The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) pistol brace rule that would see millions of Americans become felons overnight was dealt another devastating blow in a Texas District Court. Gun Owners of America (GOA), Gun Owners Foundation (GOF), and the state of Texas successfully won a preliminary injunction (PI) against the new regulation.
“For these reasons, the Court GRANTS IN PART Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, (Dkt. No. 16). Defendants are ENJOINED from enforcing the Final Rule
against the private Plaintiffs in this case, including its current members and their resident family members, and individuals employed directly by the State of Texas or its agencies. The preliminary injunction will remain in effect pending resolution of the expedited appeal in Mock v. Garland,” the order reads
The victory comes one week after the Firearms Policy Coalition successfully secured a preliminary injunction from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for its members against the ATF overreach.
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has also secured a preliminary injunction from a District Court in the same Circuit.
Late Wednesday, the ruling on the injunction was clarified to include all SAF members, meaning that members of three of the most prominent gun rights groups are now exempt from the pistol brace rule for the time being.
ATF Legal Shortcomings
Instead of arguing that the Plaintiffs would not be likely to succeed on the merits of the case or that the plaintiffs would not suffer irreparably harmed by the new rule, the government relied on attacking the standing of the Plaintiffs. The ATF tried to argue that they believed that GOA and GOF did not have a traditional membership and therefore lacked standing to bring a suit against the pistol brace rule. GOA’s lawyers responded that GOA did offer a traditional membership option.
The government responded that it was unaware that GOA had a traditional membership, and it would be unfair for the court to consider that GOA had a membership because the government would not have time to respond!?
Many legal experts saw this as a “Hail Mary” by the ATF’s council. Since a panel of three judges in the Fifth Circuit Court already decided that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of the case and would suffer irreparable harm in Mock v. Garland, attacking standing is likely the only path the government saw could lead to victory in the case.
Even though GOA won a substantial victory against the ATF, the gun rights group was not completely satisfied. They had asked the court for a nationwide injunction for its members and all Americans who owned or wanted to own a pistol equipped with a brace, not just its members. The group vowed to keep fighting back against draconian regulations enacted by the ATF without oversight from Congress.
With the FPC injunction in Mock v. Garland and the GOA injunction in Texas v. ATF along with the SAF injunction, millions of Americans are now protected from ATF overreach turning the new rule into a paper tiger.
The ATF will likely appeal the District Judge’s decision, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is openly hostile towards the ATF, making Fiat law through the rule making process, in Cargill v. Garland, which challenged the ATF’s bump stock rule, the Fifth Circuit ruled by a margin of 13 to 3 that the government overstepped its power by violating the rule of lenity and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
There are two other cases in other circuits. The Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition (FRAC) is suing in the Sixth Circuit, and a group of private citizens is suing in the Eleventh Circuit.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.