ATF's new pistol brace ban challenged in court

ATF's new pistol brace ban challenged in court
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The ATF decided pistol braces had to go.

We all know this is nonsense and shouldn’t be permitted, but as the law is currently written, not complying may well land you in prison with a felony conviction, thus negating your right to keep and bear arms for a good long while, if not eternally.

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So that means the ban needs to be challenged, which we all knew was coming.

Well, it’s here.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Texas, challenges the move to treat the guns like short-barreled rifles, a weapon like a sawed-off shotgun that has been heavily regulated since the 1930s.

The case against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives argues that millions of people have guns with the braces and use them to make firing “more accurate, and therefore safer.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three veterans by the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and comes as the new federal rule takes effect Tuesday. They argue in the lawsuit that the new ATF rule forces owners into “unthinkable choices” of removing the brace, submitting to a national registry or opening themselves up to possible charges.

“The new rule unlawfully usurps Congressional authority by significantly expanding the definition of ‘rifle’ under federal law and, with it, imposes potential criminal liability on millions of Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights,” the lawsuit argues. A decade ago, the ATF found that the braces did not make guns similar to short-barreled rifles.

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The truth is that pistol braces do benefit disabled shooters a great deal and now many of them will be forced to make a decision that I don’t envy them one bit.

And it shouldn’t be the case.

Now things roll to the courts, and that’s where things might get interesting.

You see, thanks to Bruen, it’s unlikely the pistol brace ban will survive. However, the truth is that the ban on short-barreled rifles wouldn’t survive, either.

Using the text and history approach outlined in that decision, one would be hard-pressed to find an 18th-century law that bars firearms under a certain length. It’s just not likely to happen and we all know it.

So, don’t be surprised to see this challenge go in interesting directions that go well beyond whether or not the ATF can actually regulate away such braces.

But, to be frank, I’d love to see them lose that regulatory authority for good. No one should be OK with bureaucrats deciding what is legal and what isn’t. While those bureaucrats will always have some power to interpret the law, the ATF goes beyond that. They literally decide what is legal and what isn’t.

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What’s more, as we see with pistol braces, they’re more than willing to change their minds well after the fact, thus depriving people of property purchased in good faith with the understanding that it was, in fact, lawful to own such things and an understanding that things would remain so.

This court case is going to be interesting, at least from this layman’s perspective. I can’t wait to see how things turn out.

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