Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez asks for better gun laws
[anvplayer video=”5181409″ station=”998122″]
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Lawmakers spent a significant amount of time Tuesday debating a new gun rule. Republicans pushed a resolution to overturn the rule. Democrats argued it would save lives.
So what is this rule? And what is Congress doing about it?
“Last month there were two mass shootings in my district. One in Farmington and another in Red River,” said U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez.
Fernandez took to the House floor Tuesday. She was opposing House Joint Resolution 44.
“Instead of addressing gun violence, Republicans stand with the gun lobby to make it easier to evade gun safety laws,” said Fernandez.
The resolution is short, it simply states the House and Senate disapprove of a rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regarding stabilizing braces on pistols.
The rule states that any brace which allows a pistol to be fired from the shoulder converts that pistol into a short-barreled rifle. Short-barreled rifles are more heavily regulated, and must be registered with ATF.
Owners must also pay a fee when they register.
“This is a blatant assault on our Second Amendment rights that makes 29 million Americans, including many veterans, subject to up to 10 years in prison and numerous fines,” said U.S. Rep. Barry Moore.
Republicans opposed the rule, saying it will criminalize otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Democrats argue the rule will save lives.
“People are dying in this country on a regular basis, massacres are happening on a regular basis, and we’re on the floor to basically make it easier for people to have access to an accessory that can make a gun more deadly, and more accurate, that can kill more people. I mean, that doesn’t make any sense,” said U.S. Rep. James McGovern.
Stabilizing braces were originally developed to allow disabled veterans to fire one-handed by strapping the gun to their arm.
Democrats pointed out the braces and pistols would still be available, and legal to purchase.
The status of a gun will only change once the brace is attached.
“Listen, if it looks like a rifle, shoots like a rifle, and kills like a rifle, we should treat it like a rifle. That’s common sense,” said Fernandez.
While Republicans said the rule change will only impact law-abiding citizens.
“The last thing that is on a criminally deranged person’s mind is what is the legal status of my firearm? Is this a pistol? Is this a rifle? Is it a short-barrel rifle? How much time will I get when I go on this suicide mission for doing this because of the legal status?” said U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie.
The resolution passed the House. If passed by the Senate and signed — Congress will be able to overturn the rule.
But they may not have to. A legal fight over the rule is already playing out in the lower courts.
Just last month, a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the rule from taking effect.
The case is expected to head to the Supreme Court, and Republicans are confident it will be struck down.
“Everybody who follows this understands the court is certain to strike this down. We’ve already seen it happen in the fifth circuit,” said U.S. Rep. Chip Roy.