August 25th, 2023

SAF Challenges ATF Rule on Frames and Receivers on Appeal

Vanderstock Garland second amendment ATF frame receiver ruling court federal law Biden gun rightsATF Rule was overturned by U.S. District Court, but DOJ appealed that ruling.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and its partners are challenging the “Final Rule” issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) redefining frames and receivers as firearms. A U.S. District Judge in Texas initially ruled against the BATFE, but the Bureau appealed that ruling. SAF has filed an appellate brief in the case, known as VanDerStok v. Garland. Joining SAF in the legal challenge are Defense Distributed, and JSD Supply.

SAF’s brief explains how ATF redefined the term “firearm” without any Congressional action. Last year, the agency announced a Rule expanding the definition of firearm to include unfinished firearm components and kits used in the process of manufacturing a firearm. SAF and its partners are asserting ATF violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). A federal District Court judge agreed and concluded that ATF had acted in excess of its statutory authority, and granted summary judgment.

SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb promised the organization will pursue this case vigorously as it winds through the court system: “This case challenges the authority of the ATF to change rules and definitions of firearms without Congressional authority,” Gottlieb said. “We simply cannot allow any federal agency to make up its own rules as it goes along, without Congressional approval.”

Vanderstock Garland second amendment ATF frame receiver ruling court federal law Biden gun rights
Judge O’Connor’s ruling in VanDerStok v. Garland vacated the controversial ATF Final Rule that effectively changed the definition of a firearm under Federal law. However the BATFE has challenged that ruling.

SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut said the foundation expects to prevail on the portions of the Final Rule that we challenged: “The district court entered a judgment deeming the Rule illegal and vacating it,” Kraut said, “and we are asking the Fifth Circuit to affirm the district court’s decision to issue relief based on the APA. By promulgating the Rule, ATF has appropriated authority reserved for Congress. Such a usurpation of power is antithetical to our system of government and must be stopped.”

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