Armed Attorneys

Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order in FRT Litigation

Video Highlights

  • Temporary restraining order issued in frt litigation case
  • Individuals in possession of force reset triggers suing ATF under Administrative Procedures Act
  • Force reset triggers are drop-in trigger groups that allow for quicker firing
  • ATF changed definition of machine gun to include force reset triggers
  • Judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs, stating ATF exceeded their authority

Video Summary

In a significant development in the ongoing litigation surrounding Forced Reset Triggers (FRTs), a court has granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) to individual plaintiffs who are challenging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rules. This TRO is seen as the first domino in what could lead to a favorable outcome for individuals who want to own and possess FRTs and could also have implications for challenging the ATF's authority to make rules.

The lawsuit, brought by individual plaintiffs and supported by the National Association of Gun Rights, argues that the ATF's rulemaking process violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), which holds administrative agencies accountable for their actions. The plaintiffs claim that the ATF made a rule that it was not allowed to make, and they are seeking a court determination before subjecting themselves to criminal prosecution and other penalties for surrendering their FRTs.

Forced Reset Triggers are drop-in trigger groups that utilize the energy from the action of the firearm to force the trigger forward, allowing the shooter to fire more quickly. While some argue that FRTs enable rapid fire similar to a machine gun, the ATF's classification of FRTs as machine guns has been disputed.

The Firearm Owners' Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) states that machine guns that were not registered and in existence before May 1986 are unlawful for civilian ownership. FRTs, being a relatively new invention, were not registered before this date. However, the ATF's decision to classify FRTs as machine guns is seen as an overreach of their authority, as it goes beyond the traditional understanding of what constitutes a machine gun.

The court's decision to grant the TRO is significant because it suggests that the judge believes the plaintiffs have a strong case and that the ATF's rule is in violation of the APA. The court stated that the ATF's regulation expanding the definition of machine guns is an arbitrary and capricious expansion of the agency's authority. This early victory is seen as a positive sign in a legal battle that could span several years.

However, it is important to note that the scope of the TRO is limited to the individual plaintiffs in this case. The court will decide on a preliminary injunction in the coming months, which could have a wider impact on the legality of FRTs nationwide. It remains to be seen whether the court will enjoin the ATF from enforcing their rule entirely or if they will limit it to the individual plaintiffs.

The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for gun rights and the ATF's authority to make rules. It raises questions about the ATF's ability to unilaterally change the definition of a machine gun without Congressional approval and highlights the importance of the rulemaking process in ensuring that administrative agencies do not exceed their statutory jurisdiction.

The court's decision in favor of the plaintiffs is a significant step forward in the fight to protect gun rights and hold the ATF accountable for their actions. It sets a precedent that could potentially impact other cases challenging the ATF's authority and could lead to a favorable outcome for individuals who own or want to own FRTs.

While this is just the beginning of a potentially lengthy legal process, it is a promising development for gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment. The court's decision to grant the TRO sends a clear message that the ATF's actions are not above scrutiny and that individuals have the right to challenge regulations that they believe are unlawful.

As the legal battle continues, it is important for gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment to stay informed and engaged. The outcome of this case could have a significant impact on the future of FRTs and the ATF's authority to make rules. It is a reminder that the fight for gun rights is ongoing and that it requires constant vigilance to protect our constitutional freedoms.