When SIG SAUER introduced the MPX (their 9mm MP5 replacement), the plan was to have a long “muzzle brake” permanently attached to the end of the barrel to produce a “rifle” variant for civilian sales. The gun doesn’t run with long barrels, so it was the only viable solution to allow people to use a stock on their MPX. But there was also a trick: the muzzle brake could be turned into the baffle stack for a silencer by purchasing a proprietary shroud that only SIG can produce, which is legally registered as a silencer, and then affixing it to the gun. The ATF didn’t like that and classified the whole thing as a silencer, even the bare muzzle brake. SIG called bullshit and sued the ATF. Now it looks like that lawsuit is on hold, pending a re-examination . . .
While I’d love nothing more than to see the ATF taken to the judicial woodshed, second place is still good enough. In this case second place is that the ATF rescinds their classification and the MPX with a gigantic muzzle brake goes on sale as planned. According to SeaCoastOnline.com, it looks like SIG SAUER has agreed to put its lawsuit on hold while the ATF gets a chance to re-consider their position and decide if they would rather back down or be beaten in court.
By agreement, approved by the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire, Sig will “stay” it’s lawsuit against the ATF until Sept. 17. In the meantime, both sides agree, Sig will send the ATF a sample of its muzzle brake for review and the ATF will issue a ruling, its third, by Aug. 6.
Faced with the federal lawsuit, which also names U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as a defendant, the U.S. Attorney’s office notified Sig that it would reconsider its two prior decisions that call Sig’s muzzle brake an item “intended only for use” when making a silencer. The ATF asked the federal court to give it time to “review the matter and issue a new decision,” according to court records.
Terms of an agreement, filed with the federal court, say that if the ATF’s decision is agreeable to Sig, the Newington firearms manufacturer “will have obtained the relive sought without further litigation,” If the ATF again rules that Sig’s product is a silencer component, the federal civil suit will proceed, according to the agreement approved by federal Judge Paul Barbadaro.
SIG will win this legal battle one way or another, its just a matter of time and money. Some of my sources are telling me that in the wake of the Abramski Supreme Court case, the ATF is feeling a bit more froggy and might be going after other technically legal business practices in the near future under the guise of “public safety,” but I’m betting they will try to avoid picking fights with better funded legal teams in the future.