As New York’s Premier Second Amendment lawyers we eagerly awaited President Joe Biden’s Executive Orders today so we can analyze its effect on our clients. In reality, today’s announcement had no effect on our clients and really had no effect on any gun owners. The only people affected seem to be the people who write regulations for the ATF.
To be sure, there were no surprises in the announcement today except the for lack of details after over 2 months in office. For example, one of the centerpieces of today’s announcement was that the ATF will have 60 days to propose a rule about pistol braces and when such devices will turn a pistol into a short barreled rifle that would be regulated under the National Firearms Act. However, as we wrote in our December blog, such a rule was already proposed as recently as December, less than 4 months ago and quickly withdrawn under pressure from Congress. Surely, the ATF could have had something written by now having already written a regulation on the same topic just three and a half months ago.
The other centerpiece of today’s announcement was a direction that the ATF propose rules regarding “ghost guns” within 30 days. The announcement cites, without any evidence, the proliferation of “ghost guns” that are supposedly being completed by criminals to use in crimes. It is hard to imagine what such a regulation would look like or how the ATF would regulate an unfinished block of aluminum or polymer. Will a block of aluminum be considered a firearm if it is 70% complete, 60% complete or 40%? It is also hard to imagine why after more than 2 months in office no details about any regulation were given or why it would take 30 more days to write such a proposed regulation.
President Biden announced that within 60 days the Justice Department will publish model red flags laws for States to adopt. This announcement means nothing. Firstly, many states, including New York, already have red flag laws in place. There is no guaranty that even one state legislature will accept these “model” red flag laws and there is no guaranty that these proposed red flag laws will pass constitutional challenges that will inevitably filed in Court.
As for the balance of the announcement, it comes down to spending money on “community based violence intervention which will spend billions and billions of dollars and not pay one cent to incarcerate violent criminals who use guns to perpetrate violent crimes and an annual gun trafficking study by the Justice Department.
The announcement of the nomination of David Chipman to hold the office as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tells you everything that you need to know (if you weren’t sure already) about this administrations attitudes toward the civilian ownership of firearms. Mr. Chipman, is currently a senior policy advisor for Giffords, which according to Wikipedia is a advocacy organization that promotes gun control. He has had stints with many of the major gun control advocacy groups and has made some questionable claims in advocating for gun control positions.
To be sure, todays announcements amounted to political theatre at its best. We will have to wait and see whether the upcoming regulations are adopted, and if so, how they will affect gun owners. After these proposals come out we will issue as much guidance as we can for our clients. For gun owners, this is a turbulent period. New York gun owners should strongly consider enrolling in our pre-paid legal plan for gun owners. Visit www.nytacdefense.com for more information.