Judge Gives NRA Hall Pass on ATF's Idiotic Rule

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

The ATF decided, at the urging of President Joe Biden, to reclassify pistol braces. Whereas they once could go on AR pistols and not change the nature of the weapon, the new rule says that it does. If you have a pistol brace on your pistol, you have a short-barreled rifle, or SBR.


No one should be surprised at how quickly the move was met with lawsuits. Currently, members of a number of groups are essentially exempt from the regulation.

Well, earlier this week, a judge ruled that members of the biggest gun rights group of them all are now exempt as well.

A Democratic-appointed judge recently barred a federal agency from enforcing a pistol brace rule for millions of members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) as the appeals process continues.

U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1998, sided with the gun rights group in a ruling handed down on Friday. Last year, the NRA filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which argued that the agency's measure introduced last year to reclassify the pistols equipped with braces as short-barreled rifles is unconstitutional.

The federal judge said in the ruling that the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had already concluded that the ATF's pistol-brace rule "fails the logical outgrowth test and violates" the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and is "unlawful" under the act, which dictates the process in which federal agencies develop and issue regulations.

Lindsay also agreed with the NRA's argument that its members would face irreparable harm under the new ATF pistol-brace rule.

"Compliance with the Final Rule is not discretionary, and the NRA's members face severe penalties for their failure to comply with the Final Rule," Lindsay wrote in the ruling. "Accordingly, both of the final requirements for injunctive relief are satisfied because the threatened injury to the NRA's members outweighs the threatened harm to the Defendants, and enforcement of the Final Rule under the circumstances will not disserve the public interest."

The judge's order prohibits the ATF from "enforcing the Final Rule against the NRA's members pending the final resolution of this action on the merits."


I see two big takeaways here.

The first is that while the NRA has lost membership in recent years, it's still a massive organization with millions of members. As of this ruling, all of those members were exempt from a particularly idiotic rule that likely will find itself overturned in due course.

The next is that this is a left-leaning judge, which doesn't automatically make him anti-gun, but it does suggest the strong possibility that he is. Despite that, he found absolutely no way to rule in favor of a left-leaning administration and its anti-gun desires.

And yes, I think he actually looked pretty hard for one.

Instead, he ruled in favor of the NRA, which bodes very well for the cases going forward. If this judge couldn't find a way around the law to benefit the anti-gun government, what hope is there of convincing six pro-gun justices on the Supreme Court to rule in the government's favor?

The words "slim" and "none" come into play right about here.

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