The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) can’t enforce President Joe Biden’s ban on pistol-brace-equipped guns.
That’s the result of a ruling from a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals released on Tuesday. The court issued a preliminary injunction against Biden’s brace ban in Mock v. Garland. The scope of the order may be limited to the named plaintiffs in the case, which was brought by two individual plaintiffs and the gun-rights group Firearms Policy Coalition.
“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Appellants’ Opposed Motion For a Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal is GRANTED as to the Plaintiffs in this case,” the court wrote.
The gun-rights group called the ruling a “huge victory,” but said it wants clarification on the scope of the injunction.
“We are very excited and encouraged by the Fifth Circuit’s decision this morning,” Cody J. Wisniewski, Senior Attorney for Constitutional Litigation at FPC Action Foundation, said in a statement. “We intend to ask the Court for additional information about who is covered under the injunction, but cannot stress enough just how important this decision is.”
The panel also expidited the schedule for hearing the merits of the case, but didn’t provide any explanation of the ruling.
The injunction means that when the grace period for registering guns that the ATF now considers short-barrel rifles, which must be registered under the National Firearms Act of 1934, the agency won’t be able to arrest anyone over possession of those unregistered guns. The deadline for registering those guns, which includes millions of pistol-brace-equipped firearms, is set for the end of the month. Now, brace owners will receive a temporary reprieve as the case continues to be litigated.
The ruling represents another blow to President Biden’s gun policy agenda. A federal judge also recently blocked his attempt to ban the sale of unfinished gun parts by reclassifying them as equivalent to functioning guns. And multiple courts have also blocked former president Donald Trump’s (R.) bump stock ban, which used much of the same legal reasoning Biden has relied on for his executive actions.
The panel scheduled the hearing on the merits of the pistol-brace case for the “next available Oral Argument Calendar.”
Erik Longnecker, Deputy Chief of the ATF’s Public Affairs Division, said the agency couldn’t speak about the ruling and directed people to the rule for further details on compliance.
“ATF is unable to comment on this litigation related to short-barreled rifles,” he told The Reload.
Other gun-rights advocates celebrated the ruling, but said more action is needed. Gun Owners of America, which filed an amicus breif supporting the plaintiffs, called on Congress to block the ATF rule.
“This injunction is welcome news, but due to it’s limited nature, we still need Congress to act before the June 1st deadline,” Aidan Johnsotn, the group’s Director of Federal Affairs, said in a statement.
UPDATE 2:50 PM EASTERN: This piece has been updated with further details on the scope of the ruling. We have also added comment from the ATF, Firearms Policy Coalition, and Gun Owners of America.