Judge Declares NRA Members Exempt from New Rule

(IntegrityPress.org) – In a ruling made Friday March 29, U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay found in favor of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and forbade the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agency (ATF) from enforcing a ban on pistol braces against NRA members.

The ATF introduced the ban in January 2023 when it claimed that a pistol brace, a device that can be strapped to the gun user’s arm in order to stabilize the firing hand and allow single-handed use of a handgun, transformed a pistol into a short-barreled rifle. This meant that any owner of a pistol brace would need to apply for, and be given, a federal license for the device, or otherwise turn in or destroy the device. The change in category meant longer waiting periods, higher costs, and more regulation for gun owners, and failure to comply could result in a 10-year prison sentence, a $10,000 fine, or both. The ATF claimed that the new rule would “enhance public safety” as short-barreled rifles could be more easily concealed than their long-barreled equivalent, yet had similar capabilities.

The NRA, which filed its lawsuit on July 3, 2023, called the rule, “unconstitutional”, and observed that the changes would negatively impact disabled NRA members, including many veterans. Judge Lindsay, who was appointed in 1998 by Democrat then-President Bill Clinton, agreed with the NRA that the rule was a breach of constitutional rights. Setting out his ruling in the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Lindsay argued that the ban did not pass the “logical outgrowth test” of the Administrative Procedure Act, and so the ATF had effectively overstepped its boundaries in the creation of its brace ban. The judge explained that in his view, the NRA’s five million members would be irreparably harmed by the enforcement of this rule.

The appeals process is ongoing, but the NRA President Charles Cotton called this latest step, a “major victory”, and promised to keep fighting the Biden administration’s “unlawful measure”.

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