The Firearms Policy Coalition recently had a major victory in Federal court. On June 30, a Federal Judge in the Northern District of Texas struck down the ATF ruling that an 80 percent receiver is a firearm, and the order applies nationwide: the case is VanDerStok v. Garland. The judgement was final on July 5.
Last year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued a new rule that improperly defined a range of inert objects as “firearms.” This new definition of “firearm” contradicted the text of the federal Gun Control Act. With this effort to rewrite federal regulations, the Biden administration tried to redefine tens of thousands of individuals into criminals. The FPC sued, arguing that the rule was illegal. The winning argument was that the ATF exceeded its authority.
On June 30th, Judge Reed O’Connor of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued an order granting summary judgment in favor of the FPC and gun owners. This is a huge step forward. There will be an appeal from the ATF.
During the case, briefs were filed in support of the ATF by California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington. So there is your complete list of the 18 anti-freedom states.
On the freedom side of things, the FPC was joined by Defense Distributed, the Second Amendment Foundation, and Blackhawk Manufacturing (doing business as 80 percent arms). For now, it’s time to celebrate a major victory on behalf of the Constitution and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Read some of Judge O’Connor’s concluding words in his opinion (note: “defendants” refers to the ATF):
In sum, there is a legal distinction between a weapon parts kit, which may be an aggregation of partially manufactured parts not subject to the agency’s regulatory authority, and a “weapon” which “may readily be completed [or] assembled . . . to expel a projectile.” Defendants contend that drawing such a distinction will produce the absurd result whereby a person lawfully prohibited from possessing a firearm can obtain the necessary components and, given advances in technology, self-manufacture a firearm with relative ease and efficiency. Even if it is true that such an interpretation creates loopholes that as a policy matter should be avoided, it not the role of the judiciary to correct them. That is up to Congress. And until Congress enacts a different statute, the Court is bound to enforce the law as written.
I agree. It is time to stop these bureaucrats from becoming a de facto legislative body.