- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Rep. Richard Hudson, a staunch Second Amendment advocate, is sounding off on what he sees as a new, growing threat to gun ownership posed by the federal government.

The North Carolina Republican has been particularly vocal about the possible overreach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is pending potential new leadership under gun-control proponent David Chipman.

“David Chipman is an extremist on this issue,” Mr. Hudson told The Washington Times. “He‘s been a gun control activist who has been very outspoken. He‘s someone with a partisan ax to grind.”

Mr. Chipman is facing an uphill battle to get confirmed to lead the ATF over his work with gun control group Giffords, and recent reports that he failed to disclose his participation in an interview with a Chinese-run propaganda network.

Support for the nominee has also been weakened in the Senate, with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana and Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine saying they were undecided about Mr. Chipman.

Republicans have also been vocal about Mr. Chipman’s open support for assault weapons bans and his push for universal background checks, two initiatives backed by President Biden.

Mr. Hudson also weighed in against a proposed ATF rule that would regulate some pistol-stabilizing braces, which would aim to reclassify the weapons as short-barreled rifles.

The rule would require the weapons to be owned under a federal license under the National Firearms Act, which the lawmaker argues would hurt millions of law-abiding gun owners.

If the rule came to fruition, those who are seeking to attach a stabilizing brace to their pistol could face a yearlong vetting process that would also require a $200 tax.

“There are somewhere between 10 and 40 million of these braces in use today and so, the people who own those would become felons overnight, or they would have to destroy the braces, turn them in, or pay this $200 fee,” Mr. Hudson said.

Those who don’t follow the guidance could face a 10-year prison sentence for violating the rule.

Mr. Hudson has been encouraging people to raise concerns about the rule, which is open to public comment until Sept. 8.

By July, more than 115,000 comments had been submitted regarding the proposal.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the proposal in June, as well as proposed model legislation of a red flag law that states could follow for their own adoption.

Mr. Garland has been active on the need to mitigate gun violence, which has spiked in recent months.

“The Justice Department is determined to take concrete steps to reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in our communities,” Mr. Garland said in June.

Mr. Hudson agrees gun violence is an issue, and he said he would be willing to work with the Biden administration on working to prosecute people who obtain firearms illegally.

Mr. Biden vowed in June that one of his top priorities would be to crack down on illegal gun dealers, whom he referred to as “merchants of death.”

“I would support any effort to enforce current law to do a better job of getting guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Mr. Hudson said. “I’d be happy to work with the Biden administration on that. I think that’s the right direction to go.”

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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