On November 3rd, 2023, the National Assc. for Gun Rights issued a summary judgment motion in federal court. Previously, the court approved a temporary restraining legal order alongside a preliminary injunction in NAGR vs Garland, shielding NAGR members from harassment by ATF agents regarding forced reset triggers. The lawsuit contests the ATF’s broadening of what legally constitutes a “machine gun.”
“Even with the court order, ATF persists contacting NAGR members, falsely claiming their triggers are in fact machine guns, threatening criminal charges, and demanding ‘voluntary surrender’ of lawfully owned triggers,” said Hannah Hill, NAGR’s legal arm Director. The injunction states the “ATF’s broadened machine gun definition” is “likely illegal.” When confronted about flouting the order, ATF counsel illicitly requested a member list, refused by NAGR.
“Today, we presented some evidence of ATF’s repeated defiance and requested summary judgment. Our motion seeks a nationwide injunction blocking the unlawful trigger ban,” said NAGR President Dudley Brown.
“We informed the judge that ATF shows no interest in following the law or respecting due process, property rights, and 2nd Amendment. It’s time to end this abuse and protect all law-abiding citizens from ATF overreach, not just members, because gun rights shouldn’t require membership,” Brown added.
Gun rights supporters argue this case highlights the ATF’s pattern of overextension and disregard for individual freedoms. They say the agency makes up arbitrary definitions to ban firearms and accessories without legislative power. This impedes Americans’ ability to obtain common rifles, handguns, and accessories.
Critics counter that the ATF is simply attempting to regulate hazardous weapons and attachments, like machine guns and bump stocks, that endanger public safety. They argue the agency should have flexibility to prohibit new types of rapid-fire trigger systems that bypass current restrictions.
But NAGR maintains that forced reset triggers do not satisfy the legal machine gun definition, which requires multiple rounds per single trigger function. They say the injunction properly blocked ATF overextension. The agency should follow the court order and proper regulatory process rather than harass gun owners.
No matter one’s view of specific accessories, advocates argue, all law-abiding Americans have a stake in requiring federal agencies to follow proper legal procedures and respect due process. Allowing the erosion of gun rights also threatens other freedoms eventually.
This case represents another skirmish in the ongoing struggle to uphold Second Amendment rights against government overextension. NAGR prides itself on staunchly defending gun rights at all levels of government. Many see the group as one of the few uncompromising voices countering establishment organizations’ concessions on gun control.
The outcome of this legal challenge will directly impact millions of gun owners nationwide. Federal courts have become a key battlefield for delineating the scope of the right to keep and bear arms. Both sides are observing closely for the precedent this case could establish.
Author: Steven Sinclaire