The people's voice of reason

Supreme Court rejects bump stock ban

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ATF's rule making possession of bump stocks a crime is unenforceable. The decision was written by Justice Clarence Thomas and passed the Court 6 to 3.

Bump stocks had been legally sold across this country for years, until an assassin used them in a Los Vegas mass shooting to kill 60 people and wound a hundred more at an outdoors concert. Bump stocks allow a conventional semi-automatic rifle to achieve a much faster rate of fire.

Following the attack the Trump Administration's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) reinterpreted the existing 1930s prohibition on civilians owning machine guns to include a blanket ban on bump stocks.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans had lawfully purchases a bump stock for their lawfully purchased semi-automatic rifle. One administrative action by a bureaucrat in the Trump administration made them felons if they refused to turn in their bump stocks without compensation.

The Biden administration had defended the regulation in front of the court.

The case never involved the Second Amendment.

"We conclude that [a] semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock is not a machinegun because it does not fire more than one shot 'by a single function of the trigger,'" Thomas wrote.

"Congress can amend the law - and perhaps would have done so already if ATF had stuck with its earlier interpretation," wrote Justice Sam Alito. "Now that the situation is clear, Congress can act."

Austin based gun store owner Michael Cargill challenged the ATF rule in court after he had to surrender two of the devices. His lawsuit received support and backing from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other Second Amendment rights groups.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the dissent for the liberals on the Supreme Court.

"Today, the Court puts bump stocks back in civilian hands," Sotomayor wrote. "To do so, it casts aside Congress's definition of 'machinegun' and seizes upon one that is inconsistent with the ordinary meaning of the statutory text and unsupported by context or purpose."

The Alabama Gazette spoke with BamaCarry attorney Harry Still III about the ruling.

Still applauded the ruling and said that this rule was an administrative decision that the ATF never had any authority to make and that their original determination that bump stocks were legal had been the correct interpretation of the law.

Congress and/or state legislatures could still pass their own bump stock bans, though they would likely be challenged by pro Second Amendment rights groups.

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