A stay has been issued by a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump, preventing the implementation of a new rule by the Biden administration that could affect millions of law-abiding gun owners.
A regulation issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the administration of President Joe Biden redefined pistol braces as short-barreled rifles, thereby subjecting them to substantial federal regulation and placing them within the jurisdiction of the National Firearms Act.
Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued an injunction prohibiting the implementation of that regulation.
Under the wording of the rule, issued by the ATF on January 13 with an effective date of January 31, owners of pistol braces had several choices: register the pistol as a short-barreled rifle before a May 31 deadline (the ATF waived the $200 tax normally associated with such registrations), “[r]emove the short barrel and attach a 16-inch or longer rifled barrel to the firearm, [p]ermanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the ‘stabilizing brace’ such that it cannot be reattached, [t]urn the firearm into your local ATF office, [or] [d]estroy the firearm” in its entirety.
Failure to comply could result in up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine up $10,000.
The Texan reports that Kacsmaryk issued the order in a federal district court for the Northern District of Texas lawsuit filed by three plaintiffs against the ATF.
Two plaintiffs contended that they utilized the pistol supports in order to enhance their firearm control subsequent to sustaining injuries during their military service.
Prior to purchase, prospective proprietors of rifles with barrels shorter than 16 inches are required by the NFA to clear through a series of rigorous procedures. These include submitting a $200 levy, undergoing a “extensive background check,” and enduring a 12-month waiting period.
Pistols without braces attached are not subject to the NFA, which addresses firearms that “Congress has found to be inherently dangerous and generally lacking usefulness, except for violent and criminal purposes,” Kacsmaryk’s order stated, acknowledging the ATF’s legitimate role in enhancing public safety.
“Public safety concerns must be addressed in ways that are lawful,” the judge wrote. “This rule is not.”
“This new federal ruling protects the 2nd Amendment Rights of millions of Americans,” Dan Lennington, deputy counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of the three plaintiffs, said in the statement to The Texan. “WILL is proud to work alongside our clients and blaze a trail against this unconstitutional federal action.”
The judge’s 9-page order can be read in its entirety below.
The case, along with a number of others of a similar nature, will almost certainly reach the U.S. Supreme Court at some point, according to the Washington Examiner.
A case previously heard by the Supreme Court involved a ban on “bump stocks” imposed by the Trump administration. These stocks enable certain semi-automatic weapons to discharge at a faster rate, albeit typically at a considerable reduction in accuracy.
“Many experts expect that case to influence the pistol brace challenges” because of similarities between the two bans, the Examiner reported.