Gun Rights Groups join ATF Lawsuit to Prevent the Redefinition of "Firearms"

Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), and 80% Arms filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) by several liberal cities and gun control groups. FPC said it joined in the lawsuit to protect the rights of its members, who include producers, sellers, buyers, and possessors of non-firearm objects.

FPC's Legal Strategy director, Adam Kraut, questions the dedication of the ATF and the DOJ to adequately represent the interests of the law-abiding citizens and its members.

"For decades, the ATF has enforced a bright-line delineation as to when an object becomes a 'firearm' under the Gun Control Act. The Everytown plaintiffs, in this case, seek to pervert that longstanding definition, enforcement practice, and public reliance interest to comport with their warped view of what a firearm is," Kraut said. "FPC is compelled to intervene and aggressively protect the rights and liberty of millions of Americans."


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The Cities of Chicago, Columbia, SC, San Jose, Syracuse, as well as Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund protest the ATF's refusal to regulate non-firearm objects, including the 80% receivers as firearms. The City of Syracuse, et al. v. BATFE, et al. suit names the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), ATF's Acting Director Regina Lombardo, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and Attorney General William Barr as the defendants.

The plaintiffs argue that the defendants failed to use statutory language found in the Gun Control Act (GCA), thus failing to regulate non-firearm objects as firearms. They also argue that the ATF arbitrarily determined that if an object was solid in specific points or lacks drilling or machining, it couldn't qualify as a firearm.

Mountain States Legal Foundation's lead counsel, Cody J. Wisniewski, said his organization would do the best to defend Americans from the culture of "control and dependency" that was taking over the country. He accused the cities and the gun control activists of trying to force their definition of a firearm to the rest of the country.

The involvement of the gun rights groups is highly welcome, given the ATF's latest behavior of arbitrarily changing the definition of firearms. It's highly unlikely that the agency would put much effort into challenging the accusations.

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