat wrong and the president and his speechwriters know it. It is criminals committing violence who must be held responsible when they commit crimes. Lawful firearm manufacturers are responsible for any product defects. Congress specifically carved out exceptions to allow claims of negligent entrustment to proceed where allowed under state law. The law, PLCAA, simply says that these agenda-driven lawsuits can’t be brought against a manufacturer that had nothing to do with the criminal or wrongful misuse of their product.

The Washington Post, CNN, PolitiFact, the Associated Press and many more have all rebuked the president on his claim. “They are not exempt or immune from being sued,” wrote the AP. “Gun manufacturers can certainly be sued…Biden is wrong to say gun manufacturers are alone,” The Washington Post stated. These facts don’t change no matter how often the president repeats them.

Know Your History

President Biden presented himself a student of history but he repeated a false claim to sell more gun control, one he’d easily know was untrue if he studied the American Revolution.

“But from the very beginning, the Second Amendment didn’t say you can own any gun you want, big as you want,” the president said. “You couldn’t buy a cannon when, in fact, the Second Amendment passed.”

President Biden has been taken to task for this claim before. The Washington Post assigned him “Four Pinocchio’s” and said, “Biden has already been fact-checked — and it’s false. We have no idea where he conjured up this notion about a ban on cannon ownership in the early days of the Republic, but he needs to stop making this claim.”

American merchants and sailors – before the Second Amendment was ratified – granted “special waivers,” “allowing private individuals to act as pirates on behalf of the United States against countries engaged in war with it.” Americans given waivers and those who owned warships often obtained cannons for use in battle. It is still legal to buy a cannon today.

Personally-Manufactured Firearms

One of the major policy changes President Biden announced will have major impacts on lawful firearm industry manufacturers and law-abiding Americans. Because of the president’s previous unilateral executive actions, a Final Rule by the Department of Justice (DOJ) would redefine firearm frames and receivers, a change that significantly alters the sale and possession of not only personally-made firearms (PFMs) but potentially other types and models as well.

Home-built firearms have been legal since before the founding of America. Until this new Final Rule, private citizens were able to make their own firearms, so long as they followed existing laws and they were for private possession. Anyone prohibited from purchasing a firearm at retail is also prohibited from possessing a home-built gun.

As proposed, President Biden’s new rule radically alters the manufacturing and compliance processes for manufacturers of traditional firearms, not just the making of incomplete, unfinished parts Congress has not chosen to regulate. It could turn millions of law-abiding Americans into criminals, as well as force onerous regulations on lawful firearm retailers and gunsmiths to assign serial numbers to any home-built firearm that is brought to them.

ATF Director Redux

President Biden’s first nominee to lead the ATF failed due to his paid gun control activism and his questionable and problematic professional behavior that came to light. Forced by frustrated gun control groups to do more, President Biden announced a new ATF director nominee.

“Today, to lead and support the dedicated men and women of the AFT [ATF], I am proud to nominate Steve Del- — Dettelbach — excuse me, I mispronounced your name — I just — as Director of Bureau of Al- — Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” the president announced.

The firearm industry has supported every ATF director nominee that was favorably voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and NSSF is committed to a thorough examination of Dettelbach’s record and qualifications. Dettelbach has previously stated support for bans on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), or AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, universal background checks, which are unworkable without a national firearm registry that is already forbidden by federal law, and extreme-risk protection orders, or so-called “red flag” laws, without protections for Due Process considerations.

Dettelbach was also a recent partisan candidate for public office, supported gun control during his campaign and was previously endorsed by the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, for his support for policies restricting Second Amendment rights.

From start to finish, the president’s Rose Garden gun control speech was more of the same. He attacked the firearm industry and repeated lies to further a gun control agenda the American people – especially more than 14 million first-time gun buyers – who are rejecting gun control by the millions.

For those watching, it was déjà vu all over again.

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