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GOA Secures Preliminary Injunction Against ATF’s “Engaged in the Business” Rule

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In layman’s terms: if you are a member of the protected classes below, the new ATF rule against personal sales of firearms cannot be enforced against you for the duration of the lawsuit.

One June 11, Gun Owners of America (GOA) secured another, more permanent victory for gun owners against the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives). If you’re wondering why this case should matter to you, read our sidebar article on the ATF’s murder of Bryan Malinowski.

As we previously reported, GOA secured a temporary restraining order in the case of State of Texas, et al. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives et al. regarding the ATF’s “Engaged in the Business” rule.

In his recently issued ruling, Judge Kacsmaryk granted a preliminary injunction, which will prevent the ATF from enforcing its new rule, pending the resolution of the lawsuit.

The preliminary injunction applies ONLY to:

  • Members of GOA
  • Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA)
  • Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL)
  • Residents of the States of Texas, Utah, Mississippi, and Louisiana

The limitations of the preliminary injunction underscore why it’s important for gun owners to support their gun rights advocacy groups, both at the national and state level. Links to many of the largest groups can be found on our home page.

“This is a massive victory for our members, and it comes at a crucial time. Before the rule even took effect, the ATF was involved in an early morning raid in Arkansas on a citizen’s home who was accused of not abiding by these rules, and ultimately, he ended up being killed. This Administration’s ceaseless aggression towards gun owners has already turned deadly, and the enforcement of this rule would have inevitably led to more unnecessary bloodshed. GOA and our valued partners will continue to fight back against this lawless and tyrannical administration,” said Erich Pratt, GOA’s Senior Vice President, in a statement on their website.

Judge Kacsmaryk’s reasoning for issuing the preliminary injunction pointed out the many intentional pitfalls inherent in the ATF rule:

Other Plaintiffs face both civil and criminal enforcement actions for engaging in conduct that the BSCA permits but the Final Rule impermissibly forbids. They cannot engage in lawful, noncommercial conduct without fear of prosecution. They cannot collect firearms for personal defense while enjoying statutory protection. Nor can they dispose of firearms from their personal collections for fear of being presumed ‘engaged in the business.’ ECF No. 16 at 43. And Plaintiffs’ monetary costs — as well as those accrued by persons seeking licensure to avoid liability — ‘are unrecoverable because of the government–defendant’s sovereign immunity from monetary damages.’

As has been previously pointed out, under the rule, even the sale of one firearm could place a person into a category of a “firearms” dealer, with stiff criminal penalties for conducting what used to be a constitutionally protected activity.

SIDEBAR: On the morning of March 19, 2024, ATF agents surrounded the Little Rock home of Bryan Malinowski, cut off his electricity, and executed their no-knock raid based on a search warrant claiming he was “engaged in the business” of illegally selling firearms (all related to the new, arbitrary rule). None of the agents wore body cameras (against protocol) and they covered Malinowski’s doorbell camera with tape to conceal their actions. Fifty-seven seconds after kicking down the front door, Malinowski was fatally shot in the head.

“If that isn’t weaponization of government, I don’t know what is,” Congressman Jim Jordan, R-OH, said Thursday morning, during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, which investigated the ATF’s actions and murder of Malinowski on March 19. ATF Director Steven Dettelbach was the only witness during the hearing.

The National Association for Run Rights provides commentary and analysis of the event here: 

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