Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action
BELLEVUE, WA – A federal judge in Texas has granted a preliminary injunction against the federal government’s enforcement of the final rule regarding partially manufactured firearm parts and kits in a case known as VanDerStok v. Garland, which challenged the authority of the Justice Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to regulate items that are not firearms, as if they were firearms.
“This is a huge victory,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, which was allowed to intervene in the case last summer, along with Defense Distributed, a Texas-based company. “The court’s preliminary determination is pretty straightforward, and it notes that SAF and Defense Distributed are likely to succeed on the merits of their case against the receiver rule.”
The decision was issued by Judge Reed O’Connor for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division. His preliminary injunction applies to Defense Distributed and its clients.
“We are pleased with the Courts ruling, which correctly finds we are likely to succeed on our claims,” said Adam Kraut, SAF’s Executive Director. “Judge O’Connor agrees that ATF’s final rule expanded the agency’s authority over parts that may be ‘readily converted’ into frames or receivers, which surpasses the authority granted by Congress. Even more compelling is that the judge agrees that ATF’s rule unlawfully treats parts kits as firearms. It is refreshing to see rogue administrative agencies being reined in by the checks and balances of our system of government.”
Last August, ATF promulgated its “Final Rule” purporting to regulate partially-manufactured firearm parts and parts kits, departing from almost 45 years of precedent, during which the agency declined to interpret the term “firearms” as noted in the Gun Control Act of 1968 to apply to partially-manufactured frames and receivers. The government flip-flopped in December, asserting that certain products are considered “frames” and are therefore firearms. Subsequently, a lawsuit was filed challenging the legality of the “Final Rule” on the grounds that the regulation exceeds the scope of ATF’s statutory authority.
The injunction takes effect immediately.