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Brooklyn’s federal court halts sales of AR-15 machine gun converters

September 6, 2023 Robert Abruzzese
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In a significant ruling on gun control regulations, U.S. District Judge Nina Morrison blocked Rare Breed Triggers LLC from marketing after-market triggers that could transform AR-15 rifles into weapons with machine gun firing rates.

Rare Breed Triggers had been promoting their “forced-reset” FRT-15 triggers as entirely legal mechanisms. However, Judge Morrison found in her detailed 129-page decision that the federal government was positioned to demonstrate these items were illicit machine gun conversion tools. “Defendants misled their clientele into procuring a product that’s unlawful to have in possession, while falsely asserting the FRT-15s’ legality,” wrote Morrison.

While representatives for Rare Breed Triggers remained silent post-ruling, the U.S. Attorney Breon Peace’s office in Brooklyn also did not offer immediate comments.

The verdict comes on the heels of a contrasting decision from U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas, who recently deemed a similar ban as “likely unlawful.”

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The core of this issue can be traced back to the President’s comprehensive strategy to address the surging gun violence epidemic in the country. The Civil Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence, formulated by the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of New York, took unprecedented legal action against two firms and their executives for their alleged illicit sales of machine gun conversion devices, specifically the FRT-15s. The initial steps in January saw the Court granting a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the defendants, which was upheld through September following a series of jurisdictional disputes and an evidentiary hearing.

Judge Morrison’s decision today is a landmark one — marking the first instance a federal district judge has approved a motion for a preliminary injunction on this topic. The court order restricts Rare Breed Triggers from trading FRT-15s, Wide Open Triggers, and other similar conversion devices. Furthermore, the order mandates the preservation of all documentation tied to these products, signaling a more in-depth investigation into the company’s activities.

Highlighted in the court’s opinion is the notion that the defendants might have intentionally circumvented the ATF review process, anticipating unfavorable results. By sidestepping this scrutiny and assuring customers of the product’s “legality,” Rare Breed Triggers was seemingly aware of the potential fallout an ATF review could trigger, potentially jeopardizing their lucrative business.

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