WASHINGTON, D.C. –-(Ammoland.com)- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) published a new final rule to the National Registry.
The new rule is not the long-awaited frames or pistol stabilizing brace rule. The ATF rule deals with the availability of secure gun storage or safety devices at licensed gun dealers and the definition of an “Antique Firearm.” The rule was proposed five years ago, on May 26, 2016, but now has just been finalized and published to the National Registry. There is nothing earth-shaking about the new rule for private gun owners. The new regulation primarily applies to federal firearms licensees (FFL).
The definition of an “antique firearm” had the wording for rifles changed from “the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge” to “an explosive.” Likewise, the language for a shotgun was changed from “the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell” to just “an explosive.” This change, although seemly minor, would move muzzle loading devices and flintlock pistols made before 1898 to the “antique firearms” category.
The ATF states that the new rule “amends ATF’s regulations to account for the existing statutory requirement that applicants for Federal firearms dealer licenses certify that secure gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place where firearms are sold under the license to non-licensed individuals.”
FFLs must maintain useable safety devices for all firearms for sale.
For example, a trigger lock would not be adequate to secure an NAA Mini Revolver because it would not fit on the revolver. A lockbox would work, or a lock that goes through the frame with the cylinder removed from the gun would also suffice. The rule would also extend to importers and firearms manufacturers that sell directly to non-licensees at a physical location.
The rule only received four comments from the public compared to the half a million comments the ATF received for the two most current rule change proposals. The ATF responded to the comments in the rule change published to the National Registry. In response to one comment, the ATF references “Chevron deference.” This method is the same deference the ATF has used to ban bump stocks and plans on using to write the new rules, which many see as creating new laws without Congressional oversight.
The ATF responded to one comment by stating:
“When a court is called upon to review an agency’s construction of a statute it administers, the court looks to the framework set forth in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984). The first step of Chevron review is to ask “whether Congress has directly spoken to the precise question at issue.” Id. 842. “If the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter; for the court, as well as the agency, must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress. If, however, the court determines Congress has not directly addressed the precise question at issue . . . the question for the court is whether the agency’s answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute.”
The rule will go into effect on February 3, 2022.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.
New ATF Rule For Secure Gun Storage And Antique Firearms is written by John Crump for www.ammoland.com