On October 7th, the National Association for Gun Rights secured a Preliminary Injunction against the ATF in our Forced Reset Trigger (FRT) lawsuit, barring the ATF from enforcement against our individual plaintiffs, their families, and all NAGR members. You can read the ruling here.
Specifically, the injunction stops the ATF from doing any of the following (against plaintiffs, their family members, and NAGR members):
(1) Initiating or pursuing criminal prosecutions for possession of FRTs;
(2) Initiating or pursuing civil proceedings for possessing, selling, or manufacturing FRTs based on the claim that FRTs are machineguns;
(3) Initiating or pursuing criminal prosecutions for representing to the public of potential buyers and sellers that FRTs are not machineguns;
(4) Initiating or pursuing civil actions for representing to the public of potential buyers and sellers that FRTs are not machineguns;
(5) Sending “Notice Letters” or other similar communications stating that FRTs are machineguns;
(6) Requesting “voluntarily” surrender of FRTs to the government based on the claim that FRTs are machineguns;
(7) Destroying any previously surrendered or seized FRTs; and
(8) Otherwise interfering in the possession, sale, manufacture, transfer, or exchange of FRTs based on the claim that FRTs are machineguns.
While we are glad our members are protected, we whole-heartedly believe that Second Amendment rights should not be contingent on membership to any organization. The next step is to push for a ruling on the merits to protect all Americans from this arbitrary and capricious redefinition.
In our lawsuit, we challenged the ATF’s expansion of the statutory definition of “machinegun,” to which Judge Reed O’Connor agreed that the ATF’s expanded language likely violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and is “likely unlawful.”
The ATF spent a significant amount of their briefs claiming that our organization and our individual plaintiffs lacked standing for the lawsuit through the assertion that they have “no current plans to prosecute.” This is something O’Connor addressed thoroughly in his decision, stating, “Defendants could change their current plans at any time by deciding to prosecute.”
- “Without access to courts to bring pre-enforcement challenges, vulnerable citizens may surrender the ability to promptly challenge unlawful executive branch actions. This cannot be.”
- “Yet just as the government cannot prosecute based on what a person might do, the government similarly cannot seriously argue there is a threat to public safety based on what a person might do without some justification.”
- “The crux of this case is that the executive branch has improperly usurped legislative authority by enacting criminal prohibitions that are beyond the scope of its legislatively granted authority.”
This is a huge win as FRTs are clearly not machineguns as defined by the statutory definition written by Congress, as they still require an individual trigger pull to fire an individual round.
This Preliminary Injunction grants protection from prosecution pending an actual ruling on the merits of the case, and according to O’Connor there is a “strong likelihood of success on the merits of its APA statutory interpretation claim.”