26 States File Suit Against ATF

Gun Rights

Fairfax, Virginia – May 1, 2024…Today, a total of 26 States filed three separate lawsuits against the ATF’s new rule redefining who is “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms. As NRA previously warned, this new rule threatens to turn tens of thousands of upstanding citizens into criminals for exercising their constitutional rights by selling even a single firearm.

Kansas, et al. v. Garland, et al.: The first suit, led by a 21-State coalition, was filed against Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Buruea of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), ATF Director Steven Dettelbach, and the Department of Justice in the Eastern District of Arkansas. The plaintiffs argue that the rule must be invalidated (1) under the Administrative Procedure Act, because the ATF exceeded its authority by redefining various terms in federal law; (2) under the Second Amendment, because the rule violates the right to sell arms; (3) under the Separation of Powers, because through the rule the executive branch is both construing and rewriting a federal statute; and (4) because the rule is too vague to give a person of reasonable intelligence fair notice of what conduct is prohibited.

Texas, et al. v. ATF, et al.: The second suit, led by Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah, was filed in the Northern District of Texas against the same defendants as the first, and repeats many of the arguments. The plaintiffs additionally argue, however, that the rule violates the Fourth Amendment by granting the ATF the authority to enter any licensed dealer’s premises during business hours to inspect their records, documents, or firearms.

Florida v. ATF, et al.: The third suit, filed by Florida against the same defendants in the Middle District of Florida, challenged the rule for several violations of the Administrative Procedure Act.

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In response to the lawsuits, the NRA issued a statement lauding the States for their defense of the right to keep and bear arms: “The NRA applauds the coalition of States for boldly challenging the Biden Administration’s rogue ATF, which has relentlessly assailed Second Amendment rights. Undeterred by having three of its most recent Rules restricting gun rights invalidated by federal courts, the ATF’s new Rule restricts Americans’ rights to sell even a single firearm. The ATF has exceeded its authority once again, and we expect that this new Rule will be invalidated as well.”

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