Friday, February 2, 2024

Florida Receives Preliminary Injunction Against Enforcement of Pistol Brace Regulation



In the case of Colon v BATFE, United States District Judge Mary S. Scriven has issued a preliminary injunction, halting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), the Department of Justice, and associated parties from implementing the Final Rule against Florida residents who have or will purchase brace-equipped firearms, pending the lawsuit's conclusion.

Judge Scriven's order prohibits any enforcement actions against individuals in Florida who have acquired or will acquire such firearms from 2nd Amendment Armory until the case is fully resolved. This ruling specifically targets the BATFE's classification of pistols with arm braces as short-barreled rifles, which would subject them to stringent National Firearms Act regulations.
Upon consideration of the foregoing, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, (Dkt. 21), is GRANTED in PART and DENIED in PART. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendants Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Steven Dettelbach, United States Department of Justice, and Merrick B. Garland, their agents, servants, employees, officers, and all other persons who have notice of this Order and are in active concert or participation with Defendants, be and are, without prior written or oral notice, preliminarily restrained and enjoined from, in any way, either directly or indirectly, enforcing the Final Rule against the named Plaintiffs and 2nd Amendment Armory’s past and future customers (collectively, “Covered Persons”) who reside in the State of Florida. For purposes of this injunction, the term “customer” includes any Florida resident who has purchased or subsequently purchases a brace-equipped firearm from 2nd Amendment Armory before final resolution of this action. The injunctive relief authorized by this Order expressly does not grant Covered Persons any additional privileges during interstate travel. Covered Persons engaging in interstate travel are required to comply with any requirements pertinent to traveling with their respective firearms in existence before the Final Rule became effective.
Throughout her 51-page decision, Judge Scriven critically examines the ATF's shifting stance on pistol braces, highlighting the potential for real damages to the plaintiffs. She scrutinizes the Biden administration's argument regarding the historical precedent for firearm taxation and regulation, finding it insufficient to justify the restrictions posed by the Final Rule.

The injunction serves as a significant critique of the ATF and the Biden administration's approach, emphasizing the potential harm to plaintiffs without the injunction and noting the lack of harm to the government from refraining from rights violations. Judge Scriven's decision reflects a careful balance of interests, restricting the injunction's scope to Florida to protect the plaintiffs and adhere to Supreme Court guidance against broad nationwide injunctions.

This decision represents a crucial step in challenging the BATFE's "Final Rule" and underscores the ongoing debate over Second Amendment rights and federal regulatory overreach. While the case does not directly address Second Amendment issues, Judge Scriven's remarks question the administration's reliance on historical precedent for firearm regulation. The injunction offers temporary relief to Florida residents with brace-equipped firearms, with potential implications for future enforcement and legal challenges within the Eleventh Circuit.

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