The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) allowed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) “partially complete” pistol frame rule to stand on Tuesday, while an appeal runs its course in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The ATF used its pistol frame rule — ATF Final Rule 2021-05F — to redefine “partially complete pistol frames” as “firearms.” This allowed the ATF to require background checks for certain gun parts kits by claiming said parts could be used to build guns.
Under the auspices of this rule, the ATF targets those guns which Democrats refer to as “ghost guns.”
On July 2, Breitbart News reported that Judge Reed O’Connor in the United States District Court Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division decided against the ATF’s rule in a suit brought by Jennifer VanDerStok, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and others.
O’Connor stressed that the redefinition of gun parts is actually up to Congress rather than a federal agency, and said, “Because Congress did not define ‘frame or receiver,’ the words receive their ordinary meaning.” O’Conner vacated Final Rule 2021-05F.
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On July 24, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld O’Conner’s decision to vacate the rule, but the appeals process continues in the Fifth Circuit.
SCOTUS was asked to intervene during the appeals process and, on Tuesday, SCOTUS voted 5-4 to allow the rule to stand while the appeals process plays out.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, voted in the majority.
The lawsuit is VanDerStok v. Garland, No. 23-10718, in the United State Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010, a speaker at the 2023 Western Conservative Summit, and he holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange. Reach him directly at email@example.com.