The Second Amendment Foundation and Connecticut Citizens Defense League have filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in federal court after a new rule published by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on firearms designation threatens thousands of Constitution State citizens with serious legal jeopardy.
The new rule, published Jan. 31, reclassified firearms previously designated as “any other firearm” or simply “other” are now considered “rifles.” As a result, these guns are now in violation of Connecticut gun laws. The case is known as Grant, et al. v. Lamont, et al. Gov. Edward Lamont is the primary defendant.
“When ATF published its new rule, redesignating a class of firearms known as ‘any other firearm’ or simply ‘others’ as either ‘rifles’ or ‘short barreled rifles’ depending on the barrel length, all of those guns suddenly fell within the state’s definition of an assault weapon,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “This immediately put thousands of owners of previously-classified ‘other’ firearms in harm’s way legally because now their possession is a felony.”
“This re-classification,” added SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, who is a practicing attorney, “is a textbook example of the harm which can be caused by an arbitrary change of rules and definitions making legally-purchased firearms suddenly illegal, turning their owners into criminals, essentially by the stroke of a pen. We’re asking the court to step in to prevent a legal nightmare for thousands of Connecticut citizens.”
In a news release, Holly Sullivan, president of the Connecticut group, said the plaintiffs “along with tens of thousands of other good, law-abiding Connecticut residents, suddenly find themselves facing possible felony charges, all of which could have disastrous implications for them, their families, their careers, and their standing in the community.”
“Until (last) Tuesday,” she said, “the firearms at issue were entirely lawful, owned by people who may now face detrimental personal damage due to state laws that are not only unclear and virtually impossible to comply with, but also in blatant and direct violation of the Connecticut and U.S. Constitutions.”
“ATF’s rule change, which became effective immediately, egregiously placed thousands of law-abiding Connecticut gun owners on the wrong side of the law, through no fault or action of their own,” Gottlieb observed. “That may be okay in a police state, but not the United States, and we’re asking the court to move swiftly in order to prevent a horrible injustice.”
The motions were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.