Federal Court Vacates ATF Rule Redefining a Frame or Receiver

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A federal district judge in Texas ruled on June 30, 2023, that the ATF’s administrative rule which substantially expanded the Congressional phrase “frame or receiver,” was unconstitutional and “vacated” the rule. See, Vanderstok, et al. v. Blackhawk Manufacturing Group, et al. v. Merrick Garland, et al. 4:22-cv-00691-O (N. D. Texas June 30, 2023).

The ATF’s “frame and receiver” regulation was a direct attack on rights protected by the Second Amendment. Further, it was a violation of the separation of powers doctrine because a federal agency was attempting to materially alter and expand the definition of a term that Congress had included in the Gun Control Act of 1968.

The district court introduced the issue and summarized its conclusion in this introductory statement:

This case presents the question of whether the federal government may lawfully regulate partially manufactured firearm components, related firearm products, and other tools and materials in keeping with the Gun Control Act of 1968. Because the Court concludes that the government cannot regulate those items without violating federal law, the Court holds that the government’s recently enacted Final Rule, Definition of “Frame or Receiver” and Identification of Firearms, 87 Fed. Reg. 24,652 (codified at 27 C.F.R. pts. 447, 478, and 479), is unlawful agency action taken in excess of the ATF’s statutory jurisdiction. On this basis, the Court vacates the Final Rule.
Vanderstok, p. 3

This kind of litigation would never have been required if Congress, and those in control of Congress, would have honored their constitutional oaths and taken action, long before now, to either limit the abuses of the DOJ and the ATF and/or simply eliminated the ATF entirely, which many citizens would champion since the agency’s purpose exists nowhere among the enumerated powers set forth in the Constitution.

This kind of litigation is one of the reasons that the Tennessee Firearms Association has increasingly invested efforts and money, significant amounts of money if litigating 2nd Amendment issues in Tennessee and nationally. If you want to support efforts like this, please consider joining the Tennessee Firearms Association as a member. If you are already a member, please consider making regular supplemental donations to help TFA fund its increasing litigation program.

It is also one of the reasons that the Tennessee Firearms Foundation was formed in May 2023 and which it will pursue further once the IRS reviews and hopefully grants the TFF charitable status as a 501(c)(3) entity. Although that entity is not soliciting funds prior to IRS action on its application for charitable 501(c)(3) status, you can look forward to the day that its charitable status is hopefully approved.

About Tennessee Firearms Association:

The Tennessee Firearms Association is dedicated to defending the right to keep and bear arms and promoting the responsible use, ownership, and carrying of firearms.

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