FRANKFORT, Ky. (August 23, 2021) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined a 20-state coalition of attorneys general in opposing the Biden Administration’s unlawful attempt to regulate firearm parts under a new rule proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The attorneys general argue the rule exceeds the authority granted to the ATF under the Gun Control Act of 1968.
“We oppose the Biden Administration's decision to expand the ATF's authority to regulate firearms beyond the intent of the Act,” said Attorney General Cameron. “The Administration’s rule would constrain the Second Amendment rights of Kentuckians by making it more difficult to purchase lawful firearms and firearm parts.”
The attorneys general contend the ATF’s recommended rule is unconstitutional as it would sidestep Congress and unlawfully delegate broad policymaking discretion to the ATF. If adopted, the ATF’s new rule would expand the definition of a regulated firearm as well as that of a receiver, an already heavily regulated part of a firearm that houses its firing mechanism. The attorneys general argue the rule would grant the ATF unrestrained discretion over which parts of a firearm are subject to this regulation. The effect would be — as ATF admits — to put many parts manufacturers out of business and significantly increase costs for others, which will likely result in lost jobs and higher prices for consumers.
The coalition further contends that the ATF did not fully consider the costs of changing a longstanding policy that many people and businesses rely on. The ATF’s own analysis admits that the rule would force at least 35 businesses to cease operation or significantly scale down their activities. But, according to the attorneys general, the ATF underestimates the financial loss, with the real figure far exceeding the $1.1 million estimated by the ATF analysis.
The states note that they have a shared duty for protecting human life and ensuring public safety and contend the ATF’s efforts to resolve the coalition’s concern would be a first step toward developing policies that combat crime, while also respecting the Constitution.
Attorney General Cameron joined the West Virginia-and Arizona-led comments with attorneys general in Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
Read the coalition’s comments here.