NEW ORLEANS, LA (November 9, 2023) – Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and FPC Action Foundation (FPCAF) announced that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in their favor, holding that portions of ATF’s “frame or receiver” rule are unlawful in VanDerStok v. Garland. The Rule will remain in effect “pending the disposition of the appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari, if such a writ is timely sought,” per an August order from the Supreme Court. The opinion can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.
“The agency rule at issue here flouts clear statutory text and exceeds the legislatively-imposed limits on agency authority in the name of public policy,” wrote Judge Kurt Engelhardt for the Court. “Because Congress has neither authorized the expansion of firearm regulation nor permitted the criminalization of previously lawful conduct, the proposed rule constitutes unlawful agency action, in direct contravention of the legislature’s will.”
“[U]nless and until Congress  acts to expand or alter the language of the Gun Control Act, ATF must operate within the statutory text’s existing limits,” the Court concludes. “The Final Rule impermissibly exceeds those limits, such that ATF has essentially rewritten the law. This it cannot do, especially where criminal liability can—and, according to the Government’s own assertions, will—be broadly imposed without any Congressional input whatsoever.”
“This is yet another massive victory against ATF and a huge blow to the Biden Administration’s gun control agenda,” said Cody J. Wisniewski, FPCAF’s General Counsel and Vice President of Legal, and counsel for Plaintiffs. “ATF has no authority to make law, and the Biden Administration cannot circumvent Congress and the rights of the People through federal agency rulemakings–a point the Fifth Circuit just reiterated. We look forward to defending this win and to continuing to deliver additional victories to the People in the future.”
Plaintiffs in this case are two individuals, Tactical Machining, LLC, and FPC. FPCAF represents the Plaintiffs, alongside Mountain States Legal Foundation.
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Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs.
FPC Law (FPCLaw.org) is the nation’s first and largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the leader in the Second Amendment litigation and research space.
FPC Action Foundation (FPCActionFoundation.org), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty through charitable legal action, public policy, education, and research programs.