Home Lawsuits Atf Pistol Brace Lawsuit : Legal Victory for Gun Rights Advocates

Atf Pistol Brace Lawsuit : Legal Victory for Gun Rights Advocates


Federal Appeals Court Deems ATF Pistol Brace Rule Likely Illegal

In a significant legal development of Atf pistol brace lawsuit, a federal appeals court in New Orleans has ruled that a U.S. regulation restricting the ownership of gun accessories – specifically, pistol braces – likely is illegal. A decision that marks an important win for gun rights supporters, the order takes aim at a rule the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) finalized in January. The court held that because the ATF had not afforded the public a meaningful opportunity to comment on the rule, it had thereby violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act and rendered its regulation invalid.

Atf Pistol Brace Lawsuit

The Ruling and Its Implications:

In a historic case, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the ATF’s pistol braces regulation lacked public participation. Due to this Administrative Procedure Act violation, the court nullified the rule. Gun rights advocates gained a big victory, but the court did not block the restriction. The matter has been remanded to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, who will decide whether to block enforcement while the litigation continues and whether to apply nationwide or just to the plaintiffs.

Past Orders and Law:

This ruling adds to ATF regulatory litigation (read about it in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureau_of_Alcohol,_Tobacco,_Firearms_and_Explosives). This verdict followed many federal court preliminary judgments limiting President Joe Biden’s rule enforcement. Only gun rights groups opposing the rule and in court may use these rulings.

Leaders of the Firearms Policy Coalition termed the verdict “a huge win for peaceable gun owners across the nation.” The group’s lawyer, Cody Wisniewski, praised the ruling’s gun rights benefits.

Background and Debate about Pistol Braces:

The argument involves pistol braces, established in 2012 to stabilize weapons on shooters’ forearms, particularly for handicapped individuals. Users quickly discovered using the bracing as a rifle stock on the shoulder. This dual use caused pistol-braced gun classification problems.

The ATF’s short-barrel rifle categorization of pistol-braced guns is challenged in court. Use size, weight, and manufacturer marketing materials to categorize. Short-barrel rifles are more hazardous than handguns and need special registration, longer wait periods, and higher prices.

Court Analysis: Opinions

In the majority ruling, Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith criticized the ATF’s final rule for diverging greatly from the 2021 proposed rule. Judge Smith dubbed the law a “rug-pull on the public,” underlining its secretiveness and injustice.

The majority did not consider the Administrative Procedure Act and the Second Amendment, although Circuit Judge Don Willett agreed that the rule likely violates both. This underscores the case’s constitutional implications beyond procedure.

Circuit Judge Stephen Higginson dissented, claiming that the final rule was an interpretation of Congress-passed law and did not need public comment. Higginson’s dispute illustrates the ATF’s complex and legal regulation.

Politics and Bipartisanship:

Political links of the selected judges underscore this judicial dispute’s nonpartisanship. Republican Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump appointed Judges Jerry Smith and Don Willett. Obama appointed Judge Stephen Higginson. This diversity of judges complicates the argument.


Gun rights activists won a major victory when the federal appeals court rule that the ATF’s pistol brace regulation was procedurally flawed. This issue concerns public engagement, administrative transparency, and constitutional rights while lower courts debate gun brace restrictions. The ruling will alter gun laws and precedents, impacting gun owners and supporters nationwide.

Parul is an experienced blogger, author and lawyer who also works as an SEO content writer, copywriter and social media enthusiast. She creates compelling legal content that engages readers and improves website visibility. Linkedin


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