Protecting Second Amendment Rights for Disabled Veterans

by Congressman Tom Cole

As enshrined in the Constitution, the Second Amendment guarantees law-abiding citizens of the United States the right to bear arms. Freedom and personal responsibility are pillars of our nation, and the Second Amendment must be protected, especially for those who suffered injury or were disabled while serving in our armed forces protecting the freedom of others.

Stabilizing pistol braces were created and manufactured for the purposes of disabled citizens and veterans to hold, stabilize, aim and fire their firearms correctly and safely. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration has deemed these braces “particularly lethal,” and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has posted a rule amending the regulatory definition of “rifle” to reclassify pistols with stabilizing-brace attachments as “short-barreled rifles.” This means these firearms are subject to heightened legal requirements and potential criminal penalties under the National Firearms Act.

ATF’s rule not only hinders disabled law-abiding gun owners from safely operating their firearm, but it creates legal traps for the millions of Americans who own stabilizing braces. More specifically, this rule would require nearly 4 million Americans who own stabilizing pistol braces to dispose of, alter or register this device or they will be reclassified as felons for possessing firearms that were considered lawfully acquired at the time of their purchase.

Because of this, earlier this month the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution to disapprove of this final rule. Even the Obama-era ATF recognized the legitimate function of these devices. The Biden Administration’s reversal of a decade of precedent is a clear violation of the Second Amendment and the constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding and responsible gun owning Americans.

I was proud to join every member of the Oklahoma delegation in cosponsoring this important resolution. Although President Biden plans to veto this resolution, its bipartisan passage in both chambers of Congress shows that lawmakers are equally frustrated with this overreach from the Biden Administration and unfairness toward responsible gun owners.

Indeed, our founding fathers knew that true freedom from despotism required ordinary citizens to have the means to defend themselves. Oklahomans know that guns are tools that must be used responsibly. Although our society has evolved, this right to bear arms remains, and I am committed to ensuring the Second Amendment is not violated.

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