Fight over AR-15 ‘pistols’ moves closer to Supreme Court

Gun Rights

A federal appeals court has agreed to hold oral arguments in the national fight over the Biden administration’s bid to crackdown on so-called AR-15 pistols, among the most popular firearms in the nation.

The Second Amendment Foundation told Secrets that the Texas-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear oral arguments on the group’s claim that the administration crossed a legal line in suddenly imposing new ownership hurdles and taxes on the firearms.

“I expect that we will win at the 5th Circuit, and I am sure that the Biden Justice Department will appeal to the Supreme Court. I look forward to getting this case to the high court,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told Secrets on Wednesday.

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The group had earlier won an injunction to block the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from enforcing its rule released last year. Other groups, such as the National Rifle Association, won similar injunctions in other courts.

In blocking the ATF rule, the 5th Circuit suggested that the government would lose the case.

Opponents of the rule said the ATF did not give the public enough time to weigh in. They also cited several written examples of the ATF saying that firearms are free from regulation.

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The agency now wants to put the guns into a category that requires a $200 tax stamp and approval from federal agents under the Al Capone-era National Firearms Act. Supporters claim the guns are popular among mass shooters, though only a few have been used in those incidents.

There are potentially 10-20 million in the United States.


The firearms use a special brace that allows disabled shooters to fire the pistol safely. ATF claims that the brace can be used as a stock like rifles have, making it accurate for longer-range shooting. But since they are typically shorter than traditional, modern sporting rifles, ATF has moved to classify them as short-barrelled rifles that are regulated under the National Firearms Act written long ago to battle the types of guns and sawed-off shotguns used in gangland fights.

Gun advocates said that the Biden administration is hoping to chip away at gun use and sales in America, and picking the popular AR-15 as its first target was a sign of that. Biden has talked about banning all semi-automatic firearms, including all AR- and AK-style rifles and pistols, as well as semi-auto pistols, the most popular firearm in the country.

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