Senate votes down repeal of Biden pistol brace rule

John Kennedy
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., with Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., right, questions witness Attorney General Merrick Garland, during a Senate Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing to examine a proposed budget estimates and justification for fiscal year 2024 for the Department of Justice,Tuesday, March 28, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Senate votes down repeal of Biden pistol brace rule

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The Senate on Thursday rejected a GOP effort to overturn the Biden administration’s new rule on pistol braces.

Republicans say the regulation, which reclassifies pistols as short-barreled rifles if gun owners use the firearm accessory, is an infringement of the Second Amendment and universally supported the measure. The legislation nonetheless failed 49-50 in a chamber that Democrats control.


The legislation was at the center of a conservative revolt earlier this month that ground House business to a halt. A group of hard-line conservatives, upset over the deal House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) struck to raise the debt ceiling, refused to allow the speaker to move any legislation until he agreed to deeper spending cuts than what the White House agreed to last month.

But the dissidents also claimed Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) threatened to pull a vote on the pistol brace measure if its House sponsor, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), opposed a procedural step on the debt ceiling legislation.

Scalise denied he ever made such a threat, and the House passed the resolution days later in a near-party-line vote.

Republicans argue the new regulation, finalized in January by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, infringes on the rights of disabled people who use stabilizing braces. They take issue with the administration’s requirement that pistols with those braces be registered with the federal government or otherwise destroyed.

“The ATF is just a backdoor way to subject pistols to more smothering regulations,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), the resolution’s Senate sponsor, said in a floor speech ahead of the vote.

Democrats counter that the gun accessory, invented in 2012, is a way to circumvent a law on short-barreled rifles that has been on the books for decades and cite mass shootings in which the gunman used a pistol brace.

Earlier this month, the White House pledged to veto the legislation had it passed the Senate.


“This Administration has no higher priority than keeping the American people safe, which is jeopardized with a vote in support of a resolution that makes it easier for mass shooters to obtain these deadly weapons,” the White House said.

Congress did pass modest gun reforms last year, with the help of 15 Republicans in the Senate, but there is little appetite for further restrictions in a party that broadly supports gun rights.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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