BELLEVUE, WA—The Second Amendment Foundation is celebrating a ruling by a federal judge in Texas against Joe Biden’s ATF by vacating the agency’s “final rule” which treated unfinished frames and receivers the same as if they are functional firearms.
SAF was allowed to intervene in the case last December. The case is known as VanDerStok v. Garland.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor handed down the decision Friday, noting in his 38-page ruling that, “A part that has yet to be completed or converted to function as frame or receiver is not a frame or receiver. ATF’s declaration that a component is a ‘frame or receiver’ does not make it so if, at the time of evaluation, the component does not yet accord with the ordinary public meaning of those terms.”
Elsewhere, Judge O’Connor puts ATF on the spot by rejecting the government’s argument that it has previously taken action against a firearm component, thus it has regulatory authority over firearm parts. But the judge observes, “If these administrative records show, as Defendants contend, that ATF has previously regulated components that are not yet frames or receivers but could readily be converted into such items, then the historical practice does nothing more than confirm that the agency has, perhaps in multiple specific instances over several decades, exceeded the lawful bounds of its statutory jurisdiction. That the agency may have historically acted ultra vires does not convince the Court it should be permitted to continue the practice.”
“We are delighted with Judge O’Connor’s ruling, and it certainly underscores why we intervened in this case,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “This decision amounts to another court blow to Joe Biden’s anti-gun agenda, which threatens the very Constitution he swore to uphold and defend when he took office.”
“This case is one more example of the Biden administration’s ongoing effort to exceed its authority in an effort to place as many restrictions as possible on the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” added SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “We are pleased the court took this decisive action, and we will litigate this issue to finality, if and when, the government appeals.”