Federal Judge Halts Biden's 'Pistol Brace' Ban - For Now

P. Gardner Goldsmith | November 12, 2023
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In a positive move that can remind Americans of how easy it is for politicians to repeat errant terms and perpetuate self-claimed, unjust “power” over us, a federal judge just blocked the ATF from enforcing its so-called “arm brace ban” on any and all owners of the braces.

Ruling for the US District Court in Northern Texas, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, walked a similar path as the Fifth Circuit Court did in August, but expanded his ruling to apply not just to the plaintiffs in the immediate case (which was how the Fifth Circuit ruled), but to all owners of the braces.

As Jordan Boyd reports for The Federalist that the unilateral move by Biden and his flagrantly unconstitutional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF or ATF) used the sorcery of government to claim that attaching a forearm brace to a pistol turned it into a “short-barreled rifle” aka, an “SBR”:

“The ATF’s rule, enacted earlier this year, sought to jail and fine any of the estimated 40 million U.S. pistol brace owners who refused to reclassify their weapons as short barrel rifles, which require registration with the government and a $200 tax stamp, or destroy the pistol brace. Gun owners in the 21 states with SBR bans were forced to choose between relinquishing their weapons or destroying their pistol brace-equipped firearms to avoid penalty and punishment.”

The pistol brace often is used by older people or those who might have injuries that make it hard for them to hold their pistol with the degree of stability they desire. Regardless of the reason, of course, and regardless of what this federal government or any government says about a non-gun attachment, the feds have no constitutional or moral authority to “ban” an item, and by claiming the brace turns a pistol into a rifle, the ATF actually adds Second Amendment protection to the ownership of the brace.

And the Biden ATF move calls to our attention the brilliant-as-sunshine fact that no government “authority” is supposed to demand that we get a “license” for any firearm.

As Boyd notes, in August, the Fifth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a different case and different set of plaintiffs. That court, too, shot down the ban, but only blocked ATF enforcement against the plaintiffs who filed that suit. The new decision, coming in the case of “Britto et. al. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms,” sees the judge issue an injunction against ANY enforcement of the pistol brace “ban.”

“The plaintiffs in Britto v. ATF, ‘three decorated Marine veterans’ represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), argued that the rule violates the Second Amendment and should be rendered ‘void for vagueness.’

Kacsmaryk agreed. He also noted that the rule would also place undue financial burden on not just gun owners but pistol brace manufacturers.

‘Additionally, ATF admits the 10-year cost of the Rule is over one billion dollars,’ he wrote. ‘And because of the Rule, certain manufacturers that obtain most of their sales from stabilizing braces risk having to close their doors for good.’”

But, despite what appears to be a momentarily positive position for brace owners and for people who understand and respect the right to self-defense, Kacsmaryk followed the Fifth Circuit in making a profound error on the most fundamental level.

Related: Alabama Nullifies Biden Anti-Gun Exec Orders | MRCTV

As with the earlier ruling in the Appeals Court, Judge Kacsmaryk simply ruled that the “process” for establishing the ban was not “legal” – meaning that it was imposed through Executive Order, rather than by legislation from Congress.

Observes Boyd:

“The judge claimed ‘the Court is certainly sympathetic to ATF’s concerns over public safety in the wake of tragic mass shootings’ but noted that ‘public safety concerns must be addressed in ways that are lawful.’”

Which erroneously hints that mass shootings can be stopped through additional government prohibitions against the legal and moral ability of civilians to be able to defend themselves, and, moreover, implies that if Congress had passed a pistol brace ban, then it would be perfectly acceptable.

No such thing is true.

Likewise, the existence of the ATF as a “banning” agency is unconstitutional, to say the least. The history of the ATF goes back to the passage of the 1934 National Firearms Act, which was a tax on “machine guns” set so high as to practically ban them. In fact, it goes back to 1886, and the then-created “Revenue Laboratory” at the Department of Internal Revenue (to collect taxes, of course), and even farther in time, to 1794 and the revelation that, despite the US Constitution allowing the feds to impose an “excise tax” on items domestically made and sold in the country, the rulebook for the national government actually did not provide for a method to collect such a tax. This led to the federal government sending a force bigger than the Army of the Potomac to attack whiskey makers in western Pennsylvania who refused to pay the tax.

As it always is with government, the politicians claim the legal monopoly on the use of aggressive violence, then point their government guns at the productive, peaceful populace. It has been part of the metastatic growth of the US government since the moment that centralizers like Alexander Hamilton plotted to replace, and succeeded to replace, the Articles of Confederation with the US Constitution.

But people such as James Madison fought for the Bill of Rights to rightly and flatly proscribe certain activities by the federal and state governments. The banning of items – especially firearms – and the “registration” or “background check” or “licensing” systems these officious thugs in government adore are all expressly prohibited by the Second Amendment.

Meaning that the ATF is, as my friend Glenn Jacobs (former pro-wrestler and current Mayor of Knox Country, TN) observed in a recent tweet, an affront to that Amendment.

It shouldn’t take a judge much time or energy to acknowledge that, and, thus far, the judges involved in these decisions have not done so, despite the superficially appealing results of their decisions.

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