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Published on May 20, 2024
Texas AG Ken Paxton Secures Temporary Restraining Order Against Biden Administration's Gun RegulationSource: Google Street View

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has put the brakes on a new ATF regulation by winning a temporary restraining order from a federal judge, with the court action suspending what Paxton calls an "unlawful rule" from the Biden Administration that threatened constitutional rights. The contested regulation aimed to tighten the reins on private gun sales, essentially imposing harsher scrutiny upon law-abiding Americans engaging in sales without a federal license.

The rule, which Paxton and his team believe unlawfully infringes on the Second Amendment, was stopped dead in its tracks before it could take effect, in a case that could have serious implications for gun legislation nationwide, Paxton led a coalition earlier this month in suing the ATF on May 1. The regulatory restriction was critiqued for being arbitrary and capricious, the lawsuit put forward by Paxton argued that the ATF overstepped by trying to police private firearms transactions that Congress had already deemed legal by non-dealers. The court has paused the rule until June 2, allowing time for further legal scrutiny.

Attorney General Paxton expressed his relief in a statement, stating, "I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect. The Biden Administration cannot unilaterally overturn Americans’ constitutional rights and nullify the Second Amendment." 

The federal district court, in issuing the restraining order, highlighted the concerns of the plaintiffs, who understandably worry that these new presumptions thrust upon them by the ATF could trigger harsh civil or criminal penalties for actions that were lawful previously, but the ATF maintains confidence in its subject-matter expertise and knowledge of case law to prevent misuse or abuse of the new presumption. According to the restraining order, "For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs are substantially likely to succeed on the merits."