SAF is full steam ahead on challenging DOJ on frames and receivers case at SCOTUS

SAF is full steam ahead on challenging DOJ on frames and receivers case at SCOTUS
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The continued drama revolving around frames and receivers took a turn on Friday July 28, 2023. In a case known as VanDerStok v. Garland, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals passed on staying a lower court’s judgment and the Department of Justice launched an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. While SCOTUS has remained conservative about meddling in lower court battles in a post NYSRPA v. Bruen U.S., in this instance, they did administratively stay the judgement until August 4, 2023.


The case, at the SCOTUS level is number 23-10718 and known as Merrick B. Garland, Attorney General, et al., Applicants v. Jennifer Vanderstok, et al. On July 27th, 2023, current Attorney General Garland, an individual who failed to make it to the Supreme Court, put in the bid to the high court to intervene.

Second Amendment advocacy groups are involved in the litigation, with the Second Amendment Foundation pledging to oppose the stay request that ultimately did get issued.

The Second Amendment Foundation and its attorney, Chad Flores, are preparing a response to an application to the U.S. Supreme Court by the Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to stay a ruling which vacated the “final rule” defining gun parts kits as firearms in a case known as VanDerStok v. Garland.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor handed down the ruling, and the government wants a stay pending appeal to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. SAF was allowed to intervene in the case. Earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit refused to stay portions of the rule SAF successfully challenged, pending appeal. Issues which SAF did not challenge when it intervened in the case were granted a stay.

Regardless of the current administrative stay, which Justice Alito ordered Friday, the permanence of Garland’s “victory” might be short lived, as the high court wants answers by August 2nd.

Order issued by Justice Alito: Upon consideration of the application of counsel for the applicants, it is ordered that the June 30, 2023 order and July 5, 2023 final judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, case No. 4:22-cv-691, are hereby administratively stayed until 5 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, August 4, 2023. It is further ordered that any response to the application be filed on or before Wednesday, August 2, 2023, by 5 p.m. (EDT).


The case, while it might seem to be about guns and gun stuff – which it is – but is also about a larger concept that liberty lovers are also fed up with dealing with…our larger than life government. The ATF is and has been participating in gross executive overreach and the frames and receiver rule is just one element of a broader set of illegal moves the agency – and other agencies – has taken.

In a statement about challenging the stay, SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb said, “This case ultimately challenges the authority of the ATF to simply change rules and definitions of firearms without Congressional authority.” Gottlieb doubled down on his convictions noting, “We will vigorously pursue this issue through the courts.”

Adam Kraut, the Executive Director of SAF also weighed in on the issue:

“The Fifth Circuit last week issued a ruling which declined to stay our successful challenge during this appeal,” SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut recalled. “We expect to prevail on the portions of the Final Rule that we challenged, which the government wants to enforce while this case winds its way through the courts, despite the fact that the court found ATF had not demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits, which bodes well for SAF and its members.”

Gottlieb and Kraut’s statements came just hours prior to Justice Alito’s order, however Gottlieb noted that filing was probable within the next week – considering the current deadline, we can assume so. “The government is saying that a kit to make a firearm should be treated the same as a firearm, and that an incomplete firearm is also a firearm,” Gottlieb noted. “Their position is simply nonsense.”


Given the schedule laid out by Alito, hopefully we’ll get a substantial ruling sooner than later. The fact that SCOTUS actually stepped in at this level could be a shock given their former apprehension to get involved in how the lower courts are ruling on cases involving arms, however, this is a situation involving the federal government, and we can’t be too surprised by the semi-preferential treatment. To be fair to all involved, the timeline is rather aggressive and, in my opinion, a good thing.

The sidebar to all of this is that either way the case goes, Biden and his ilk win politically, and they have less skin in the game. Either there’s a victory in optics or a win via an improbable ruling in their favor. The communist regime will be able to lean on more talking points about an alleged rogue Supreme Court, and how the administration is doing everything in their power to combat so-called gun violence. Just that pesky court keeps messing things up, while we simultaneously see mainstream media continuing to build the case there’s been some sort of judicial malfeasance in some of the justices’ behaviors.

How this is all going to shake out fully is hard to tell, but the high court does seem willing and ready to tell the government when they’ve drifted out of bounds. The government’s bid to the Supreme Court seemed a bit cavalier in the first place, but Biden’s DOJ is in for a penny, might as well be in for a pound. This could make the exact splash the pinkos want to see. The frame and receivers case is just one of many areas that three letter agencies are well deserving of some serious spankings. Let’s hope we hear Garland yelling “uncle” before long.


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