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Breaking News Alert This Week In Lawfare Land: What Happens Next?

Federal Judge Blocks ATF From Arresting Millions Of Pistol Brace Owners

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Millions of law-abiding gun owners who were turned into criminals overnight under the Biden administration’s new pistol brace ban have temporary relief after a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives from enforcing it.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled on Wednesday that the unelected bureaucrats’ attempts to legislate by regulation instead of enforcing the gun laws already on the books were unlawful and, in the case of pistol braces, must cease immediately.

The ATF’s rule, enacted earlier this year, sought to jail and fine any of the estimated 40 million U.S. pistol brace owners who refused to reclassify their weapons as short barrel rifles, which require registration with the government and a $200 tax stamp, or destroy the pistol brace. Gun owners in the 21 states with SBR bans were forced to choose between relinquishing their weapons or destroying their pistol brace-equipped firearms to avoid penalty and punishment.

The plaintiffs in Britto v. ATF, “three decorated Marine veterans” represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), argued that the rule violates the Second Amendment and should be rendered “void for vagueness.”

Kacsmaryk agreed. He also noted that the rule would also place undue financial burden on not just gun owners but pistol brace manufacturers.

“Additionally, ATF admits the 10-year cost of the Rule is over one billion dollars,” he wrote. “And because of the Rule, certain manufacturers that obtain most of their sales from stabilizing braces risk having to close their doors for good.”

The judge claimed “the Court is certainly sympathetic to ATF’s concerns over public safety in the wake of tragic mass shootings” but noted that “public safety concerns must be addressed in ways that are lawful.”

“This Rule is not,” Kacsmaryk concluded.

Kacsmaryk is not the first judge to grant an injunction in this case, nor is he the first to chastise the ATF for enacting a rule that, as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determined in August, would “likely fail constitutional muster.” The Texas judge is, however, the first judicial authority to apply his injunction to all pistol brace owners, not just the plaintiffs bringing the case.

“This new federal ruling protects the 2nd Amendment Rights of millions of Americans. WILL is proud to work alongside our clients and blaze a trail against this unconstitutional federal action,” WILL Deputy Counsel Dan Lennington said in a statement.


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