Fast Facts: Supreme Court Issues Stay on Firearms Definition Ruling

  • On August 8, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on the Northern District of Texas ruling, putting it on hold during the appeals process.  
  • The ruling revolves around new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regulations that reshape how firearms are defined. The past notion of a firearm was based on the traditional understanding of guns; however, the new definitions now include certain parts kits and component parts, which make the parts themselves subject to regulation and require them to be serialized.  
  • The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas found that the ATF exceeded its statutory authority in making changes to the definition of a firearm.    
  • Following the Texas ruling, the U.S. government requested a stay pending appeal, meaning the court’s ruling wouldn’t take effect while the case moved through the appeals process. After the Northern District of Texas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit both declined to issue a stay pending appeal, the request was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court.   
  • Whether you own, possess, or plan to acquire items that might fall under these new definitions, U.S. LawShield® members can consult with an Independent Program Attorney to receive clarity on the impact of these legal developments.  

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