Federal Judge Sides With NRA, Blocks ATF Rule

(UnitedVoice.com) – President Joe Biden’s administration has made multiple changes to rules at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). One of the most controversial changes relates to pistol braces. In 2023, the administration finalized a rule related to the device that has since been the subject of multiple lawsuits. A recent ruling sides with gun rights groups.

The Rule

In 2012, Alex Bosco created a stabilizing brace to help a disabled veteran fire an AR-15 rifle more accurately. The brace is an accessory that attaches to the back of a gun, and the user straps it to their forearm, allowing the shooter to fire with one hand more easily.

Other stabilizing braces allow users to shoulder the weapon. Those have been used in multiple mass shootings where people were killed, including a grocery store shooting in Colorado where 10 people died and another in Tennesee that left three kids and three adults dead.

Under the ATF rule, the braces designed to be fired from the shoulder are now considered short-barreled rifles (a rifle with a barrel of less than 16 inches). Gun owners with the accessory were ordered to remove and register the brace. If they didn’t want to pay the fee to do that, they were required to destroy or forfeit the gun.

New Ruling

On April 1, the National Rifle Association (NRA) announced Northern District of Texas Judge Sam A. Lindsay issued a ruling preventing the pistol brace rule from taking effect against the organization’s members. The judge agreed that the NRA has “associated standing” to sue the ATF, Department of Justice, and ATF Director Steven M. Dettelbach.

The judge said the NRA is a traditional membership organization that can sue because its members rely on it to protect their Second Amendment rights. Additionally, he applied a previous Fifth Circuit Court ruling in Mock v. Garland that determined the ATF didn’t go through the proper administrative process before finalizing the rule. The ATF was accused of ignoring hundreds of thousands of negative comments from American citizens. As a result of the negative feedback, the Fifth Circuit determined the rule was likely to fail under scrutiny from the courts.

NRA President Charles Cotton called the latest decision by Lindsay a “major victory for the NRA, its members, and all who believe” in the constitutional right to own a gun. He went on to say the organization vowed to fight back against President Biden from the first day of his administration and “defeat this unlawful measure.”

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