The Supreme Court this week opted not to hear two cases challenging the Trump administration’s 2019 ban on bump stocks.
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While the vast majority of gun owners don’t have any particular affinity for the range accessory that makes it easier for one to bump fire a semiautomatic firearm, the lawsuits have relevance because they aim to push back against government overreach.
As GunsAmerica has previously reported, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a regulatory agency, not a legislative body.
When the agency turned on a dime and redefined bump stocks as “machineguns,” under the National Firearm Act, to fulfill a political agenda, it overstepped its authority.
It’s worth noting that ATF had on previous occasions explicitly stated in opinion letters that bump stocks were not “machineguns.” It wasn’t until it was directed by POTUS 45 that the ATF changed course.
These lawsuits, filed by Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), are attempts to stop the federal government from enacting gun control via executive fiat.
The two cases SCOTUS rejected Monday are known as W. Clark Aposhian v. Merrick B. Garland, 21-159, and Gun Owners of America v. Merrick B. Garland, 21-1215.
“Today’s denial of Mr. Aposhian’s certiorari petition lets stand the lower courts’ denial of a preliminary injunction against the bump stock ban. The case now returns to the trial court for a trial on the merits. We look forward to arguing in the trial court that the bump stock ban is inconsistent with the statutory definition of a “machinegun” and that the courts should not grant Chevron deference to the Executive Branch’s interpretation of the statute,” said Rich Samp, the Senior Litigation Counsel for NCLA in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“We are also continuing to litigate the bump stock ban in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans in the case Cargill v. Garland, which last month held an en banc oral argument on our challenge to the ban,” he added.
On the other side of the gun divide, Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, applauded the news.
“There is absolutely no reason that anyone needs easy access to a device designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” said Watts.
“Leaving the bump stock ban in place is a win for gun safety, for survivors of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, and for the Moms Demand Action and Student Demand Action grassroots army that fought hard to get this rule on the books,” she added.
Per the ban, the production, sale, and possession of bump stocks is a felony offense. Violators face 10 years behind bars and fines up to $250,000.
Estimates indicated that there were half a million bump stocks in circulation before the ban rolled out. Anyone who failed to turn them over to law enforcement or destroy them before the 2019 deadline may find themselves in the crosshairs of ATF.