Supreme Court strikes down federal bump stock ban | WORLD
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Supreme Court strikes down federal bump stock ban

A bump stock Associated Press/Photo by Steve Helber, file

Supreme Court strikes down federal bump stock ban

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Friday that a federal agency exceeded its authority with a rule defining weapons with so-called bump stocks as machine guns. The Trump administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives made the rule following a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. It changed the interpretation of a decades-old law. The National Firearms Act of 1934 defined machine guns as weapons that would fire multiple shots when a shooter pulled a trigger just one time.

What are bump stocks? Often sold as after-market parts, bump stocks can be attached to semi-automatic weapons that fire one shot per trigger pull. Bump stocks allow a shooter to pull the trigger faster by pulling the bump stock against the shoulder repeatedly while keeping the trigger finger clenched.

What’s this case about? The ATF for years viewed bump stocks as different from machine guns, according to the Supreme Court. Then in 2017, a shooter in Las Vegas used weapons equipped with bump stocks to kill 50 people and injure more than 500 others. The ATF then instituted a rule defining weapons equipped with bump stocks as machine guns and ordering those possessing them to turn them over to the authorities. The plaintiff in the case, Michael Cargill, turned over two bump stock weapons before suing the ATF for exceeding its statutory authority. The Supreme Court sided with Cargill. According to its ruling, bump stocks still require the shooter to pull the trigger once per shot, just by different means. They are not machine guns under federal law, according to the ruling.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett sided with Cargill. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson sided with the government.

Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Reichard and Nick Eicher’s report on The World and Everything in It podcast examining the arguments before the court regarding this case.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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