FederalGunsJudicialFederal Judge Allows Lawsuit to Exempt Texas-Made Suppressors from Federal Law to Move Forward

A federal judge allowed a lawsuit that seeks to exempt Texas-made firearms suppressors from federal registration requirements to move forward.
October 3, 2022
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A lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to exempt Texas-made suppressors from federal regulations will move forward, after federal Judge Mark Pittman on Monday ruled against a motion to dismiss the case.

The ruling constitutes a procedural win for Paxton and co-plaintiffs in the case, which was filed on behalf of several Texas residents.

Attorney Tony McDonald, legal counsel for several of the plaintiffs, wrote on social media that the “big (initial) win” will allow the case to move forward and that the judge rejected the argument that suppressors are firearms accessories and not protected by the Second Amendment. 

“Obviously this doesn’t mean we’ll win, but importantly it signals Pittman rejects [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives]’s argument that suppressors are just accessories and are not protected by the 2A. That seemed to be a pretty clear legal question that, if accepted, meant we had no case,” McDonald wrote.

At issue is House Bill (HB) 957, a Texas law recently passed by Representative Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) exempting firearms silencers or suppressors from federal regulations if they are manufactured, marked, and kept in the State of Texas.

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The law empowers the Texas attorney general to file suit on behalf of private citizens who wish to manufacture a suppressor and to obtain a court order enjoining the federal government from enforcing federal firearms regulations before the citizen can move forward.

Under current federal laws, anyone purchasing a firearm suppressor must fill out an extensive background check application, pay a $200 tax, and wait for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to issue their approval — a wait that can sometimes take over a year.

Today’s ruling only allows the case to move forward and doesn’t guarantee either side a final victory. However, the judge presiding in the case recently made news in another sweeping gun-related decision, striking down a Texas law that prohibited 18-to-20-year-olds from buying and carrying handguns.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found below.

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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy in West Texas. He graduated summa cum laude from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and is presently finishing a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.