The Biden administration’s new push to regulate highly popular AR-style pistols could net Uncle Sam billions in new tax revenue and rub out a small industry involved in the production of the firearms.
In a newly proposed regulation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, most owners will have to pay a $200 tax per weapon or radically change it or turn the gun in to be destroyed.
And because ATF said it doesn’t expect anyone to give up their guns, the money would roll in if the rule is adopted.
While the agency estimated that there are 3 million to 7 million of those weapons in the United States, other agencies and media have put the total at potentially 20 million to 40 million guns and regulated parts.
At those levels, the agency’s cash register could collect up to $8 billion in the first year of the new rule if everyone complied.
The 71-page rule signed by Attorney General Merrick Garland would change the classification of the guns popular at ranges and in some hunting circles to a category of “dangerous” weapons and subject to a rule from the Al Capone era aimed at ending gangland killings with sawed-off shotguns and rifles.
The rule cited just one deadly shooting in which an AR pistol was used.
At issue is a stabilizing brace attached to the butt of the pistol meant to make it easier to shoot with one hand. Many are extendable, and some owners use the pistols as rifles. That, said ATF, turns the shorter barreled pistols into regulated “short barrel rifles.”
Because the firearms and the braces haven’t been regulated, it is unclear how many have been sold. The National Shooting Sports Foundation told Secrets that the ATF’s estimate of up to 7 million is low. And on his new site The Reload, arms journalist Stephen Gutowski cited a report of up to 40 million guns and braces.
The ATF rule also suggested that there are eight major makers of the braces, and their industry would be put in jeopardy if it is adopted.