The Second Amendment Foundation and its allies have filed an amended complaint challenging the Biden administration’s new “arm brace” rule issued recently by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The amended complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. The case is known as SAF, et.al. v. ATF, et. al.
Joining SAF in the action are Rainier Arms, LLC and two private citizens, Samuel Walley and William Green. They are represented by attorney Chad Flores at Beck Redden LLP of Houston, Texas. It alleges violations of the Administrative Procedures Act, the Second Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Defendants are the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Director Steve Dettelbach, the Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.
The arm brace ruling has ignited a furious reaction among gun owners who see this as one more effort by the Biden administration to infringe on the rights of law-abiding—and in this case many disabled—citizens. It also amounts to doing a complete turnaround on an earlier position that has been in place for several years.
“The Biden administration’s new ‘arm brace rule’ is a marked departure from the ATF’s previous position about whether pistols with arm braces are legally considered pistols,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “This dramatic shift in policy leads us to conclude the president, through his agency directors, is moving to change the definition of pistols fitted with these braces to be ‘rifles,’ and thus subject to the National Firearms Act. In so doing, the administration has turned millions of law-abiding pistol owners into criminals who suddenly own guns now defined as ‘short-barreled rifles.’ This is unconscionable.”
SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, on the job for only a few months, is a practicing attorney and sees this as another signal that the Biden administration is weaponizing government agencies in a crusade against gun owners.
“Joe Biden is continuing to use ATF as a means to circumvent Congress,” Kraut observed, “and this new rule is his administration’s latest attempt. He has been obsessed with banning guns and criminalizing gun owners ever since he arrived on Capitol Hill fifty years ago. In the process, he is causing irreparable financial harm to firearms retailers, which to this administration must seem like an added benefit.”
Gottlieb and Kraut both note the Administrative Procedures Act requires courts to “hold unlawful and set aside agency action, findings, and conclusions” that are found to be “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”
SAF has been actively battling the government’s stepped-up actions against guns for many months. Last November, SAF filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging the federal government’s new regulatory definition of a firearm, including the frame or receiver.
Noting that the government has set May 31 as the compliance deadline for its new arm brace rule, Gottlieb said his group is asking the court to act promptly, well in advance of the deadline, “to prevent what amounts to a constitutional travesty.”