In a fiery exchange during a recent hearing on ATF oversight, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida didn’t hold back in expressing his skepticism towards ATF Director Steven Dettelbach’s citation of Senator John Cornyn of Texas as a credible source on Second Amendment matters.

The exchange took place during a line of questioning regarding the ATF’s proposed universal background check rule. Gaetz sought clarity on the threshold that would classify a law-abiding citizen as “engaged in the business” of selling firearms.

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Directly addressing Dettelbach, Gaetz firmly asked, “How many firearms does someone have to sell to be ‘engaged in the business’ of firearms dealing?”

Rather than providing a direct answer, Dettelbach evaded the question, referring to ongoing litigation and the extensive documentation associated with the rule. He stated, “That matter is being litigated in several courts, so, sticking to what’s already in the public record, the rule itself is 16 pages, skipping lines, …(combined) with over 400 pages of explanation.”

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Adding to the tension of the moment, Dettelbach mentioned that the ATF had received multiple comments on the rule, citing Senator Cornyn’s view that no specific numerical threshold should be imposed.

Seizing the opportunity to challenge the ATF director, Gaetz interrupted, declaring, “In the House Judiciary Committee, we probably won’t look to Sen. Cornyn as the oracle of all things gun rights.”

Gaetz’s remark underscored his skepticism of relying on Cornyn’s perspective as the authoritative voice on Second Amendment rights, emphasizing the importance of considering a broader range of viewpoints when formulating firearms legislation.

The clash between Gaetz and Dettelbach highlights the ongoing debate surrounding gun control measures and the extent to which lawmakers should curtail Second Amendment rights. As the discussion on universal background checks continues, conservative legislators like Gaetz are urging a thorough examination of the issues and a comprehensive analysis that encompasses diverse perspectives.

This exchange underscores the need for lawmakers to critically evaluate proposed legislation and consider a wide range of expert opinions to protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, ensuring that any potential restrictions on firearms align with the principles enshrined in the Second Amendment.

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