Federal Court Strikes Down Bump Stock Ban

[Photo Credit: By WASR - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63131657]

On Friday, a federal appeals court reportedly overturned the Trump administration’s prohibition on bump stocks, a weapon modification that allows a semi-automatic pistol to fire at a faster rate of fire.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled 13-3 that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) violated the legislative process by enacting a regulation that defined bump stocks as “machineguns,” which are unlawful to possess.

The court said that ATF lacked congressional jurisdiction to do so.

The bump stock ban, which is opposed by gun rights groups, was implemented by the Trump administration in the aftermath of the 2017 Las Vegas massacre in which a shooter murdered 58 people at a music festival.

The attacker utilized weapons with bump stocks, letting him to fire over 1,000 bullets into a gathering of 22,000 people in 11 minutes.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order ordering the attorney general to regulate bump stocks in 2018, and the ATF followed the president’s request.

To do this, the government altered its ten-year-old view that bump stocks were not machineguns.

The appellant, Michael Cargill, sued the government after being ordered to relinquish six bump stocks under the ATF’s rule.

He correctly contended that a bump stock does not fall within the statutory definition of a “machinegun” since the trigger works several times to discharge the weapon.

The restriction had been upheld by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, the 10th Circuit in Denver, and the federal circuit court in Washington.

A panel of three justices on the 5th Circuit also ruled in favor of the prohibition, supporting a lower court judgment by a federal judge in Texas.

However, the whole New Orleans-based court opted to rehear the case. Arguments were heard on September 13th.

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