Republican attorneys general in multiple states, including Texas and Kansas, are suing to stop the Biden administration from imposing new restrictions on the rights of gun owners.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach announced the new lawsuits against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during a press conference Wednesday at the Frisco Gun Club.

The lawsuits challenge a new ATF rule that redefines “engaged in the business” as a firearms dealer.

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

The attorneys general argue that the rule is unconstitutional because it is vague, violates the Second Amendment, and circumvents Congress.

“The war on Second Amendment rights must be stopped. My message to Biden is ‘Come and Take It,’” Paxton told reporters.

“When the Biden administration can’t get a bill through Congress, it uses administrative rules,” said Kobach.

He called the new definition of firearms dealer “too broad” and said, “Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans, will be defined as dealing in firearms without even knowing it.”

Kobach cautioned that the ATF could be expected to interpret the new regulations in a way that is most detrimental to gun buyers and sellers.

He said Texas tops the list of states with the most gun shops closed for “what would have been routine paperwork errors before the Biden administration.”

Paxton and Kobach both filed coalition lawsuits on Wednesday.

Both groups will seek a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the rule while litigation is ongoing.

Kobach’s lawsuit was co-filed by the attorneys general of 21 states: Kansas, Iowa, Montana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Paxton’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah.

The multi-state coalition of plaintiffs also includes Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners Foundation, Tennessee Firearms Association, and Virginia Citizens Defense League.

Texas House candidate Wes Virdell, who heads GOA Texas, told reporters that not only do the ATF’s new regulations violate the Second Amendment, but he believes the ATF is also “an unconstitutional organization.”

The ATF published its “final rule” on April 19. Without court intervention, the rule will take effect on May 20, 2024.

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.