Two new lawsuits are fighting back against a Biden administration rule that took aim at the use of stabilizing braces with pistols.
In a release at the time of the rule’s unveiling, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the rule would crack down on those who sought to transform pistols into short-barreled rifles, which are regulated under the National Firearms Act.
But according to the veterans and others suing to block the rule, the latest federal action is wrong-headed overreach.
In one lawsuit, the Firearms Policy Coalition and Texas residents William Mock and Christopher Lewis are suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, its director, the Department of Justice, and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Federal agencies do not have the power to write new laws, and yet the ATF continues to attempt to expand its authority using the federal rulemaking process,” Cody Wisniewski, the coalition’s senior attorney for constitutional litigation, said in a statement, according to The Hill.
“This ‘rule’ is, in effect, a federal law that will transform millions of peaceable people into felons overnight simply for owning a firearm that has been lawful to own for decades.”
The lawsuit argues that the Constitution is violated along with the Administrative Procedures Act, noting that while Congress gave ATF leeway to regulate rifles, the Biden administration has gone beyond that by trying to treat pistols with braces as rifles.
The lawsuit said braces are nothing new.
“Stabilizing braces are analogous to their Founding Era predecessors in that they allow gun owners to customize pistols to facilitate easier and more accurate one-handed shooting. The Final Rule makes what has been an unregulated historical practice for centuries nearly impossible for those individuals with a stabilizing brace,” the suit said.
The lawsuit said that the rule grew out of campaign promises President Joe Biden made in his campaign for the White House.
“The Final Rule, inspired by the Biden Administration’s promises, seeks to end run Congress and place restrictions on the ability of peaceable Americans to add minor modifications to their pistols,” it said, adding, “President Biden has both expressed and advanced his plan to expand federal firearm regulations regardless of whether Congress concurs, in direct contravention of the constitutional limits on his executive authority.”
The suit added that vagueness in the law about what could constitute a brace the ATF would frown upon “leaves gun owners with no meaningful way to know if, overnight, they have become felons. “
A second lawsuit against the rule has been filed on behalf of Marine veterans Darren Britto, of Amarillo, Texas; Gabriel Tauscher, of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin; and Shawn Kroll, of Hartland, Wisconsin, according to a release posted on the website of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.
“My first amendment right is my first amendment right to speak, to write whatever I want,” Britto said, adding, “Why should my Second Amendment rights be any different from one state to another?” according to KFDA-TV.
Britto said the brace allows him to use a pistol while dealing with the impact of a rotator cuff injury.
“For myself and for people with similar or same issues, you can’t necessarily put a stock of a rifle in your shoulder because of an injury or a limitation. By having the brace, I can affix it to my forearm and be able to have better control of the fire arm,” he said.
Deputy Counsel Dan Lennington at the Wisconsin Institute for Liberty & Law said gun owners do not want to be on a federal list.
“A lot of gun owners. I’m sure there’s gun owners in Texas that do not want their names on a registry … and so it’s a bad precedent to set to say that the government can just tell people to put their names on a registry or to face criminal penalties,” he said.
“The minute you tell people that we need to have a national gun registry, it gives tools to the government, which would allow them to confiscate those weapons in the future if they decided to go out and confiscate them,” he said.
In the law firm’s release, Lennington summarized the issue at stake.
“These military veterans defended our country overseas, and now they are defending our rights here at home,” he said, adding, “The Biden Administration has no power to re-classify pistols as rifles, and we will vigorously defend the Second Amendment in federal court.”
The lawsuit said that “ATF’s actions are unlawful. The new rule unlawfully usurps Congressional authority by significantly expanding the definition of ‘rifle’ under federal law and, with it, imposes potential criminal liability on millions of Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
Author: Jack Davis