Friday, December 1, 2023

ATF Breaches Consensual Schedule with Appeal Filing in Pistol Brace Lawsuit

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently filed an appeal in a legal battle over its rule on pistol braces, defying an agreed timeline with Gun Owners of America (GOA) and other parties. This development follows a motion for summary judgment filed by GOA in the Texas v. ATF case, a collaborative effort between GOA, Gun Owners Foundation (GOF), and the state of Texas, aiming to overturn the ATF's pistol brace rule.

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The rule faced significant legal challenges, with Federal District Court Judge Drew Tipton issuing a preliminary injunction for GOA members, halting ATF enforcement actions. This decision paralleled the Mock v. Garland case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which also blocked rule enforcement for Firearms Policy Coalition members. The Second Amendment Foundation achieved a similar injunction.

The Fifth Circuit Court later extended the injunction nationwide, effectively nullifying the ATF rule. Despite this, the ATF filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court just a day before Texas and GOA's motion for summary judgment, a move seen by many as a delay tactic. Given the Fifth Circuit's history of rulings against the ATF, particularly concerning rule-making powers, the appeal is viewed skeptically.

The ATF has faced opposition in the Fifth Circuit before, notably in cases related to bump stocks, frames, and receivers, and the Mock v. Garland case, closely resembling Texas v. ATF. The consensus among GOA, GOF, and Texas is that the ATF’s appeal aims to delay inevitable defeat, as they anticipate another nationwide injunction against the pistol brace rule.

GOA's motion for summary judgment builds on their successful preliminary injunction, adding more evidence and substance. Given the Fifth Circuit's critical stance on the ATF's compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act, the ATF faces a challenging legal battle. The agency has experienced setbacks in various areas, including pistol braces, force reset triggers, and bump stocks. Their last resort may be the Supreme Court, but prospects for success in these legal challenges appear slim.

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