FPC Moves to Intervene in California v. ATF Gun Control Lawsuit Seeking to Compel Federal Re-Definition of “Firearm”

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SAN FRANCISCO (November 24, 2020) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), and 80% Arms announced the filing of a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by California Attorney General Becerra on behalf of the State, Giffords Law Center, and two individuals that seeks, among other things, an order that ATF “conduct affirmative rulemaking regarding 80 percent receivers and frames in accordance with the GCA” and an injunction preventing the ATF “from implementing and enforcing ATF’s Classification Letters to Polymer80 (and other 80 percent receiver and frame manufacturers) and online guidance finding that 80 percent receivers and frames are not ‘firearms’ under the GCA.” The case, State of California, et al. v. BATFE, et al., can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.

FPC also recently moved to intervene in a similar case in New York brought by the cities of Syracuse, San Jose, Chicago, Columbia, SC, as well as Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.

The State of California complaint contends that non-firearm objects should be considered and regulated as “firearms” under the Gun Control Act (GCA) and that the “ATF’s Classification Letters to Polymer80 (and other 80 percent receiver and frame manufacturers) and online guidance finding that 80 percent receivers and frames are not “firearms” under the GCA are arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedure Act.

FPC is intervening on behalf of itself and its members, who include producers, sellers, buyers, and possessors of non-firearm objects to ensure that their rights and interests are protected. 

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“The ATF and DOJ will not adequately represent the interests of FPC and our law-abiding members and supporters across the country, and so we must move here to protect the People and their rights from what could be a radical expansion of gun control with massive criminal consequences for people who have been relying on the text of the statutes and ATF’s guidance,” said attorney Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy. “For decades, the ATF has enforced a bright-line delineation as to when an object becomes a ‘firearm’ under the Gun Control Act. The plaintiffs in this State of California and Giffords lawsuit seek to pervert that longstanding definition, enforcement practice, and public reliance interest to comport with their warped view of what a firearm is. Just as we did in the City of Syracuse matter, FPC is taking action to protect the rights and liberty of millions of Americans.”

“Our action in these two cases, first in New York and now in California, is about defending the ingenuity and self-sufficiency of Americans in the face of the culture of control and dependency that is taking over our Republic—from coast to coast. The clear effort of the gun control movement, from east to west, is to impose their views upon the entirety of the United States, forcing the federal government to take complete control and quashing American’s ability to rely on their own skills and expertise. We will not stand by while these governments fight to infringe upon the natural rights of all Americans,” said Mountain States Legal Foundation’s Cody J. Wisniewski.

Firearms Policy Coalition is litigating many major federal Second Amendment lawsuits, including challenges to California’s California’s “assault weapons” ban (Miller v. Becerra), California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra), Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s carry ban (Fetsurka v. Outlaw), Maryland’s carry ban (Call v. Jones), New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), Pennsylvania’s ban on carry by adults under 21 years of age (Lara v. Evanchick), and others, with many more cases being prepared today. To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.

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