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US District Court Vacates Biden Pistol Brace Ban

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A gavel on a desk.

In layman’s terms: A District Court judge’s decision means the ATF cannot enforce its ban on braced pistols.

On June 13, Judge Reed O’Connor, in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, issued a ruling in the Mock v. Garland case permanently vacating the ATF’s “rule” that effectively bans pistol braces. The decision is likely to be appealed but marks a positive precedent for the numerous lawsuits that are challenging this rule.

Last year, Firearms Policy Coalition, who brought the suit, won an injunction pending appeal that covered all FPC and GOA members. Earlier this year, the NRA won a preliminary injunction in another district court covering its members.

FPC President, Brandon Combs, made the following statement on the FPC website: “The Biden Administration’s ATF hates us so much that it lawlessly acted to turn millions of gun owners into felons, but FPC and our members ran towards the fire and defeated this evil. Today’s order shows that our community can take on an immoral government and win. FPC members should be proud of what was accomplished today. We look forward to defending this victory on appeal and up to the Supreme Court, just as we have in other cases.”

In addressing the unconstitutionality of the rule Judge O’Connor criticized the ATF for failing to follow the “APA’s procedural requirements for public notice and comment.” And in addressing the rule itself, he noted:

Moreover, the Court finds that the standards set forth in the Final Rule are impermissibly vague. While the Worksheet in the Proposed Rule would allow “an individual to analyze his own weapon and gave each individual an objective basis to disagree with the ATF’s determinations, the Final Rule vests the ATF with complete discretion to use a subjective balancing test to weigh six opaque factors on an invisible scale.” Consequently, the Court finds that the Final Rule’s six factor test is so impermissibly vague that it “provides no meaningful clarity about what constitutes an impermissible stabilizing brace,” and, thus, that “it is nigh impossible for a regular citizen to determine what constitutes a braced pistol” that “requires NFA registration.”

A detailed explanation of exactly what the rule meant for everyday individuals can be found in our early reporting. Notably, the rule compelled registration, modification, or destruction of a braced pistol.

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