Federal Judge Blocks ATF “Dealer in Firearms” Rule in Texas

May 23, 2024

In a significant win for gun rights advocates, a federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the Biden Administration’s new “dealer in firearms” rule from taking effect in Texas.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, presiding in Amarillo, ruled in favor of the lawsuit brought forward by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, effectively halting the enforcement of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) rule, which was set to go into effect on Monday, May 20.

The controversial rule would have required many private individuals to obtain licenses and conduct background checks when selling firearms at gun shows and online, a move that gun rights groups argue infringes upon Second Amendment rights.

The restraining order also protects members of several gun rights organizations listed in the lawsuit.

“I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect,” Paxton said in a statement.

“This is a crucial first step in protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners in Texas and across the country,” said Chris McNutt, President of Texas Gun Rights.

The lawsuit contends that the ATF’s rule contradicts the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a 2022 law that expanded the category of gun sellers required to obtain licenses.

Judge Kacsmaryk agreed with the plaintiffs, noting that the rule failed to provide a statutory exemption for individuals buying or selling firearms for personal protection, thus rendering the statute’s safe harbor provision ineffective for the majority of gun owners.

“The absurdity that the statute’s safe harbor provision provides no safe harbor at all for the majority of gun owners is clear,” Kacsmaryk wrote in his ruling.

While this battle continues being fought in the court, it is critical gun owners and all members of congress support H.R. 6734, introduced by Representative Andrew Clyde, which utilizes a federal mechanism to overturn this draconian and unconstitutional Biden-ATF gun registration scheme at the Congressional level.

Gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment are urged to take action by contacting their representatives in Congress.

Contact Congress Now!

The temporary restraining order is a significant win, but the battle is ongoing. This case highlights the need to rein in and ultimately abolish the ATF, an agency that many believe operates with unchecked power and an unconstitutional mandate.

And by sending TXGR’s pre-written email to Congress, gun rights supporters can help build the momentum needed to do away with the ATF’s draconian rule — regardless of the outcome in court.

As the legal and legislative battles continue, the importance of grassroots efforts cannot be overstated. Gun owners must remain vigilant and proactive, working together to push back against federal overreach and protect their constitutional rights.