ORLANDO, FL –-(Ammoland.com)- A district judge has denied Rare Breed Triggers’ request for a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Last July, the ATF issued a cease-and-desist letter to Rare Breed Triggers ordering the company to stop selling the FRT-15 trigger. The Bureau reviewed the device and determined that it converts semi-automatic rifles into machine guns. If a device can convert a firearm into a machine gun, then the ATF considers that device itself as a machine gun.
Rare Breed and its owner, Kevin Maxwell, filed a lawsuit against the ATF seeking an injunction against the cease-and-desist. Maxwell, a lawyer by trade, claimed that if the cease-and-desist were allowed, it would cause irrebuttable financial harm to the company and Maxwell himself.
The company argued that if the ATF started seizing triggers from customers, those consumers would start issuing chargebacks against Rare Breed, leading to the company’s financial ruin. Maxwell also argued that it would prevent him from providing for himself and his family.
The judge rejected Maxwell’s claims that he would not be able to provide for himself and his family since he is a licensed attorney. The Court said that Maxwell did not provide evidence of his claim so that it would disregard his argument of financial ruin.
The Court ruled: “Absent supporting factual evidence, the Court may disregard the conclusory statements in the affidavit.”
The Court also said that the Plaintiff did not demonstrate that the alleged injuries to Maxwell and the company could not be remedied by monetary means. The judge cited Ne. Fla. Ch. of Ass’n of Gen. Contractors v. Jacksonville. In that case, the Court ruled that “An injury is ‘irreparable’ only if it cannot be undone through monetary remedies. . . . Mere injuries, however substantial, in terms of money, . . . are not enough.”
Mr. Maxwell said the company would be forced to hand over its customer list or risk criminal prosecution.
He said he is “at risk of suspension of his legal license due to criminal prosecution.” The Court came to the same conclusion that it did in the ruling on the temporary restraining order and ruled against the Plaintiff.
Judge Carlos Mendoza said that the Plaintiff did not explain how the Court had the authority to “temporarily restrain a law enforcement action or criminal prosecution by an executive branch agency.” The judge said he was unsure if the Court even had that power. The judge also cited that criminal prosecution cannot constitute irreparable harm.
One interesting argument that Rare Breed used in its argument is that if the ATF’s order were allowed to be enforced, then the company would not be able to prosecute its patent infringement case against Big Daddy Unlimited successfully. Rare Breed sued BDU claiming the online giant ripped off the FRT-15 design for its Wide Open Trigger. The judge ruled that the company did not show how monetary damages could not remedy such harm.
Finally, the judge stated that the company did not show that the alleged harm was imminent. Rare Breed did present evidence that the ATF did seize at least one FRT-15 showing that the ATF was taking some enforcement action, but the Court cited the ATF letter requiring Rare Breed to contact the ATF to address the FRT-15s already in customer’s hands.
Since the Court did not find that Rare Breed proved irreparable harm, the judge did not consider the company’s other argument.
Judge Denies Rare Breed’s Preliminary Injunction Against the ATF
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.