US Appeals Court Blocks Challenge to Gun Silencer Law

( – On June 21, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Fifth District upheld a lower court’s ruling about a Texas gun law that would have deregulated gun silencers in Texas.

In its June 21 ruling, the appeals court dismissed the challenge brought by gun owners and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for lack of standing, stating the court could not prove if the plaintiffs were injured by federal law.

Federal law states that to purchase a silencer, which reduces the noise a firearm creates, a person must pay $200 and apply for a permit. If approved, the silencer must have a serial number and be registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

However, in 2021, the Texas Legislature passed a law that was then signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, allowing silencers to bypass federal law if they are made in Texas and do not leave the state of Texas. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) warned Texas residents that, despite the state’s law, federal rules regarding silencers remain in effect. A second letter reminded Texas residents about the penalties for possessing an unregistered silencer, which include up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

Paxton filed a lawsuit against the ATF and its former chief in 2022. In the lawsuit, Paxton argued that federal law regarding silencers violates the Second Amendment. However, the case was dismissed in 2023 by the U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman.

The ruling comes as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 on June 21 against a Texas man who had challenged a federal law that bans domestic abusers from possessing guns. The man, Zackey Rahimi, argued that the restrictions were a violation of his Second Amendment rights. A ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that, despite having a protective order against him, Rahimi should have been able to own his firearms. However, the June 21 Supreme Court ruling overturns that decision.

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