Millions Impacted as Federal Judge Blocks ATF Ban

Millions Impacted as Federal Judge Blocks ATF Ban

A federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has issued a stay of a new Biden administration rule that potentially impacts millions of otherwise lawful gun owners.

The rule promulgated by President Joe Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives redefined pistol braces as short-barreled rifles, bringing them under the purview of the National Firearms Act and subjecting them to significant federal regulation.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk blocked enforcement of that rule with his injunction, which was signed Wednesday.

Under the wording of the rule, issued by the ATF on January 13 with an effective date of January 31, owners of pistol braces had several choices: register the pistol as a short-barreled rifle before a May 31 deadline (the ATF waived the $200 tax normally associated with such registrations), “[r]emove the short barrel and attach a 16-inch or longer rifled barrel to the firearm, [p]ermanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the ‘stabilizing brace’ such that it cannot be reattached, [t]urn the firearm into your local ATF office, [or] [d]estroy the firearm” in its entirety.

Failure to comply could result in up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine up $10,000.

According to The Texan, Kacsmaryk issued the order in a lawsuit filed by three plaintiffs who sued the ATF in the federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Two of the plaintiffs argued they used the pistol braces for better control of their firearms after having been injured while serving in the military.

Under the NFA, rifles with barrels shorter than 16 require potential owners to jump through significant hoops prior to purchase, including an “extensive background check,” payment of a $200 tax and a wait time of up to 12 months.

Pistols without braces attached are not subject to the NFA, which addresses firearms that “Congress has found to be inherently dangerous and generally lacking usefulness, except for violent and criminal purposes,” Kacsmaryk’s order stated, acknowledging the ATF’s legitimate role in enhancing public safety.

“Public safety concerns must be addressed in ways that are lawful,” the judge wrote. “This rule is not.”

“This new federal ruling protects the 2nd Amendment Rights of millions of Americans,” Dan Lennington, deputy counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of the three plaintiffs, said in the statement to The Texan. “WILL is proud to work alongside our clients and blaze a trail against this unconstitutional federal action.”

The judge’s 9-page order can be read in its entirety below.

Britto v. ATF by The Western Journal on Scribd

The case — and several others like it — is likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court eventually, the Washington Examiner noted.

SCOTUS has already taken up a case centered on a similar ban of “bump stocks” issued by the Trump administration that allow some semi-automatic weapons to be fired more rapidly, though generally with a significant loss of accuracy.

“Many experts expect that case to influence the pistol brace challenges” because of similarities between the two bans, the Examiner reported.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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