Republican lawmakers on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday warned federal gun regulators that a proposed new rule exceeds the agency's authority. 

Eight GOP members of the committee wrote Marvin Richardson, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, that the proposed new rule concerning the definition of a "frame" or "receiver" under federal law "is deeply flawed, beyond the scope of ATF’s authority, contrary to years of previous ATF opinions, and harmful to millions of law-abiding American firearm owners."

The four-page letter, led by Congressmen Andy Biggs and Jim Jordan, asks the ATF to explain, by August 17, why the agency believes it is “necessary to trace all firearms,” when the proposed expansion was first conceived, who inside the Bureau crafted it, and if other elements of the Justice Department of Office of Management and Budget had any input into the rule. 

"ATF’s rule appears to be a deliberate attempt to usurp the authority of Congress," – Letter to ATF from lawmakers.

The lawmakers argue that the proposed rule would greatly expand the definition of “frame or receiver” beyond the intent of Congress, saying it goes well past the powers granted to the agency in any applicable federal laws. 

"ATF’s rule appears to be a deliberate attempt to usurp the authority of Congress," says the letter, urging the agency to abandon the proposed rule. "In so doing, ATF has also unconstitutionally infringed on American citizens’ fundamental Second Amendment rights and privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment."

The 90-day public comment period on the proposed 115-page ATF rulemaking ends August 19. National anti-gun groups with deep pockets, who have pressured the ATF, Congress, and the White House to make it harder for Americans to produce homemade firearms, have been pushing members and allies to comment on the proposal in recent weeks.  

"No one should be able to build an untraceable AR-15 at home," said Giffords in a social media post this week, complete with a link to a suggested copy/paste comment. "We need to flood the ATF website with public comments before Aug. 19th – tell them to adopt President Biden's new rule to regulate ghost guns like traditional guns."

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