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Supreme Court Signals It May Rein In Federal Rulemakers

Monday, August 8, 2022

Supreme Court Signals It May Rein In Federal Rulemakers

While most of the attention from the end of the United States Supreme Court’s last term focused on several landmark cases, including a major win for gun owners in the NRA-supported case New York State Rifle and Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, SCOTUS also issued a decision that may substantially limit federal authority to regulate firearms.

In West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court evaluated whether the EPA had sufficient authority to issue an Obama-era regulation known as the Clean Power Plan (“CPP”). While that rule dealt with a regulation aimed at curbing emissions from power plants, when the Court opines on federal regulatory authority, the decision can often have far reaching consequences.

Most notably, the Court’s highest-profile modern decision on administrative law, Chevron U.S.A., Inc., v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., also arose from a challenge to an EPA regulation, but has completely reshaped administrative law with far-reaching consequences beyond environmental law.

Federal regulators, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), often cite so-called Chevron deference when defending new regulations. While the Court’s original decision required an evaluation of Congress’ intent in giving an agency regulatory authority, Chevron has evolved into a doctrine that is highly deferential to federal regulators.

NRA has recently filed amicus briefs in several cases challenging the federal ban on bump-fire stocks. Those briefs all argue for limiting the deference courts give to administrative agencies, at least for regulations that have potential criminal consequences.

Many had hoped that the Court would directly limit Chevron deference in the West Virginia case. While the Court did not directly limit Chevron, it did give weight to another statutory interpretation doctrine that may help rein in federal firearm regulations.

The Court resolved the case using the major question doctrine, holding that when a regulation involves a major question that “the agency must point to ‘clear congressional authorization’ for the authority it claims.” As to determining when a particular regulation may be a major question, the Court pointed to the exercise of previously “unheralded” authority and when the question involves one of vast political significance.

Under these factors, it is hard to see how ATF’s recent attempts to completely redefine what items constitute the “frame or receiver” of a “firearm” and effectively ban pistol stabilizing braces would not be major questions. They are both novel attempts at regulation and involve serious political significance (legislation has been introduced in Congress on both of these issues).

While it remains unclear how significant this new ruling will be, it certainly indicates that the Court is willing to conduct a thorough review of any new exercise of federal regulatory power.

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Updates to ATF Final Rule on Stabilizing Braces

News  

Monday, January 30, 2023

Updates to ATF Final Rule on Stabilizing Braces

On Monday, January 30, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) published the final Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” rule for public inspection in the federal register.

ATF Posts “Final” Rule on Stabilizing Braces

News  

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

ATF Posts “Final” Rule on Stabilizing Braces

On Friday, January, 13, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) posted the “final” Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces” rule to its website.

Mexico has Bigger Problems than the Second Amendment

News  

Monday, January 30, 2023

Mexico has Bigger Problems than the Second Amendment

In an attempt to deflect from their own woeful mismanagement, Mexican politicians often try to blame the country’s violent crime problem on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. However, recent news regarding at least one drug cartel ...

Florida: Constitutional Carry Introduced

Monday, January 30, 2023

Florida: Constitutional Carry Introduced

Today, Representative Chuck Brannan (R-10) filed House Bill 543, the NRA-backed constitutional carry bill. The Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law & Government Operations Subcommittee will hear it on February 7th from 4-6PM. Florida is currently in ...

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Invalidates ATF Bump-Stock Rule—Holds that Congress, Not ATF, Declares What the Law Is.

News  

Monday, January 9, 2023

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Invalidates ATF Bump-Stock Rule—Holds that Congress, Not ATF, Declares What the Law Is.

On Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, invalidated the ATF’s Rule classifying bump stocks as machine guns under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Rampant Crime, No Consequences: The Perfect Storm of New York’s Criminal Justice System

News  

Monday, January 30, 2023

Rampant Crime, No Consequences: The Perfect Storm of New York’s Criminal Justice System

Things must be bad in the Empire State if Democrat politicians are talking up their commitment to public safety. “There is no greater obligation than ensuring every New Yorker can live in safety, and that ...

Minnesota: Gun Control Bills Committee Hearing on Friday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Minnesota: Gun Control Bills Committee Hearing on Friday!

Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. the Public Safety Finance and Policy committee will meet in Capitol Room 120 to vote on numerous gun control bills. Please contact the committee members today asking them to oppose the "red ...

Opposition Grows to Canada’s Latest Gun Grab

News  

Monday, December 12, 2022

Opposition Grows to Canada’s Latest Gun Grab

More than two years ago, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an immediate ban on firearms and devices classified as “assault weapons.” Gun owners were told they could continue to possess (but not use) their ...

New Mexico Legislature Convenes Today and the List of Radical Gun Control Bills is Long!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

New Mexico Legislature Convenes Today and the List of Radical Gun Control Bills is Long!

The New Mexico Legislature convenes TODAY for its 60-day session and progressive, anti-gun lawmakers have already filed a laundry list of extremist gun control proposals that would make Biden and Bloomberg proud.

NRA-Backed Constitutional Carry Introduced in Florida

News  

Monday, January 30, 2023

NRA-Backed Constitutional Carry Introduced in Florida

The NRA joins Florida House Speaker Renner & the Florida Sheriffs Association to introduce a constitutional carry bill in the Florida legislature. 

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.