House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., denied that Republican leadership threatened to kill a bill rolling back the ATF’s pistol brace rule to secure votes to raise the debt ceiling.
Last week, Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., claimed he was told by leadership that if he didn’t support a procedural vote to advance the debt limit increase, “it would be very difficult” to bring his Congressional Review Act resolution to the floor.
Clyde’s resolution would overturn the new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rule regulating pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, which opens up otherwise lawful gun owners to severe fines or imprisonment if they fail to register their stabilizing brace accessories with ATF.
The debt deal, negotiated between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was a widely unpopular compromise on Capitol Hill, called a “turd sandwich” by Clyde’s Freedom Caucus colleague Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas. Clyde alleged Republican House leaders held his resolution hostage to secure his vote for the debt deal to overcome a procedural hurdle.
“No,” the majority leader responded. “No, that’s not what he said. He said that there would be problems with the bill passing.”
The ATF rule, called Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces, took effect on Jan. 31. It treats any firearms with stabilizing accessories as short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own under the National Firearms Act.
The rule requires gun owners to either register pistols with stabilizing braces with the ATF, turn over those firearms, or face 10 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Gun rights activists have challenged the rule in court, and Republicans have called it unconstitutional and an abuse of ATF’s authority.
Scalise told reporters Tuesday he has been working closely with Clyde and Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., to bring their resolution to the House floor for a vote. The resolution would nullify the Biden administration rule if passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Biden, or if Congress were to override a likely Biden veto.
“Let me be unequivocally clear, I was threatened that if I voted against the closed rule to the debt ceiling agreement, it would be very difficult to bring my pistol stabilizing brace bill to the House floor for a vote,” Clyde told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“But this is not about me, this is about stopping government overreach and protecting Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms,” he continued. “Over the last few days, I have had several positive conversations with leadership about getting a vote on my bill next week, and it is my intention to hold them to that commitment.”