Arkansas sheriff’s offices have united in their decision to not enforce a federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gun policy in defense of citizens’ Second Amendment constitutional rights.
The sheriff’s offices are pushing back on a new federal gun control policy that requires gun owners with “brace stabilizer” attachments to register their guns with the government or else face a felony charge.
The ruling comes after growing concern that gun owners are using brace stabilizers to shoot rifles from their shoulders like they would with a bump stock.
The Stone County Sheriff’s Office and the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office are two agencies pushing back against the ruling.
“A lot of you know, otherwise legal gun owners now felt that they can be arrested and potentially charged and convicted of a felony,” Stone County Sheriff Brandon Long said. “My agency is not going to be housing citizens or making any arrests in reference to non-compliance with this act.”
Democrat lawmakers and gun control advocates say brace stabilizers make it easier for individuals (including mass shooters) to wield short-barrelled rifles, which are easier to conceal than traditional rifles.
Once the rule is finalized, owners of brace stabilizers will have 120 days to register and undergo lengthy background checks or else turn or destroy their stabilizing brace.
According to legal experts, such a ruling infringes on constitutional rights.
Experts say local law enforcement agencies are also not legally responsible for enforcing such federal mandates.
“Well, in fact, it’s not their job to enforce a federal rule,” said Robert Steinbuch, a law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “[State officers] are involved in state law, and, depending where, not even all of the state law.”
Steinbuch also added that enforcing such a policy would violate Arkansas law code 21-1-904, which restricts federal regulations on firearms.
“Whether the part that applies to state employees is illegal? I think it is,” Steinbuch said. “But there’s an argument, actually, that you can’t even say that.”
However, federal agencies can still enforce the brace restriction.
“The lead federal law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing the national firearms act and will continue to work with local, state and federal partners to combat violent crime in our communities,” the ATF said in a statement.
The ATF estimates that at least 3 million brace stabilizers have been sold in the country since 2013.
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association (NRA) said it’s preparing legal action to challenge the ruling in court.