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District Court VACATES the ATF’s Pistol Brace Rule, Ending Enforcement of the Ban Nationwide

SB Tactical pistol brace
Courtesy SB Tactical

More good news out of the Northern District of Texas. Judge Reed O’Connor has issued a ruling in Mock v. Garland vacating the ATF’s byzantine rule that effectively bans pistol braces. You know…the same pistol braces the ATF had previously said were perfectly fine and an acceptable firearm accessory. That, of course, was back before the Biden administration waged a war on gun owners, their rights, and companies that make legal products those people want to buy.

This comes the same week the decrepit but still rabidly anti-gun president was trundled out of the White House and propped up behind a podium at Everytown’s “Gun Sense University” meeting of anti-gun flying monkeys. There the president once again rotely spouted all the same bogus hoplophobic talking points he’s been using since first finding himself in the Oval Office in 2021.

Judge O’Connor granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgement  . . .

For the reasons set out above, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment on the grounds that the Final Rule violated the APA’s procedural requirements because it was arbitrary and capricious and was not a logical outgrowth of the Proposed Rule; DENIES Defendants’ Cross Motion for Summary Judgment; DENIES Plaintiffs’ request for a permanent injunction; and VACATES the Final Rule.

Oof. You can read the ruling here.

Here’s the FPC’s press release cheering the ruling . . .

Today, Firearms Policy Coalition announced a major legal victory in its Mock v. Garland lawsuit challenging the Biden Administration’s “pistol brace” ban rule issued by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In the decision, United States District Court Judge Reed O’Connor granted summary judgment in favor of FPC and its co-plaintiffs and issued a final judgment and order vacating the ATF’s rule. The case and opinion can be found at FPCLegal.org.

“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,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “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.”

Today’s victory is one in a line of FPC community successes against the Biden Administration. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court recently agreed to hear one of FPC’s cases in which it prevailed in the courts below.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Cody Wisniewski of FPC Action Foundation, Bradley Benbrook and Stephen Duvernay of the Benbrook Law Group, and R. Brent Cooper and Benjamin Passey of Cooper & Scully. Plaintiffs in this case are two individual FPC members, Maxim Defense, and FPC. FPC Action Foundation represented the Plaintiffs, alongside Benbrook Law. FPC expects the Mock decision and remedy to be appealed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

21 Responses

  1. Was this the one where Judge Reed O’Connor ordered the BATF to respond by a certain date, and the BATF didn’t bother to submit on time?

    Either way, this is serious good news, and I shall celebrate appropriately… 😉

    1. Chalk this up as another reason to not comply with unlawful orders. Just put your items in the safe and wait it out. Never register, never comply, never roll over.

      Imagine the doofi (plural of “doofus”) who actually registered their affected gun(s) because of this now-defunct rule. I know someone who did…

        1. “Attacking”? So you likely also equate the common usage of the term “FUDD” with attacking.

  2. Great result from Cody and the FPC team!

    Unfortunately, I suspect we’ll see the following:

    (1) Feds will move for stay pending appeal.
    (2) O’Connor will deny it.
    (3) Feds will ask Fifth Circuit for a stay pending appeal.
    (4) Fifth Circuit might grant a short administrative stay, but will deny a longer one.
    (5) Feds will ask SCOTUS for an emergency stay pending appeal.
    (6) Unless they have issued a positive opinion in Cargill and / or Loper Bright by then, SCOTUS will grant it, and thus the rule will remain in effect pending resolution of the appeal — which is exactly what has happened in Cargill and VanDerStok, and what happened in Mock on the preliminary injunction.

    A good decision in Cargill (bump stock case, argued to SCOTUS in February) or Loper Bright (expected to nuke Chevron deference) could change the calculus, but it’ll likely be a while before we’re out of the woods . . . .

    1. “Unless they have issued a positive opinion in Cargill and / or Loper Bright by then,…”

      About ‘Loper-Bright’, can the companies who had to pay for those ‘observers’, and feed and house them sue to get their money back, and how likely is that?

      1. Feed and house while they are aboard ‘monitoring’, that is…

  3. Related legal point . . . on the SCOTUS Rahimi watch front:

    Besides Rahimi, until this morning there was only one other case from October-November arguments that had not had an opinion released. The opinion in that other case dropped this morning, and was by Thomas.

    Tomorrow is another opinion day. I’ll bet we see Rahimi drop tomorrow, and right now I’d book the odds as prohibitive that it’ll be by Roberts, with longer odds on it being by Alito or Gorsuch. Analysis follows:

    There are 19 Fall Term cases (ignoring cases disposed on of PC / GVR / DIG, and counting consolidated cases as 1). The history and tradition of spreading the opinions around equally among the justices suggests that for Fall term cases, everyone will have 2 opinions and one justice will have 3.

