The House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Chaired by Mike Thompson (D-CA), on Wednesday sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking for the president to take executive action on "concealable AR-15 style firearms which fire rifle rounds."
Below is the letter (emphasis mine):
The House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force calls on you to take strong executive action to address serious inequities in the implementation of the National Firearms Act which is the federal law regulating the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain classes of firearms. For too long, gun manufacturers in order to circumvent the National Firearms Act have designed and marketed concealable AR-15 style firearms which fire rifle rounds.
Concealable assault-style firearms that fire rifle rounds pose an unreasonable threat to our communities and should be fully regulated under the National Firearms Act consistent with the intent and history of the law. The recent tragedy in Boulder, Colorado where 10 people including a police officer were killed is one in a string of deadly incidents involving this style of weapon. On February 6, 2019, Milwaukee Officer Matthew Rittner was killed by an AK-47 style concealable weapon while trying to execute a search warrant. Later that year on August 4, 2019, a concealable .223 caliber AR-15 style firearm was used to kill 9 people and injure 17 others in Dayton, Ohio in less than 1 minute.
The National Firearms Act has proven to be extremely effective in preventing crimes with the classes of particularly dangerous firearms it regulates through a system requiring a background check, submission of photo identification and fingerprints, and registration of the firearm with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The 1934 law sought to regulate certain weapons because of their frequent use in crime. Some of the features exploited by criminals and included for enhanced regulation under the NFA include, sawed off shotguns, rifles with short barrels and weapons with a high capacity of firing like machine guns.
The concealability and ability to use ammunition capable of penetrating body armor make these firearms especially dangerous on our streets and for law enforcement personnel. We thank you for your commitment to preventing gun violence and urge you to immediately promulgate regulations to cover these concealable assault firearms under the National Firearms Act.
Based on the letter, it appears that the coalition is referring to AR pistols, although "concealable assault weapons" is definitely a new, very made-up term.
Both AR-15 rifles and pistols are regulated under the Gun Control Act of 1968. In order to purchase one from a dealer, a person must undergo a background check. And in cases like Boulder, the gunman legally obtained the firearm through the background check process.
The letter makes AR pistols sound more deadly or lethal than an AR rifle. It's not. The main difference between the two platforms is the barrel length (pistols are shorter) and the stock (which the rifle has but the pistol doesn't). They're both semi-automatics, meaning they fire one round per pull of the trigger. Changing the cosmetic features doesn't change how the firearm functions. The NFA is used to regulate machine guns, where holding the trigger fires rounds until the firearm is empty or the trigger is released.
Should Biden go through with this executive order, it would essentially change the designation of an AR pistol to a machine gun, even though it doesn't function as such. That means they will be just as expensive to obtain, putting it out of reach of average gun owners (which seems to be their goal).
"Concealability" is the oddest description ever. They may be called AR "pistols" but they're not the same size as a handgun. They're bigger. And concealing them is way more difficult than these congress members seem to realize.
This is an attempt for Democrats to make it sound as though gun control legislation could have prevented tragedies like Boulder. The truth is, universal background checks – like what they have in Colorado – failed to prevent the tragedy that occurred. That's not because of a lack of regulation. It's because the gunman didn't have criminal convictions on his record that made him a prohibited possessor. Their calls for executive action are rooted in ignorance.