BELLEVUE, WA – The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an order granting a motion by plaintiffs in the battle over the reclassification of frames and receivers to issue the court’s mandate immediately, allowing the case to return to the district court for a new remedy.
The Fifth Circuit panel ruled that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Final Rule is illegal. Circuit Judge Kurt D. Englehardt wrote, “An agency cannot label conduct lawful one day and felonious the next—yet that is exactly what ATF accomplishes through its Final Rule. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED to the extent it holds unlawful the two challenged portions of the Final Rule, and VACATED and REMANDED as to the remedy.” The case is known as VanDerStok v. Garland.
“As we noted when the ruling came down, the ATF clearly exceeded its authority by arbitrarily changing the rules,” said Alan M. Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, which intervened as a plaintiff in the case. “By granting our motion to issue the mandate immediately, the Fifth Circuit ruling allows us to return to the district court for a new remedy ruling right away, as opposed to weeks or months from now. The Fifth Circuit’s ruling sends a message to the agency and the Biden administration that its animosity toward gun owners and the Second Amendment does not empower the executive branch to change the law on a whim.”
SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut said Circuit Judge Kurt D. Englehardt’s ruling chastising the ATF for attempting to do the job of Congress “sent a message to the agency to stay in its own lane.”
As noted by Judge Engelhardt in the ruling, “Only Congress may make the deliberate and reasoned decision to enact new or modified legislation regarding firearms based on the important policy concerns put forth by ATF and the various amici here. But unless and until Congress so acts to expand or alter the language of the Gun Control Act, ATF must operate within the statutory text’s existing limits.”