Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Preliminary Injunction on Pistol Brace Rule for State of Florida

In the case of Colon v BATFE, United States District Judge Mary S. Scriven has granted an order for a preliminary injunction to prevent the BATFE, the Department of Justice, and others from enforcing the Final Rule against any Florida resident who has purchased or who may purchased in the future, any brace-equiped firearm before the resolution of the court case. From the order:

Upon consideration of the foregoing, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, (Dkt. 21), is GRANTED in PART and DENIED in PART. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendants Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Steven Dettelbach, United States Department of Justice, and Merrick B. Garland, their agents, servants, employees, officers, and all other persons who have notice of this Order and are in active concert or participation with Defendants, be and are, without prior written or oral notice, preliminarily restrained and enjoined from, in any way, either directly or indirectly, enforcing the Final Rule against the named Plaintiffs and 2nd Amendment Armory’s past and future customers (collectively, “Covered Persons”) who reside in the State of Florida. For purposes of this injunction, the term “customer” includes any Florida resident who has purchased or subsequently purchases a brace-equipped firearm from 2nd Amendment Armory before final resolution of this action. The injunctive relief authorized by this Order expressly does not grant Covered Persons any additional privileges during interstate travel. Covered Persons engaging in interstate travel are required to comply with any requirements pertinent to traveling with their respective firearms in existence before the Final Rule became effective.

In effect, the order of the court means there will be no enforcement of the BATFE "Final Rule", which declares most pistols with arm braces attached to be short barreled rifles, subject to all the onerous restriction of the National Firearms Act.

In the 51 page decision by Judge Mary Scriven, she details the several positions of the ATF with respect to pistol braces over time. She details how the ATF  changed its position and how it is clear the plaintiffs in the case have standing to sue for real damages.

Judge Scriven considers the defendants (Biden administration) claim of long standing historical tradition of taxing and regulating firearms. She notes the Biden administration's claim falls short of being convincing, as most of the statutes required possession  of firearms and ammunition. Requiring possession is not a regulatory prohibition on possession or ownership. Because she reaches the conclusion the defendants will fail before the Constitutional issues are raised, she "declines to address the adequacy of the offered historical analogous laws". The preliminary injunction is a stinging rebuke to the ATF and the Biden administration.

Judge Scriven shows how irreparable harm will result to the plaintiffs without a preliminary injunction. She also finds:

"Government suffers no countervailing harm from being prevented from violating their rights. The Court also finds the public suffers minimal harm from non-enforcement of the Final Rule. Cf. Florida, 19 F.4th at 1293. As a result, equity demands the issuance of an injunction until this Court can evaluate this case on a more developed record."

Judge Scriven, in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of appeals, mentions other cases in other circuits and other courts. She limits the injunction to the state of Florida so as to protect the plaintiffs, all of which are from Florida, and to follow guidance from the Supreme Court to limit nationwide injunctions, where possible.


This is another positive case to prevent the "Final Rule" from being actively pursued by the Biden administration. It is a step to cut back on bureaucratic power, and to demand respect for the Second Amendment. Although the case does not direct deal with the Second Amendment issues, the comments by Judge Scriven make clear the Biden administration claims of long historical precedent are not persuasive. While the injunction finds for the direct plaintiffs, the extension to all resident of Florida who purchased firearms with braces  or who purchase from 2nd Amendment Armory in the future, effectively means no enforcement in Florida. This order may be appealed to a three judge panel on the Eleventh circuit.

©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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