Texas judge blocks Biden ATF rule expanding gun background checks

Gun Rights

A federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its gun background check rule in the Lone Star State on Sunday evening, one day before the national measure took effect.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, granted a temporary injunction against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to block the federal rule in Texas, though not in other states that challenged the rule.

The rule was scheduled to go into effect on Monday and shutters the “gun show loophole” for firearms sales, requiring dealers selling guns for a profit to be licensed and requiring background checks for buyers.

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“I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect,” Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who challenged the Biden administration rule, said in a statement. The challenge to the ATF measure was also joined by the Gun Owners of America, a pro-Second Amendment group.

“President Biden and his anti-gun administration have aggressively pursued an agenda meant to harass, intimidate, and criminalize gun owners and dealers at every turn,” said Erich Pratt, senior vice president of GOA.

Plaintiffs argued the ATF rule violated the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 and the Second Amendment. Kacsmaryk did not rule on the constitutional claim but agreed with the plaintiffs that it ran afoul of the 2022 law.

Kacsmaryk wrote the BSCA did not alter the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986, nor did it alter the older law’s “exclusions for ‘a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.'”

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The temporary restraining order does not apply to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah despite those states being co-filers in the original suit. Kacsmaryk found that those states lacked standing to bring the challenge in Texas. However, the ruling does extend to members of the GOA, the Gun Owners Foundation, the Tennessee Firearms Association, and the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

On behalf of the board for the Gun Owners Foundation, Sam Paredes said his group is “thrilled” with the decision in federal district court and that his group is prepared to “continue the fight going forward.”

The ATF rule’s effective date on Monday comes two days after Trump spoke at a National Rifle Association event on Saturday, during which he vowed to roll back gun regulations put in place under President Joe Biden.

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Following Trump’s speech, Biden campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa accused Trump of following whatever “the NRA tells him to do — even if it means more death, more shootings, and more suffering.”

The Washington Examiner contacted the ATF for comment.

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