Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Federal Appeals Court Deems US Pistol Brace Regulation Probably Unlawful

REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

The likely illegality of a U.S. regulation that limits the ownership of gun attachments referred to as pistol braces was affirmed by a federal appeals court on Tuesday. This verdict marks a triumph for the gun rights organization disputing the regulation.

A split decision (2-1) by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, headquartered in New Orleans, concluded that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) implemented the rule in January without providing sufficient opportunity for public commentary. Consequently, under the federal Administrative Procedure Act, the rule is deemed invalid.

Instead of immediately prohibiting the enforcement of the rule, the court remanded the case back to U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge O'Connor must now decide whether to issue an injunction to halt enforcement during the ongoing legal process, and if such an order should be effective nationwide or solely applicable to the litigants.

Multiple federal judges have preliminarily obstructed the enforcement of this rule, implemented under President Joe Biden's administration and opposed by gun rights advocates. However, these restrictions are limited to group members and respective jurisdictions of the judges.

The Firearms Policy Coalition initiated the lawsuit. Cody Wisniewski, the group's attorney, hailed the decision as "a substantial triumph for law-abiding gun owners nationwide."

Both the ATF and the U.S. Department of Justice refrained from commenting.

Introduced to the market in 2012, pistol braces were initially intended to stabilize a pistol on the shooter's forearm, simplifying usage for those with disabilities. Nevertheless, many users discovered the braces could also be rested against the shoulder, resembling a rifle stock.

The contested rule categorizes certain firearms with pistol braces as short-barrel rifles, considering factors such as size, weight, and manufacturers' promotional materials. Because of their potential danger, short barrel rifles mandate specific registration, prolonged waiting periods for acquisition, and elevated taxes.

On Tuesday, Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith stated that the ATF's final rule deviated significantly from the proposed rule initially open for public comment in 2021, referring to it as "a sudden switch on the public."

While agreeing with the ruling, Circuit Judge Don Willett proposed that the rule likely infringed not only the Administrative Procedure Act, but also the Second Amendment's right to bear arms, an aspect not covered by the majority.

Circuit Judge Stephen Higginson offered a dissenting opinion, suggesting the final rule did not necessitate public input as it was an interpretation of existing Congressional law.

Judge Smith, appointed by former Republican president Ronald Reagan, and Judge Willett, appointed by former Republican president Donald Trump, sided together, while Judge Higginson, appointed by former Democratic president Barack Obama, was in dissent.

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1 comment:

  1. Damn right it’s a travesty, this is a direct infringement. Shall not be infringed read it biotch