Thursday, August 31, 2023

Federal Court Temporarily Halts ATF's Labeling of Forced Reset Triggers as Machine Guns

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

The Northern District of Texas Federal Court has issued a temporary restraining order in favor of the National Association for Gun Rights in their legal battle against the ATF. This order will maintain the current situation in the case until either September 27, 2023, or until a decision is made on the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction.

The Association cited a precedent set by the 5th Circuit Court in the Cargill case, arguing that bump stocks should not be considered machine guns. Judge O'Connor concurred, suggesting that the Association has a strong likelihood of winning the case based on existing laws.

In a 2022 communication to federal firearms dealers, the ATF had classified 'forced reset triggers' (FRTs) as 'firearms' and 'machine guns' according to the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act. 

Rare Breed Triggers initiated the sale of their Forced Reset Trigger in December 2020 after extensive legal review. However, by January 2021, the ATF had started campaigns to ban these triggers. Despite the ATF's claim that public concerns initiated this action, Freedom of Information Act requests revealed no such concerns from the public had been recorded.

Dudley Brown, the President of the National Association for Gun Rights, commented that the restraining order represents progress in refuting the ATF's questionable redefinition of 'machine gun' and aims to cease the agency's overreach towards Rare Breed Triggers.

The lawsuit's objective is to revoke the ATF's prohibition on FRT triggers and safeguard the owners of these triggers from undue ATF intervention.

According to existing federal legislation, a 'machine gun' is a weapon capable of firing multiple rounds with a single trigger action. This longstanding definition, which the ATF is purportedly disregarding, makes it clear that Rare Breed Triggers' FRT only enables the firing of one round per trigger action.

Hannah Hill, the Executive Director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights— the National Association for Gun Rights' legal division—expressed optimism that the temporary restraining order is a positive indicator for a future preliminary injunction that would protect all their members.

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