Some sheriffs in Oklahoma defy new DOJ rule on guns 

Gun Rights

Multiple Oklahoma sheriffs, including those in Oklahoma and Logan counties, say they will not enforce a recent U.S. Department of Justice ruling on firearms.

In January, the Justice Department formalized a rule to address “stabilizing braces” and accessories used to “convert pistols into short-barreled rifles” to be fired from the shoulder, ordering that any weapons with such accessories that constitute rifles under the National Firearms Act must be registered. 

In a video statement, Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommie Johnson III said according to state law, Oklahoma law enforcement cannot enforce a rule established by the Justice Department, as opposed to a federal law established by Congress. 

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“This state statute creates a contradiction,” Johnson said. “Therefore, I have instructed my deputies, if you encounter someone in possession of a pistol with a stabilizing brace, during a low-level incidental contact, like a traffic stop, traffic collision or motorist assist, deputies are not to take any action in regard to enforcement of ATF final rule 2021R-08F.”  

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Oklahoma became a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State” under a law Gov. Kevin Stitt signed in 2021.

“Any federal, state, county or municipal act, law, executive order, administrative order, court order, rule, policy or regulation ordering the buy-back, confiscation or surrender of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition from law-abiding citizens of this state shall be considered an infringement on the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms,” the law reads. 

Johnson is joined by Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux, who said in a statement this week there is an outpouring of questions and concerns about the new rule. 

“To be clear, should any of our deputies come in contact with anyone possessing/owning any short barreled weapons with a ‘stabilizing brace’ or other rearward attachments, we will take no action, unless the weapon is used in the commission of a crime,” Devereaux said. 

In addition to Johnson and Devereaux, sheriffs in Tulsa and Ottawa counties said they will not enforce the rule.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the rule does not affect stabilizing braces that are “objectively designed and intended” as a stabilizing brace for use by individuals with disabilities, and not for shouldering the weapon as a rifle.

The rule was lauded by gun control advocates who say use of such braces makes guns more deadly. 

Gun rights groups criticized the ruling, with the National Rifle Association saying the Justice Department under President Joe Biden is attempting to upend how Americans exercise their Second Amendment rights. 

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