Pro-Second Amendment Organization Received Temporary Restraining Order In Lawsuit Against ATF

On August 30, 2023 the National Association for Gun Rights received a Temporary Restraining Order in its lawsuit against the ATF, National Association for Gun Rights v. Garland, in the federal court of the Northern District of Texas.

The TRO will maintain the status quo in the case until “either September 27, 2023 or such time that the Court rules on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 22), whichever is earlier,” per the opinion issued by the federal court in the Northern District of Texas.

NAGR contended that the 5th Circuit’s Cargill ruling (arguing that bump stocks are not machine guns) should be applied in this instance. Judge O’Connor concurred:

The Fifth Circuit’s recent analysis of the exact statutory language at issue here shows that Plaintiffs [NAGR] are very likely to succeed on the merits… Because FRTs do not enable a weapon to automatically fire multiple rounds with a single function of the trigger itself, the Court finds that FRTs most likely are not machineguns under Cargill’s reasoning.

Back in 2022 the ATF sent an open letter to all federal firearms dealers, in which it said the following:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently examined devices commonly known as ‘forced reset triggers’ (FRTs) and has determined that some of them are ‘firearms’ and ‘machineguns’ as defined in the National Firearms Act (NFA), and ‘machineguns’ as defined in the Gun Control Act (GCA).

Rare Breed Triggers started selling the Forced Reset Trigger in December 2020, after multiple legal teams and firearms experts studied these triggers. Subsequently, in the following month, the ATF had rolled out campaigns to ban FRTs. The ATF’s justification for this move was based on how “multiple concerned citizens” contacted it concerning Rare Breed’s FRTs. That said, FOIA requests demonstrated that there was no evidence of a citizen ever reaching out to the ATF about the triggers. 

“The court has spoken and found that the ATF’s definition is ‘likely unlawful’, because it is ,” declared Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights.

“This Temporary Restraining Order is another step in our fight to get the ATF’s bogus redefining of ‘machinegun’ thrown out and inches us closer to stopping the ATF’s harassment of our friends at Rare Breed Triggers,”  Brown added.

The Texas lawsuit’s aim is to scrap ATF’s FRT trigger ban and to shield NAGR’s members and supporters who are FRTs owners from the ATF’s bureaucratic tyranny.

Per federal law, a machine gun is defined as “a weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”  This definition has remained unchanged in the law for almost nine decades. However, the ATF is currently ignoring and attempting to re-write this law via civil charges against Rare Breed Triggers.  

“Chances are very good, based on what the court said in today’s temporary restraining order, that we can get this extended to a full preliminary injunction protecting all our members, and that’s what we’ll fight for next,” declared Hannah Hill, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, legal arm of the National Association for Gun Rights.

This was a much needed win against the ATF. For decades, the ATF has been able to get away with gun control tyranny without much resistance. However, that has changed with the rise of no compromise gun lobbies such as NAGR which have accumulated vast resources and are constantly challenging the gun control regime everywhere possible. 

Such organizations will play an integral role in the fight to ultimately abolish the ATF.

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