- ATF's rule on frames and receivers, which sought to regulate 80 percenters and ghost guns, was struck down as invalid.
- ATF appeals the decision to the fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Judge Reed O'Connor found that the ATF acted beyond its authority under the Gun Control Act of 1968.
- The decision vacates the rule and applies nationwide.
- ATF files an appeal and seeks to stay the judgment.
- The fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has been favorable to similar cases in the past.
- Supreme Court's decision on a similar case is pending.
The ATF's rule on frames and receivers has been struck down nationwide as invalid. The rule, which aimed to regulate 80 percenters and ghost guns, was recently challenged in a lawsuit called Vanderstock v Garland. The plaintiffs, FBC, sought a motion for summary judgment against the ATF, arguing that the rule was invalid under the Second Amendment. The federal district court judge, Reed O'Connor, initially granted a limited preliminary injunction against the ATF, finding that the rule was facially invalid under the text of the statute. Later, the judge expanded the preliminary injunction to protect other plaintiffs and their customers, as well as other companies that sought to intervene in the case. After losing the initial battle, the ATF appealed the granting of the limited injunctions to the fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
While the case was making its way through the fifth Circuit, the plaintiffs continued to seek a motion for summary judgment. A motion for summary judgment can resolve the entire case without going to trial, and both parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. Judge O'Connor recently issued a decision in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the ATF acted beyond its authority under the Gun Control Act of 1968. The judge stated that the ATF's rule on frames and receivers was inconsistent with the text of the statute, which did not define frame or receiver. Therefore, the judge vacated the rule in its entirety, leading to a nationwide vacator of the rule.
It is important to note that Judge O'Connor did not rule on the ultimate Second Amendment constitutionality of the rule. He based his decision on an administrative issue, arguing that the ATF overstepped its authority under the text of the statute. The decision does not change the status quo prior to the rule going into effect in August. The ATF has already appealed the prior injunctions granted by Judge O'Connor, and it is likely that the summary judgment appeal will be consolidated with those interlocutory appeals.
The ATF's appeal will be heard by the fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has been favorable to similar cases in the past. In a recent case, the fifth Circuit struck down the ATF's bump stock rule. The ultimate fate of the Vanderstock case will depend on the fifth Circuit's decision. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has a similar case, the Cargill case, pending before them. It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court will decide on the issue.
In conclusion, the ATF's rule on frames and receivers has been struck down as invalid, and the ATF has appealed the decision. The fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will review the case, and its decision will have significant implications. The Supreme Court's decision on a similar case is also pending. The outcome of these appeals will have a major impact on the regulation of firearms and the interpretation of the Second Amendment.