Appeals court casts doubt on Biden administration rule to curb use of handgun stabilizing braces

Aug 1, 2023, 3:08 PM | Updated: 3:14 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Biden administration rule requiring registration of stabilizing braces on handguns is unlikely to survive a legal challenge, a federal appeals court panel said Tuesday as it extended an order allowing a gun dealer and others challenging the regulation to keep owning, buying and selling the devices without registering them.

The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans sends the case back to a federal judge in Texas who will consider whether to block enforcement nationwide.

Stabilizing braces attach to the back of a handgun, lengthening it while strapping to the arm. Advocates say the attachments make handguns safer and more accurate. Gun safety groups say they can be used to, in effect, lengthen a concealable handgun, making it more lethal. They point to mass shootings in which such braces were used.

While gun control advocates back the registration requirement as a needed curb on use of the braces, two Texas gun owners, a gun rights group and a gun dealer filed a lawsuit challenging the law.

The Texas-based federal judge presiding in the case refused to block the rule, which required registration of the devices and payment of a fee. But in May, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary block of the rule as it applied to the plaintiffs, their customers and members.

Three 5th Circuit judges heard arguments in June. On Tuesday, the panel voted 2-1 to extend the block on enforcement for 60 days and send the case back to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas. The majority said the challengers were likely to succeed with their argument that the administration failed to comply with the federal Administrative Procedure Act in adopting the rule. It said O’Connor should review that aspect of his original ruling, other issues brought up in the challenge and the scope of any remedies — including whether the block on enforcement should apply nationwide.

“There is a need for consistent application of the law, and this court may not have all the required facts,” Judge Jerry Smith wrote, noting that multiple other courts have issued orders against the federal registration rule since May and that it is uncertain how many people are now covered by such rulings.

The regulation, which went into effect June 1, was one of several steps President Joe Biden first announced in 2021 after a man using a stabilizing brace killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. A stabilizing brace was also used in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine people dead in 2019 and in a school shooting that killed six in Nashville, Tennessee.

Smith, who was nominated to the appeals court by former President Ronald Reagan, was joined in Tuesday’s ruling by Judge Don Willett, nominated by former President Donald Trump. Judge Stephen Higginson, nominated by former President Barack Obama, dissented, saying O’Connor, nominated to the federal bench by former President George W. Bush, was correct in holding that the government had met the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.

National News

FILE - Officers escort Richard Allen out of the Carroll County courthouse following a hearing, Nov....

Associated Press

Prosecutor says theory that 2 slain Indiana teens died in ritual sacrifice is made for social media

DELPHI, Ind. (AP) — The prosecutor overseeing the case against a northern Indiana man charged in the 2017 killings of two teenage girls has dismissed as “fanciful” a recent court filing by the man’s attorneys contending the girls actually died as part of a ritual sacrifice. Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland called the theory a […]

9 minutes ago

Associated Press

A new battery recycling facility will deepen Kentucky’s ties to the electric vehicle sector

A recycling facility will be built in Kentucky to shred electric vehicle batteries in a $65 million venture between American and South Korean companies that will supply material for a separate battery-related operation in the same town, the companies announced Tuesday. The 100,000-square-foot (9,000-square meter) EV battery recycling facility to be built in Hopkinsville will […]

41 minutes ago

Associated Press

Ohio high school football coach resigns after team used racist, antisemitic language during a game

BROOKLYN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio high school football coach resigned Monday after his team used racist and antisemitic language to call out plays during a game last week. Brooklyn High School coach Tim McFarland and his players repeatedly used the word “Nazi” as a play call in a game against Beachwood High School. Beachwood, […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

YouTube prankster says he had no idea he was scaring man who shot him

LEESBURG, Va, (AP) — A YouTube prankster who was shot by one his targets told jurors Tuesday he had no inkling he had scared or angered the man who fired on him as the prank was recorded. Tanner Cook, whose “Classified Goons” channel on YouTube has more than 55,000 subscribers, testified nonchalantly about the shooting […]

2 hours ago

FILE - The Amazon logo is displayed, Sept. 6, 2012, in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon's profitable clo...

Haleluya Hadero, Associated Press

Amazon sued by FTC and 17 states over allegations it inflates online prices and overcharges sellers

The FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday, alleging the e-commerce behemoth uses its position in the marketplace to inflate prices

2 hours ago

Associated Press

A woman died after falling from a cliff at a Blue Ridge Parkway scenic overlook in North Carolina

BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — A South Carolina woman died after falling from a scenic overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina, according to the National Park Service. Park service dispatchers received a report of a woman who fell down a steep cliff at Glassmine Falls Overlook on Saturday afternoon, officials said […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Appeals court casts doubt on Biden administration rule to curb use of handgun stabilizing braces