National Association for Gun Rights granted Temporary Restraining Order in Lawsuit against the ATF

August 30, 2023

Washington, D.C.– Today the National Association for Gun Rights was granted a Temporary Restraining Order in its Lawsuit against the ATF, National Association for Gun Rights v. Garland, in federal court in the Northern District of Texas.

The TRO preserves the status quo in the case until “either September 27, 2023 or such time that the Court rules on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 22), whichever is earlier,” according to the opinion handed down by the federal court in the Northern District of Texas.

NAGR argued that the 5th Circuit’s Cargill ruling (holding that bump stocks are not machine guns) should apply here. Judge O’Connor agreed: “The Fifth Circuit’s recent analysis of the exact statutory language at issue here shows that Plaintiffs [NAGR] are very likely to succeed on the merits… Because FRTs do not enable a weapon to automatically fire multiple rounds with a single function of the trigger itself, the Court finds that FRTs most likely are not machineguns under Cargill’s reasoning.”

In an open letter to all federal firearms dealers in 2022, the ATF stated: “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently examined devices commonly known as ‘forced reset triggers’ (FRTs) and has determined that some of them are ‘firearms’ and ‘machineguns’ as defined in the National Firearms Act (NFA), and ‘machineguns’ as defined in the Gun Control Act (GCA).”Rare Breed Triggers began selling the Forced Reset Trigger in December of 2020, after having the design analyzed by multiple legal teams and firearms experts. By January 13th of 2021, the ATF had launched efforts to have FRTs outlawed. The ATF tried to justify this by saying that “multiple concerned citizens” reached out to them regarding Rare Breed’s FRTs, however FOIA requests proved that there was no record of a citizen ever contacting the ATF about the triggers.

“The court has spoken and found that the ATF’s definition is ‘likely unlawful’, because it is ,” said Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights.

“This Temporary Restraining Order is another step in our fight to get the ATF’s bogus redefining of ‘machinegun’ thrown out and inches us closer to stopping the ATF’s harassment of our friends at Rare Breed Triggers.”

The goal of the Texas lawsuit is to bring an end to the ATF’s FRT trigger ban and to protect NAGR’s members and supporters who own FRTs from an out-of-control ATF.

Under federal law, a machine gun is defined as “a weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”  This is the definition that has stood unaltered in the law for nearly nine decades that the ATF is now ignoring and trying to re-write through civil charges against our friends at Rare Breed Triggers.  There is no dispute that the Rare Breed Triggers’ FRT only allows one round to be fired for each function of the trigger.  “Chances are very good, based on what the court said in today’s temporary restraining order, that we can get this extended to a full preliminary injunction protecting all our members, and that’s what we’ll fight for next,” said Hannah Hill, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, legal arm of the National Association for Gun Rights.

The National Association for Gun Rights is the nation’s largest “no compromise” pro-gun organization, with 4.5 million members nationwide.