Our friends at the Second Amendment Foundation are ramping up the pressure on the ATF and the Department of Justice via a lawsuit they filed concerning the ATF’s new absurd pistol brace rule. This one’s going to make the higher ups at the ATF quake in their boots as they’re already being bombarded with lawsuits left and right. 

We talked about how the new arm brace rule is unconstitutional and ATF officials can only shake their heads. There will soon be a hearing to decide whether or not the ATF can enforce its new regulation. Let’s get to it.

This is the first page of the amended complaint of SAF’s lawsuit. The plaintiffs are the Second Amendment Foundation, Rainier Arms, and two individuals, Samuel Wally, and William Green. 

The defendants on this lawsuit are the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives or the ATF, Steven M. Dettelbach in his official capacity as director of the ATF, the United States Department of Justice, and Merrick B. Garland in his official capacity as the Attorney General of the United States. 

Quick introduction on what this lawsuit is doing:

“One: The Second Amendment Foundation, Rainier Arms, and individual plaintiffs hereby challenge President Biden’s new Arm Brace rule or the factoring criteria for firearms with attached stabilizing braces as violating the Administrative Procedure Act, the Due Process Clause and the Second Amendment. The court should hold the Arm Brace rule unlawful and halt it both immediately and permanently.” 

So number one states basically that the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against President Biden’s Arm Brace rule, claiming that it directly violates “The Administrative Procedure Act” and “The Due Process Clause”, and it infringes upon The Second Amendment. Our friends are requesting the court to declare the Arm Brace rule invalid and to stop it from being implemented both now and in the future.

Let’s talk about the Administrative Procedure Act real quick. 

Whenever a federal agency proposes a new rule, people have the chance to give their opinion on it. The final rule is created based on not just these opinions, but all relevant facts. This includes the Supreme Court ruling from June of the previous year. The ATF obviously disregarded New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v Bruin. 

The ATF also established the arm brace rule without a 90 day waiting period before the rule is implemented. On the contrary, it gave a 120 day period that began immediately. As they rushed the rule, they breached the Administrative Procedures Act.

The Administrative Procedure Act or APA in a nutshell is a federal law that governs how federal agencies can create and enforce regulations. It sets out the process that agencies must follow in creating, publishing, and enforcing regulations, and provides for judicial review of agency action. 

The APA also establishes standards for how agencies must conduct formal proceedings, such as rulemaking, adjudication, and licensing. Additionally, it requires agencies to maintain records of their proceedings and decisions.

As for the Due Process Clause, we’ll get to it in a bit.

“Two: the Arm Brace Rule redefines federal firearm law’s rifles and pistols distinction. This has huge implications because Congress treats rifles far more harshly than pistols. Whereas the Gun Control Act of 1968 applies to most rifles and pistols alike with proscriptions that are plenty onerous, the National Firearms Act applies to short barreled rifles but not pistols, with proscriptions that are far more onerous. Given these high stakes, any rifle definition must be clear, logical, and of course constitutional. The Arm Brace rule is not.” 

The Arm Brace Rule changes the way federal gun laws separate rifles and pistols. This is a big deal since Congress has much stricter rules for rifles than pistols. The Gun Control Act of 1968 has a lot of rules for both rifles and pistols, but the National Firearms Act has extra rules for short barreled rifles, but not for pistols. This makes it important that the definition of a rifle is clear and follows the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Arm Brace Rule does not do this.

“Three: Congress defined rifle with a simple provision that the Biden Administration thinks is too kind to the Second Amendment. The president wants more guns deemed rifles, and not pistols, so that administrative enforcers can wield the more onerous NFA more often. So the president took the law into his own hands, promulgating with the Arm Brace rule a sweeping new rifle definition that covers far more than Congress or anyone else anticipated.”

What this means is, the government has rules such that only certain types of guns can be considered as rifles, and Biden thinks this rule is nowhere near as strict as it should be. He wants more guns to be classified as rifles instead of pistols, so that law enforcement can use more strict regulations to control them. For this reason, the President made a new rule to be implemented by the ATF, this new rule now considers pretty much all long guns either a rifle or a short barreled rifle. 

“Four: With the stroke of a pen, the Arm Brace rule’s capacious rifle redefinition turns millions of law abiding pistol owners into law breaking short barrel rifle owners. Exactly how many millions of new criminals this change creates is unknown since the arm brace rule uses a bewildering six factor test that no normal American can comprehend. The new rifle definition turns not on objective properties that citizens can predict, but on subjective conjecture about a firearm’s likely use and the meaning of marketing materials to bureaucrats in DC. It exceeds what Congress intended and exceeds what the Constitution allows.”

Number four sums it up nicely why the ATF’s new rule is pathetic. It will make millions of legal owners of AR style pistols criminals overnight. And it’s made worse by the fact that the new rule was written to be very confusing on purpose such the average Joe wouldn’t be able to understand it. The legal definition of a rifle is now contingent on what bureaucrats in DC think a gun might be used for and how it is marketed. 

This goes beyond what the government was supposed to do and directly violates the Due Process Clause, a provision of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution that protects individuals from the government depriving them of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. It requires that the government must follow fair procedures when taking away a person’s rights.

“Five: May 31st, 2023, is the Arm Brace Rule’s compliance date, but severe irreparable harm is mounting already. Individuals holding what has just now been deemed a short barreled rifle are preparing to either surrender their firearm entirely or bow to the NFA’s extraordinarily onerous demands. Meanwhile, for the businesses that deal in arm braces and brace equipped pistols, the Arm Brace rule is already cutting off critical streams of income, nullifying customer goodwill, and forcing compliance costs that will never be reclaimed.”

The ATF’s new arm brace rule will go into effect on May 31st, but it is already causing a lot of damage. People who own a rifle with a barrel shorter tha 16 inches will have to either give up their gun or follow some unrealistic rules set by the NFA. Businesses that make and sell arm braces and brace equipped guns are losing a lot of money as customers stop buying their products, and they have to pay extra costs to stay compliant to this new rule.

So the plaintiffs, our friends — what are they looking to achieve with this lawsuit? Let’s go to the relief page. 

  1. Plaintiffs request a judgment in their favor as to all claims against the agencies, awarding them all relief they are entitled to. 
  2. Plaintiffs request a judgment preliminarily enjoining the agency’s enforcement of the Arm Brace rule against the plaintiffs. 
  3. Plaintiffs request a judgment holding the Arm Brace rule as unlawful. 
  4. Plaintiffs request a judgment setting aside the Arm Brace rule. And…  
  5. Plaintiffs request a judgment against the agencies that award plaintiffs their costs, including reasonable attorneys fees. 

One other thing, this article isn’t sponsored by any organization, but they’re all doing phenomenal work and incurring costly legal fees as we speak. If you’d like to help out, please consider donating to them. Every single dollar counts. I’ll include links below if you want to support our friends at SAF and the other organizations fighting for our cause.

SAF is applying a lot of pressure on both the ATF and the DOJ, and with each lawsuit and response, it isn’t looking too promising for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives or the Department of Justice under the Biden Administration. 

Hopefully, we will win at least one of the many lawsuits filed so far. It would be great if we could get a temporary restraining order or an injunction soon, so stay tuned. I’ll keep you updated.

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