POLK COUNTY, WI (DrydenWire.com) -- Polk County Sheriff Brent Waak says that he has no intentions of enforcing the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) final rule on pistol braces in his county.
In a strongly worded letter to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach, obtained and reviewed by DrydenWire.com, Sheriff Waak states that he will not take any enforcement action on this rule change "or allow any federal agent to take action against his citizens."
"I stand ready to defend the rights of honest, law-abiding residents here in Polk County," Waak states.
On Friday, January 13, 2023, ATF and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced they finalized a rule on pistol braces that is set to be enforced soon after it is entered into the Federal Register. The new rule gives owners, manufacturers, and distributors 120 days to report their stabilizing braces to the ATF. They may also remove and destroy the stabilizing brace or turn in any pistol modified by a stabilizing brace to the ATF, or otherwise could face thousands of dollars in fines and upwards of 10 years in prison.
The rule seeks to reclassify firearms with pistol braces as short-barrel rifles (SBR), which require extra registration with the government and a tax stamp that normally totals $200 under the National Firearms Act (NFA). However, the ATF states that affected persons will have 120 days from the publication of the final rule to register their firearm without paying the $200 making tax.
Sheriff Waak states in his letter, which has not yet been delivered to the ATF Director, that this is government overreach, unconstitutional, and would make felons of some of his citizens.
"As the Elected Sheriff of Polk County, Wisconsin, and the guardian of my citizens' constitutional rights, I am writing this letter to inform you that the recent rule change pertaining to pistol braces is a government overreach. This is unconstitutional to allow my citizens for over 10 years to purchase this type of firearm and then with the strike of your bureaucratic pen, potentially making my citizens felons."
The ATF estimates three to seven million pistol braces exist. The Congressional Research Service, which is nonpartisan, puts the number much higher at somewhere between 10 and 40 million stabilizing braces and similar components in civilian hands.
It is unclear, however, if this rule will last.
Congress could use the Congressional Review Act to repeal the new ATF pistol brace regulation. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) enables Congress to disapprove a final rule issued by a federal agency. A rule disapproved is not only nullified; the agency is also prevented from reissuing a “substantially similar” rule in the future unless Congress authorizes it to do so via subsequent legislation. Congress has 60 days to review the rules. However, President Biden would also have to sign this legislation if it makes it through the House and Senate – which is unlikely.
This could also end up in court. Gun Owners of America hinted at just this in a recent tweet.
The ATF's new rule is a direct attack on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Gun owners cannot and will not stand for this attempt at back door gun control.— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) January 17, 2023
We will not register, destroy, or comply—we will see the ATF in court. https://t.co/SnaSKVv0H0
Regardless of how it plays out, Sheriff Waak states that the rule should not have been made in the first place.
"I will not allow your tyrannical government agents to victimize my citizens. You are violating your oath of office and now WE THE PEOPLE lose all trust and faith in your ability to do your job. I strongly recommend you cancel this recent rule change as this is a clear violation of the constitution."
Polk County has been a second amendment sanctuary since May 2020.