Rep. Matt Gaetz Introduces Legislation to ‘Abolish the ATF’

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) introduced legislation this week to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

His legislation, the Abolish the ATF Act, was introduced in response to the ATF’s recent rule targeting AR pistol stabilizer braces.

Breitbart News reported that the ATF announced the finalization of its stabilizer brace rule on January 13, 2023.

The ATF noted:

This rule is effective the date it is published in the Federal Register.  Any weapons with “stabilizing braces” or similar attachments that constitute rifles under the NFA must be registered no later than 120 days after date of publication in the Federal Register; or the short barrel removed and a 16-inch or longer rifle barrel attached to the firearm; or permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the “stabilizing brace” such that it cannot be reattached; or the firearm is turned in to your local ATF office. Or the firearm is destroyed.

Breitbart News noted that the ATF’s rule means the registration of millions of firearms.

At the low end of the spectrum, NPR notes, “Officials estimated about 3 million stabilizing braces are currently in circulation in the U.S.” At the higher end of the spectrum, the Congressional Research Service suggested there were already “between 10 and 40 million” stabilizer braces by April 19, 2021.

In announcing his legislation, Gaetz responded to the ATF, saying: “House Republicans have the ATF in our crosshairs. The continued existence of the ATF is increasingly unwarranted based on their repeated actions to convert law-abiding citizens into felons. They must be stopped. My bill today would abolish the ATF once and for all,”

Gaetz told FOX News, “My bill would abolish the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to try defunding the ATF. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to target the individual bureaucrats at the top of the ATF who have exceeded their authority in rulemaking. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to take a meat cleaver to the statutes that the ATF believes broadly authorize their actions.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. AWR Hawkins holds a PhD in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at


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