    Distribution of the fall opinions issued to date:

    Roberts 0
    Thomas 2
    Alito 2
    Kagan 2
    Sotomajor 2
    Gorsuch 1
    Kavanaugh 2
    Barrett 2
    Jackson 2

    Roberts is also the only one who has not written at least one from Oct / Nov (Thomas, Kavanaugh, and Barrett each have two from these sittings; everyone else has one). It would be VERY unusual for Roberts (or any other justice) not to have any opinions for two months in a row. As Thomas, Kavanaugh, and Barrett have already written in Oct and Nov cases, they are unlikely to have the Rahimi pencil. Extremely unlikely that Kagan, Sotomajor, or Jackson have it either. Gorsuch is mathematically in play, but given that he’s already written a Nov. opinion, it’s unlikely he’d be assigned two opinions from a month that only had 6 cases. Alito has not written a November opinion, so he’s a possibility, but based only on the Oct-Nov numbers Roberts is the heavy favorite.

    There are four cases left from the fall: Rahimi, Harrington (bankruptcy), Moore (potentially big tax case), and Jarkesy (potentially huge SEC / Admin law case, especially when combined with what will likely happen in Loper Bright on Chevron deference).

    I suspect Roberts has the pencil in Jarkesy, Gorsuch has it in Harrington or Moore (with Kavanaugh and Barrett being in the running for those cases as well). It’s possible that Roberts would double up in December (especially if he does not have Rahimi), but I think it unlikely . . . much more likely that he has Rahimi and one December case.

    Distribution of Spring opinions (13 issued to date; 25 outstanding (counting consolidated cases as 1)):

    Roberts 1
    Thomas 3
    Alito 1
    Kagan 1
    Sotomajor 4
    Gorsuch 0
    Kavanaugh 2
    Barrett 0
    Jackson 1

    And thus the totals for the 2023-24 term to date are:

    Roberts 1
    Thomas 5
    Alito 3
    Kagan 3
    Sotomajor 6 (probably done for the year)
    Gorsuch 1
    Kavanaugh 4
    Barrett 2
    Jackson 3

    As there are 57 cases this term (again, counting consolidated matters as 1 and ignoring cases disposed of by PC / GVR / DIG), so the odds are that each justice will do 6 and a few will do 7. There are some huge cases from the Spring (including the Chevron deference, Texas / Florida social media law, and Trump presidential immunity cases), and I suspect Roberts has grabbed the pencil in at least some of those. (And of course Cargill is a Spring case.)

    But again, the raw to date numbers also suggest Roberts has the pencil in Rahimi, with Alito and Gorsuch in a distant second and third places.

    Tune in again tomorrow . . . opinions are released at 10AM Eastern.

  4. Since they have successfully defied SCOTUS decisions already, I anticipate the Obama/Biden ATF will violate this one also.

    When it is not creating terrorist plots, intimidation and financial bankruptcy are the the main strategies of the DOJ.

  5. The legal circus is far from over on this. Appeals, stays, more appeals…it wont be over until the SCOTUS finally gets the last word

  6. The issue win (temporary win) is nice, but it’s a small one.

    There are more critical battles yet to be fought;

    1)Defacto Gun Registration. States with their own peculiar backgrounds checks,(in addition to the Fed Backgrounds check) and mandatory extra State paper for every gun transaction even for transfers between family members, and expense each time, well the State has a record of you, and can use this to start a defacto Gun Register, which to me, (30 years in Australia) means some sunny say (for the State) gun confiscations (ever have an excellant condition Winchester 1903 seized and trashed?, along with 5 other firearms?)

    2) Various States and Cities are still doing their best to make it hard, expensive or almost impossible to get a CC License (despite Breyer) like NY State, the State that lost the case. The carve outs of places you can’t carry (but criminals can) defeats the meaning of the decision… NYC with it’s character references (I’m old, retired, alone, no family local, long lost cousins who are anti-gun, and a son 11,000 miles away, and my place of work no longer exists, so no one there either) no CC on Public Transport, Museums, Malls, Businesses (they have to post a large sign expressly giving permission to CC carriers to enter) or Times Square (where violent crime has even the cops scurrying away) and no ranges accessible without a car… And every new gun, long gun or handgun is effectively in State Records, and every handgun owner must be licensed.
    Too many States still left that are totalitarian towards citizens, and Governers actually stating you’re not wanted in your own State, if you don’t toe the line on supporting Gun Restrictions, Abortion, etc.. actually insulting it’s citizens.
    The Biden Gov’t will do everything possible to hurt gun owners, and if re-elected will continue their Rule by ignoring the Law…
    We have along way to go, against a Government that hates us, and Democrats who hate us, and Republicans who couldn’t care less.

  7. Why do we not strike the ATF $200 tax on rifles with barrels less than 16″. Better thought is, “Why don’t we just strike ATF and save the taxpayers a bunch of money?

  8. I thought the entire point of this case was that allowing a brace on say a pistol caliber carbine (PCC) does not make that setup (brace + PCC) a SBR (short barrel rifle). Therefore this setup is compliant with the NFA and a person is not required to register it with the ATF. Based on a few comments above it appears I’m miss understanding something?

    1. A bunch of what ifs…your interpretation of the issue, cause and the current decision are correct. Tangents happen, gun owners are prideful and should be…n will defend their weapon’s in their sleep. Me too…just some are more vocal and again what ifs will drive some crazy.

  9. Thanks for your article One other thing is the fact individual American states have their own laws that will affect homeowners, which makes it quite hard for the the legislature to come up with a whole new set of guidelines concerning property foreclosures on property owners The problem is that a state has got own laws and regulations which may work in an adverse manner in terms of foreclosure plans

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