Texas has successfully blocked new restrictions on private gun sales imposed by the Biden administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday that halts enforcement of the regulations in Texas while litigation proceeds.

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on May 1 challenging a new ATF rule that would redefine who is “engaged in the business” as a firearms dealer.

The 126-page Final Rule would have the effect of criminalizing law-abiding Americans for private gun purchases and sales.

Texas secured a temporary restraining order against the rule on May 19.

Tuesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk blocks the Biden administration from enforcing the regulations against the plaintiffs in the case until their lawsuit is resolved.

Plaintiffs include Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah, Jeffrey Tormey, the Gun Owners of America, Inc., the Gun Owners Foundation, the Tennessee Firearms Association, and the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

The judge found that the ATF rule “eviscerates” the safe harbor provision contained in federal statute by asserting that a person’s “private collection” excludes firearms accumulated for personal protection.

Defendants maintain their interpretation despite acknowledging that “two-thirds of Americans report owning firearms primarily for ‘defense’ or ‘protection’” — thereby necessitating the absurdity that the statute’s safe harbor provision provides no safe harbor at all for the majority of gun owners.

Paxton applauded the ruling.

“Texas has secured an injunction against Biden’s unlawful ATF rule that would criminalize the private sale of guns. Biden’s unconstitutional rule cannot be enforced in Texas,” Paxton said in a statement. “I’m proud to fight and win for our Second Amendment rights.”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.