BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation and its partners in a lawsuit challenging a Connecticut gun control law have filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order because a new rule published by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on firearms designation places thousands of Constitution State citizens in serious legal jeopardy.
SAF is joined by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and three private citizens, Jennifer Hamilton, Michael Stiefel and Eddie Grant, Jr. They are represented by Connecticut attorneys Doug Dubitsky of North Windham, Craig C. Fishbein of Wallingford and Cameron L. Atkinson of Harwinton.
“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.”
SAF and its partners filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, and a memorandum in support of their motion. In the memorandum, they say the Court “should find that the change in federal law has placed the Plaintiffs at the likely and extreme risk of being subject to the heavy burden of criminal prosecutions as felons under politically motivated Connecticut law with no prior notice and in violation of their Second Amendment rights.”
“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.”