Federal District Court Lawsuit Ruled Trigger Ban “Likely Unlawful” and Grants Preliminary Injunction to Pro-Gun Organization
On October 7, 2023, The National Association for Gun Rights achieved a solid victory for the Second Amendment when Judge Reed O’Connor, federal district court judge in the Northern District of Texas, granted a preliminary injunction in NAGR’s lawsuit challenging the ATF’s broadening of the statutory definition of what constitutes a machine gun.
The court’s injunction determined that “the ATF’s expanded definition of ‘machinegun’” is “likely unlawful.”
“This is our second victory in less than a week for the Second Amendment and a blow against the ATF’s unconstitutional legislating by bureaucratic rulemaking,” declared Hannah Hill, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights. NFGR is the legal branch of the National Association for Gun Rights.
Back in August, NAGR filed the lawsuit against the ATF, National Association for Gun Rights v. Garland, in federal court in the Northern District of Texas, “seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to end Defendants’ arbitrary, capricious, and otherwise unlawful efforts to misclassify Forced Reset Triggers as ‘machineguns’ under the National Firearms Act of 1934.”
This same legal action was filed in the same appellate circuit that ruled earlier in 2023 that bump stocks are not machine guns in the case of Cargill v. Garland. The district court also granted a preliminary injunction last week in the group’s lawsuit challenging the ATF’s pistol brace rule.
The injunction only encompasses the parties in this lawsuit, which includes NAGR members, and prevents the ATF from:
(1) Initiating or pursuing criminal prosecutions for possession of FRTs;
(2) Initiating or pursuing civil proceedings for possessing, selling, or manufacturing FRTs based on the claim that FRTs are machineguns;
(3) Initiating or pursuing criminal prosecutions for representing to the public of potential buyers and sellers that FRTs are not machineguns;
(4) Initiating or pursuing civil actions for representing to the public of potential buyers and sellers that FRTs are not machineguns;
(5) Sending “Notice Letters” or other similar communications stating that FRTs are machineguns;
(6) Requesting “voluntarily” surrender of FRTs to the government based on the claim that FRTs are machineguns;
(7) Destroying any previously surrendered or seized FRTs; and
(8) Otherwise interfering in the possession, sale, manufacture, transfer, or exchange of FRTs based on the claim that FRTs machineguns.
“The courts continue to push back against the ATF’s regulatory overreach,” declared Dudley Brown, president of NAGR. “The first goal of the Texas lawsuit is accomplished – to protect NAGR’s members and supporters who own FRTs from an out-of-control ATF. The end goal is to win the case and bring a permanent end to the ATF’s FRT trigger ban.”
A copy of the injunction can be found here.
Such accessory bans the ATF is trying to pursue are part of a gradualist strategy to completely destroy the Second Amendment. They should obviously be opposed at every step of the way.
One means of doing so is through the courts. However, to get rid of the persistent threat of the anti-gun administrative state, the defunding of the ATF is an absolute must.