HELENA– Attorney General Austin Knudsen and 16 other state attorneys general joined a lawsuit today against the Biden administration’s rules that threaten the long-held American tradition of private firearms assembly and put the livelihood of thousands of Americans at risk.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rulemaking would regulate unfinished, non-functional firearm parts as if they were complete firearms, thereby undermining the states’ ability to enforce their own legal codes with respect to items and activities that the federal government may not constitutionally regulate.
“This rule infringes on every American’s right to assemble firearms for their own use – a long-held tradition dating back to the founding of our nation,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Criminals will ignore this rule and it will not make Montanans safer. It will, however, shut down firearm companies, allow the government to end online sales of parts, and expand federal access to gun owner data – all without congressional approval.”
If allowed to go into effect, the rule could force firearm manufactures to reduce their workforces or even close their doors. The ATF itself estimated its regulation would shutdown 35 businesses at a cost of $1.1 million. However, the economic costs and burden will likely be much greater: hundreds of millions of dollars of sales could be lost and thousands may lose their jobs if the final rule takes effect.
The rule also takes steps toward the creation of an illegal national firearms registry, which would require firearms retailers to keep all sales records beyond their current 20-year retention requirement and eventually turn them over to the ATF instead of destroying them, which would compromise the privacy of every gun owner in America.
The coalition of attorneys general joined Morehouse Enterprises, Gun Owners of America, and Gun Owners Foundation in filing the complaint against the ATF, the U.S. Department of Justice, and ATF Director Steve Dettelbach.
Attorney General Knudsen submitted formal comments to the ATF opposing the proposed rulemaking in August 2021.
Click here to read the complaint.