Well, turns out the complaints of ATF making laws by administrative measures which go too far, or reverse their previously announced measures- about what a firearm is or is not, are getting attention this week in two federal venues.
Yes, a federal judge in Texas stepped in to grant a preliminary injunction against ATF and their new “Ghost Gun Rule”, and then the U.S. House Judiciary Committe has sent a letter to the Biden endorsed new director of BATF to testify in front of the Committee about recent agency behavior/misbehavior related to new wrist brace rules and a vigorous zero tolerance rule for shutting down gun stores and gun dealers.
Down in Texas, the company, Defense Distributed, filed for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to halt the 2021 and 2022 rules ATF halting sales of build it yourself receiver kits and requiring all newly created kits to have a serial number engraved on any frame/receiver and treated like a complete firearm for registration and sales purposes.
These unbuilt and uncomplete guns, were announced to be real guns by ATF, despite the fact for years ATF assured manufacturers and retailers they were just plastic undrilled parts, not guns. Under federal law you could always build your own gun at home for your own use, even if it did not have a serial number. ATF made the change in 2022 with urging from the Biden administration to stop “Ghost Guns.”
Lawsuits have been filed of course, and Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) brought a case against the U.S. Attorney General claiming ATF has abused its administrative power in this matter. The U.S. District Court Judge has issued a TRO in favor of Defense Distributed who showed they would be irreparably harmed by this agency Final Rule. The TRO only covers Defense Distribution, their employees and customers at this time. The rest of the suit continues in the court.
Good to see someone at the federal level saying “Whoa. Too far!” Claiming a piece of unfinished plastic or metal is an entire firearm is onerous at best. Where else have we seen this behavior lately? Oh yes. This year, 2023, ATF issued another (administrative) Final Rule reversing its previous decisions and now states a Wrist Brace attached to pistol is illegal. Lawsuits have been filed at the federal level challenging this rule. Hopefully the judiciary will see the same overreach.
Right behind this Texas news, is some very welcome news, the new Republican controlled House Judiciary Committee has apparently gotten angry with ATF for their actions dictating control and “regulation of firearms through the rulemaking process” and are now calling the head of the BATF on the D.C. carpet.
Jim Jordan (Ohio-R) and Thomas Massie (KY-R) sent a letter this month to ATF demanding the director appear before the House Judiciary Committee on April 26, 2023.
The Committee has expressed a need for documents and information about the ATF regulation decisions especially in light of the final rule being published regarding stabilizing braces and how the agency is now also shutting down lawful businesses through a zero-tolerance policy towards FFLs.
Congressman Jordan is quoted saying “This ruling raises serious doubts about ATF’s ability to regulate pistol braces absent a clear mandate from Congress.” The two lawmakers also included language stating they would like to hear directly from the Director on the decisions he or the agency recently made reversing years of previous ATF opinions regulating firearms with stabilizing braces.
Hmmm, Congress as law maker…who would have thought that would be so important down the line? That whole Constitution thing can be pesky at times…