Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Texas Judge Grants Injunction Against ATF's Pistol Brace Regulation


A Texas federal judge has granted a new preliminary injunction to the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) members and Maxim Defense against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concerning the regulation of pistol stabilizing devices.

Join the Discussion on the Gun Coyote Forum

The legal battle, Mock v. Garland, centers on the ATF's restrictions concerning pistols fitted with stabilizing braces. Initiated in the Northern District of Texas by the FPC and presided over by Judge Reed O’Connor, a noted supporter of gun rights, the case has garnered attention.

Existing preliminary injunctions already prevent the ATF from enforcing this rule, courtesy of the FPC, Gun Owners of America (GOA), and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). In his recent decision, Judge O’Connor dissected the ATF’s practices, the National Firearms Act (NFA), and previously raised legal concerns.

For an injunction to be granted, the plaintiff needs to demonstrate a likely case victory. Judge O’Connor is inclined to believe the ATF's regulation might contravene the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Notably, the final rule diverged significantly from its proposed form, which initially included a worksheet to determine the acceptability of a brace on a pistol. In its final form, however, this worksheet was absent, and a general ban on all commercially available braces was instituted.

Examining this development, Judge O'Connor stated, “The ATF's regulatory assessment indicates that almost all pistols with stabilizing braces will now be categorized as NFA rifles. As such, many FPC members are at risk of criminal charges due to their ownership of these braced pistols."

Furthermore, Judge O’Connor emphasized the potential harm plaintiffs would face without an injunction, stressing that infringement on a constitutionally protected right is an undeniable harm.

Judge O’Connor suggests that this rule might infringe on the Second Amendment, emphasizing that braced pistols are commonly used and protected by previous Supreme Court rulings.

Highlighting the concept of constructive intent, Judge O'Connor discussed the ATF's stance on owning a pistol and brace separately, suggesting that having both could indicate an intent to create a short-barreled rifle (SBR).

In a historical context, Judge O’Connor referenced the Founding Era's gun modifications, comparing them to contemporary stabilizing braces used for enhanced control and accuracy.

Concluding the ruling, Judge O’Connor prohibited the ATF from implementing this regulation against FPC members, Maxim Defense, their clients, and others associated with pistol braces. This decision is expected to be challenged by the ATF, but given the composition of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal agency faces an uphill battle.

Gun Coyote | Gun Deals

No comments:

Post a Comment