In August, the National Association for Gun Rights sued the ever-overreaching ATF over it’s regulation of forced reset triggers. NAGR’s case is constructed very much along the same lines as Michael Cargill’s successful argument in Cargill v. Garland regarding bump stocks. Namely, that ATF had overstepped its authority under the Administrative Procedures Act to reinterpret legislation and abused its regulatory power by arbitrarily and capriciously redefining forced reset triggers as machine guns.
NAGR asked the court for a preliminary injunction protecting those who make and own legally purchased FRTs…at least until the case can be fully argued and decided.
As United States District Court Judge Reed O’Connor wrote . . .
Without immediate relief, Plaintiffs fear civil and criminal prosecution. For those reasons, among others, Plaintiffs are suing various government officers and entities—the Attorney General of the United States, the DOJ, the ATF, and the Director of the ATF (collectively, the “Defendants”)—over the ATF’s newly broadened definition and implementation of the machinegun regulation.
In the instant action, Plaintiffs bring an APA challenge to the validity of Defendants’ interpretation of the “machinegun” definition. According to Plaintiffs, this definition is unlawful because “Defendants’ interpretation of the law and their specific actions to threaten and potentially initiate enforcement actions against Plaintiffs are thus arbitrary, capricious, and otherwise contrary to law.”
To protect the status quo during the pendency of the lawsuit, Plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing or otherwise implementing the novel definition until the Court is able to rule on the merits. Such relief is available under the Court’s inherent equitable powers and pursuant to statutory authorization under 5 U.S.C. § 705.
Exactly. And given Fifth Circuit case law, Judge O’Connor concluded that . . .
…Plaintiffs contend that the ATF’s regulation broadening the machinegun definition is an arbitrary and capricious expansion of the agency’s authority. Plaintiffs are likely correct. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have carried their burden at this stage to show that the expanded definition of machinegun likely exceeds the scope of ATF’s statutory authority. Therefore, Plaintiffs have satisfied “arguably the most important” of the four factors [justifying a preliminary injunction].
Yesterday he issued a preliminary injunction blocking the ATF from enforcing its redefinition against NAGR, its members, Texas Gun Rights and its members, Rare Breed Triggers and its customers. You can read the full order here.