Today, United States District Judge Reed O’Connor denied the request for a preliminary injunction in the Mock v. Garland pistol brace ban lawsuit. In so doing, he seems to have ignored many of the facts of the case.
As reported by News2A, the case was filed on January 31st against the Federal Government, challenging the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) to make law, redefine a firearm, and ban what is effectively a firearms accessory: a pistol brace.
Today’s decision not to grant injunctive relief is a blow to the Second Amendment, and to owners of legally-owned, braced pistols, not only because they must comply with the rules before the effective date, but because the decision seems to undermine recognized legal jurisprudence.
According to the new ATF rule, those who own braced pistols have 120 days from the day the rule was published in the federal registrar to comply through either: 1) removal 2) registration 3) disposal or destruction of the brace 4) surrender or 5) destruction of the firearm. May 31, 2023 is rapidly approaching and those who have been sitting on the fence waiting for the possibility of injunctive relief must now choose one of these ridiculous “remedies”.
Judge O’Connor wrote in his decision that, “While Plaintiffs may ultimately prevail on summary judgment, the Court finds that they have not, at this preliminary stage, demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of at least one of their claims. Failure to satisfy this element necessarily bars their request for injunctive relief.”
Overshadowing the decision itself is the reasoning chosen by Judge O’Connor as to how he arrived at it. The reasoning evades common sense as well as the facts of the case. Since injunctive relief is considered to be an “extraordinary remedy” the legal standard is laid out in the order:
To obtain a preliminary injunction, the movant must demonstrate: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a substantial threat of irreparable harm; (3) that the balance of hardships weighs in the movant’s favor; and (4) that issuance of a preliminary injunction will not disserve the public interest.
The ATF has been previously been slapped down by Appeals courts as recently as January in its attempt to ban bump stocks, for example, suggesting that litigants do indeed have a likelihood of success. In this case, Judge O’Connor seems to be unable to connect the dots that irreparable harm will be imposed on potentially millions of Americans who legally own their braced pistols and may choose the “remedy” of surrendering or having their firearms destroyed in order to comply with the effective rule date. That date will, of course, come and go before the case is ever fully briefed, tried, and decided. And once those actions are taken, they can never be reversed.
Judge O’Connor also offered other bizarre observations in his decision as a way of dancing around what might be a hot topic considering other current events. He wrote, “And importantly, the Final Rule does not regulate stabilizing braces on their own but only regulates the products when they are attached to a firearm.”
Ignoring the fact that the ATF used the attached stabilizing brace to redefine and recategorize these types of firearms, his argument is akin to suggesting that people can still own their stabilizing braces, they just can’t put them on their firearms – an absolutely ridiculous proposal.
This ruling comes just days after a tragic domestic terror attack by a radical, left-leaning, psychopath who killed three children and three adults in Nashville, Tennessee. As reported by Emily Brooks at The Hill, the House Judiciary Committee postponed a scheduled Tuesday markup wherein Republicans would have withdrawn funding for the ATF stabilizing brace rule.
And, as reported by Legally Armed America, a stabilizing brace was present (attached to an AR-15) during the Nashville shooting, though that was not the weapon that was used to murder six innocent civilians.
The timing of these three events (the shooting, the postponed Judiciary Committee meeting, and the District Court ruling) suggest that immense political pressure is coming to bear on the subject of both stabilizing braces and firearms in general.
We will continue to cover this important story.