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in our December blog, such a rule was already proposed as recently as December, less than 4 months ago and quickly withdrawn under pressure from Congress.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.