Fifth Circuit Strikes Down Pistol Brace Ban

June 13, 2024

New Orleans, LA — In a significant win for gun owners and Second Amendment advocates, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated the ATF’s pistol brace rule in the case of Mock v. Garland.

The court’s decision invalidates the ATF’s classification of pistols equipped with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles (SBRs) subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA). The ruling asserts that the ATF overstepped its authority in redefining these accessories, aligning with the court’s earlier injunction that safeguarded TXGR members from enforcement of the pistol brace ban.

This ruling was heavily influenced by the 2022 Bruen decision, which set a precedent that firearm regulations must be consistent with the historical understanding of the Second Amendment. The Bruen decision emphasized that any gun control measures must be deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition, a standard that the ATF’s pistol brace rule failed to meet.

Judge Smith, writing for the majority, highlighted that the pistol brace rule not only lacked historical precedent but also imposed undue burdens on law-abiding citizens. “The ATF’s rule arbitrarily redefines pistols equipped with stabilizing braces, infringing upon the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment,” Smith wrote. “Such regulations must be grounded in historical context, as outlined by the Supreme Court in Bruen.”

The implications of this ruling extend far beyond the specific issue of pistol braces. By reinforcing the historical standard set by Bruen, the Fifth Circuit’s decision strengthens the legal foundation for challenging other contemporary gun control measures that lack historical justification. This ruling could pave the way for further judicial scrutiny of federal and state-level firearm regulations, leading to more victories for Second Amendment advocates.

“The Fifth Circuit’s ruling reaffirms that the ATF cannot arbitrarily redefine firearms and accessories to fit its gun control agenda” stated Chris McNutt, President of Texas Gun Rights.

While the ATF is likely to appeal the ruling, the ruling primsed TXGR to win its ongoing lawsuit against the ATF. “We can’t celebrate yet. Our efforts in the courtroom are not over, and we need continued support to make sure we make it all the way past the finish line.”

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