BREAKING: District Court Vacates Biden Pistol Brace Final Rule

by Tommy Grant

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A U.S. District Court in Texas has ruled that the Biden Justice Department’s Final Rule redefining braced pistols as “short-barreled rifles” violates the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) so is therefore unconstitutional.

In the lawsuit Mock v. Garland, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor granted summary judgment in favor of the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and its co-plaintiffs and issued a final judgment and order vacating the DOJ/ATF rule.

At issue wasn’t the constitutionality of the Final Rule under the Second Amendment, but the fact that the APA forbids bureaucratic agencies from making laws, which is the purview of a duly elected Congress. The district court ruled that the DOJ and ATF have no such power.

“The Defendants’ disregard for the principles of fair notice and consideration of reliance interests is further exacerbated by its failure to follow the APA’s procedural requirements for public notice and comment,” the ruling states. “As discussed above, Defendants failed to follow proper notice-and-comment procedures because the Proposed Rule and the Final Rule differed in immense ways.”

In the end, the court ruled the federal government didn’t have a legitimate leg to stand on in its defense of the Final Rule.

“The proper remedy for a finding that an agency failed to comply with the APA’s procedural requirements is vacatur of the unlawful agency action,” the ruling further stated. “In this case, vacatur is appropriate given the Court’s conclusion that Defendants’ adoption of the Final Rule violated the APA’s procedural requirements. An illegitimate agency action is void ab initio and therefore cannot be remanded as there is nothing for the agency to justify.”

For its part, FPC, a plaintiff in the case, was happy, although not at all surprised, at the court’s ruling.

“The Biden Administration’s ATF hates us so much that it lawlessly acted to run millions of gun owners into felons, but FPC and our members ran toward the fire and defeated this evil,” FPC President Brandon Combs said in a release announcing the action. “Today’s order shows that our community can take on an immoral government and win.”

Combs added that with an appeal very likely in the case, his organization refuses to back down.

“FPC members should be proud of what was accomplished today,” he said. “We look forward to defending this victory on appeal and up to the Supreme Court, just as we have in other cases.”

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