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5th Circuit Denies ATF’s Request to Stay Decision Throwing Out its Ban on ‘Ghost Guns’


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(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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Another defeat for Biden’s war on guns always gets the week off to a good start. On July 1, a Federal District Judge threw out the ATF’s “frame and receiver” that bans so-called ghost guns. The ATF asked the Fifth Circuit to stay the District Judge’s order, allowing them to enforce the ban while the case is being decided. Today, the Fifth Circuit told the ATF to pound sand.

You can read today’s ruling here, but in a nutshell, the court ruled that . . .

Because the ATF has not demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits, nor irreparable harm in the absence of a stay, we DENY the government’s request to stay the vacatur of the two challenged portions of the Rule. “[V]acatur . . . reestablish[es] the status quo ante,” Defense Distributed v. Platkin, 55 F.4th 486, 491 (5th Cir. 2022), which is the world before the Rule became effective. This effectively maintains, pending appeal, the status quo that existed for 54 years from 1968 to 2022.

While the ATF is likely to appeal further, the Firearms Policy Coalition couldn’t be happier. Here’s their announcement of the win . . .

Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and FPC Action Foundation (FPCAF) announced that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the federal government’s attempt to completely stay the district court’s decision in VanDerStok v. Garland, which vacated ATF’s unlawful “frame or receiver” rule. This decision, which the Fifth Circuit stayed for 10 days, prevents ATF from enforcing the rule’s “regulatory definitions of ‘frame or receiver’ and ‘firearm’ as applied to the Gun Control Act of 1968,” while allowing the (non-challenged) remainder of the rule to be enforced while ATF appeals the district court Order. The Fifth Circuit’s Order can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.

“Because the ATF has not demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits, nor irreparable harm in the absence of a stay, we DENY the government’s request to stay the vacatur of the two challenged portions of the Rule,” stated the Court in its order. “‘[V]acatur . . . reestablish[es] the status quo ante,’… which is the world before the Rule became effective. This effectively maintains, pending appeal, the status quo that existed for 54 years from 1968 to 2022.”

“We’re elated that the Fifth Circuit has seen through ATF’s unpersuasive arguments and has determined that ATF failed to show it is likely to win on appeal,” said Cody J. Wisniewski, FPCAF’s Senior Attorney of Constitutional Litigation and FPC’s counsel in this case. “ATF lost at the district court and has now lost its first bite at the Fifth Circuit; we look forward to continuing to win against ATF’s unlawful and unconstitutional gun control regime.”

Plaintiffs in this case are two individuals, Tactical Machining, LLC, and FPC. FPCAF represents the Plaintiffs, alongside Mountain States Legal Foundation.

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