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BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — In a ruling issued September 12, US District Court Judge Daniel Hovland, representing the District of North Dakota, has denied a request to set aside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm’s rules on the use of “pistol stabilizing braces” for weapons.

The Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition, along with numerous states including North Dakota, asked the court to stop enforcement of the regulation, which went into effect June 1, while the legality of the rule was being challenged.

But in his opinion, Hovland stated, “Taken together, the Plaintiffs have not shown they are entitled to the extraordinary remedy of preliminary injunctive relief at this early stage of the proceedings. The Court finds they have not, at this preliminary stage, demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”

Accordingly, Hovland denied the request for a preliminary injunction and left the rule in place.

At issue is a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms rule that states:

  • Any weapons with “stabilizing braces” or similar attachments that constitute rifles under the National Firearms Act must be registered with ATF;
  • Or the short barrel removed and a 16-inch or longer rifle barrel attached to the firearm;
  • Or permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the “stabilizing brace” such that it cannot be reattached;
  • Or the firearm is turned in to the local ATF office;
  • Or the firearm is destroyed

The Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition and 25 states including North Dakota challenged the rule, claiming the rule exceeded the ATF’s regulatory authority, is unlawful and arbitrary.

In his ruling, Hovland noted the challenge to the ATF rule was not a challenge to the constitutionality of the rule. “At the outset, it is clear that uniquely dangerous weapons, including short-barreled rifles, are not protected by the Second Amendment,” he wrote. “This lawsuit is not a challenge to the constitutionality of the Final Rule. The United States Supreme Court recognized in Heller that the Second Amendment does not protect ‘weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.’

Further, Hovland noted the stabilizing brace is a firearm accessory or attachment, which is not protected under the Second Amendment and can be regulated by the government.The Second Amendment does not prohibit reasonable licensing regimes associated with ownership of a firearm,” Hovland wrote.

After examining all the arguments presented, Hovland ruled the challenges to the ATF rule were not likely to succeed on their merits and, thus, did not rise to the need a preliminary injuction against the rule.

Your can read Hovland’s opinion here.

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