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A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives from enforcing a rule that bans so-called pistol braces, in another blow against the Biden administration’s gun control agenda.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas, a Donald Trump appointee, noted in his ruling that while he understood the public safety concerns of the ATF, the rule in question was not “lawful,” The Epoch Times reported.
“The Court is certainly sympathetic to ATF’s concerns over public safety in the wake of tragic mass shootings. The Rule ’embodies salutary policy goals meant to protect vulnerable people in our society,’” he wrote.
“Public safety concerns must be addressed in ways that are lawful. This rule is not,” he added in a ruling that affects millions of gun owners around the country.
The outlet continued:
The case, Britto v. ATF, challenges the pistol brace rule under the Administrative Procedures Act, a decades-old law that governs whether federal agencies propose or establish regulations. Judge Kacsmaryk found that the plaintiff’s case will likely prevail, meaning that the ATF rule will likely be struck down.
The Kacsmaryk court wrote that based on Mock v. Garland, which was also about the same ban, “the controlling law of this case is that the Government Defendants’ promulgation of the Final Rule ‘fails the logical-outgrowth test and violates the APA’ and ‘therefore must be set aside as unlawful’ under the APA.”
He also found that several parties could be injured by the ban, including the owners of the braces.
“Additionally, ATF admits the 10-year cost of the Rule is over one billion dollars, and because of the Rule, certain manufacturers that obtain most of their sales from the stabilizing braces risk having to close their doors for good,” the order said.
In late October, another federal court extended a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the ban.
“Earlier this year, a panel at the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the ATF finalized the rule in January without giving the public a meaningful chance to comment on it. That made it invalid under the federal Administrative Procedure Act, the panel found,” The Epoch Times reported.
Before that, a number of federal judges issued preliminary orders preventing the implementation of the rule that President Joe Biden’s administration had enacted in response to lawsuits from gun rights organizations. But those orders had applied only to members of the groups and only in those judges’ jurisdictions,” the outlet’s report continued.
The ruling last month against a ban on pistol braces by a federal judge in Texas came as a result of a lawsuit filed against the measure by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) on behalf of members of the National Association for Gun Rights Inc. and Texas Gun Rights, Inc., Fox News reported.
The suit argued that the ATF requiring some 40 million gun owners to put their names in a gun registry and pay a tax violates the Constitution’s Second Amendment infringement clause.
Fox noted further that if gun owners refuse to register and pay the tax, they could be hit with a 10-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines under the rule. Also, the rule redefined pistols with stabilizing arm braces that are most often attached to handguns to make them more controllable and easier to fire with one hand, particularly for disabled vets, as “short barrel rifles.”
The ATF “inexplicably and fundamentally switched its position on stabilizing braces without providing sufficient explanations and notice,” the ruling said.
“Short barrel rifles” can only be owned after obtaining a federal license under the National Firearms Act. According to the ATF, some 99 percent of pistols with stabilizing braces would be reclassified as rifles under the final rule, according to the judge’s opinion.
“The ATF provided no explanations for how the agency came to these classifications, and there is no’meaningful clarity’ about what constitutes an impermissible stabilizing brace,” the opinion read.