ATF downplays impact of new gun ruling, expects 60% to register AR ‘pistols’

President Joe Biden’s gun agency, which on Tuesday is expected to unleash the broadest gun control since the 1994 ban on modern sporting rifles, is downplaying the impact of its action in a new report.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said in the new assessment that other government reports that millions of gun owners will be affected are wrong by huge margins.


What’s more, the agency said in a 95-page impact analysis of its 293-page rule regulating AR-style pistols that most owners will give in and register their guns despite online campaigns calling for a mass boycott of the new rules and threats from Congress and Second Amendment groups to file suits immediately to stop implementation of the changes.

The new rule will overnight move shorter-barreled firearms equipped with stabilizing “braces” into the Al Capone-era National Firearms Act category that requires federal approval before purchase. It demands that owners pay a $200 tax, register their weapon, and file fingerprints with the application. Those who register within 120 days will not have to pay the tax.

It will change years of practice and ATF rulings that the firearms are not part of the category and only require an FBI background check to purchase and own.

Opponents, citing industry data and even the bipartisan Congressional Research Service, have claimed that the rule will affect millions of gun owners and up to 40 million firearms.

But in the impact statement, ATF said those figures are inflated. It estimated that just 3 million people might be affected.

It estimated that of those with the firearms, 826,000 will decide to register their 1.6 million weapons, with the rest turning them into the ATF or destroying or altering them.

The ATF also estimated that while the tax will be set aside, it will cost owners about $133 in time and supplies to comply with the new rule. For example, owners will have to fill out ATF applications and include a photo and fingerprints when they file. Some may also have to have registration numbers etched onto their firearms.


When the rule drops, several gun groups are expected to file suit to stop it. Conservative lawmakers are also planning to step in with legislative prohibitions.

But experts said that the rule will have to be fought in the courts and that it could take years to get a final decision.

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