Engaged in the business

“Engaged in the Business” – BS! 26 States Fight Back!

26 States Are Fighting Back Against ATF’s “Engaged in the Business” Rule

Since the ATF published Final Rule 2022R-17F Definition of “Engaged in the Business” as a Dealer in Firearms in the Federal Register on April 19, 2024, 26 states along with various Second Amendment organizations filed lawsuits, all on May 1, 2024, against Attorney General Merrick Garland and the ATF.  The ATF asserts that this new rule was warranted to clarify the statutory changes made by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) which was signed into law back in June of 2023. (click here to read the BSCA or click here to read our article on the BSCA).  Of course, typical of the ATF’s actions lately, this new rule adds more to the definitions than the Congressional changes made to the Gun Control Act by the BSCA.  According to the ATF, this rule helps clarify the definition of “Engaged in the Business” as a dealer in firearms.  (click here to read the Final Rule 2022R-17F Definition of “Engaged in the Business” as a Dealer in Firearms).

Kansas Was the First State to Call BS on the New Rule

The first lawsuit Kansas, et al. v. Garland, et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas by 21 states. (click here to view the Complaint). The “Plaintiff States” are: Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.  In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that the ATF violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by exceeding their authority by redefining federal definitions, the final rule violates the Second Amendment because it infringes on the right to sell arms, the final rule violates the Separation of Powers because the executive branch is both construing and rewriting a federal statute, and the final rule is vague.

Texas Steps Up to Fight the Engaged in the Business Rule

The second lawsuit, Texas, et al. v. ATF, et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.  (click here to view the Complaint).  The “State Plaintiffs” are made up of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah.  This lawsuit contains some of the same allegations discussed in the first lawsuit but also alleges that the final rule violates the Fourth Amendment because it gives the ATF the power to enter any federal firearm licensee’s (FFL) premises to inspect their inventory and records.

Florida Joins the Fray

The State of Florida was the last state to file a lawsuit challenging ATF’s final “Engaged in the Business” rule.  Florida v. ATF, et al. was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida on May 1, 2024. (click here to view the Complaint). This lawsuit alleges various violations of the APA by the ATF.

Currently the United States Supreme Court has two cases, (Garland v. Cargill and Garland v. Vanderstock) before them in which ATF’s rule-making decisions and authority are at issue.  Likely the lower courts will wait to see the outcome of these two cases before rendering a decision in the three lawsuits discussed above.  Hopefully with over half of the states in our great country fighting for the Second Amendment, we will soon see an end to theATF’s infringement on our right to bear arms!



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