Supreme Court Delivers Major Gun Rights Victory With Bump Stock Decision

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

The Supreme Court delivered a sharp rebuke of executive overreach on Friday, delivering its decision to overturn the Trump-era bump stock ban. 

One of the devices was used during a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017. A ban was then put into effect by the ATF under the supposed power of the 1934 National Firearms Act with the argument being that a bump stock transformed a semi-automatic rifle into a "machine gun."

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RELATED: Trump's Bump Stock Ban Not Likely to Survive the Supreme Court


Trump's memorandum to Sessions directs the Department of Justice to "dedicate all available resources" to completing a review of more than 100,000 comments it received from December through January on a notice of a proposed rulemaking. Trump directed the department to, "as expeditiously as possible," propose for notice and comment "a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns."

According to the Supreme Court, that was illegal and the administration did not have the authority to ban them. 

The decision is fairly straightforward. A "machine gun" as defined under the NFA requires that it can shoot multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger. That is not how a bump stock works. Rather, it uses the recoil of the weapon to bounce the stock off the shooter's arm, pulling the trigger for every round that is fired. Quite simply, that does not make it a "machine gun" any more than having an elite shooter who can shoot a semi-automatic firearm exceptionally fast.

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In short, according to the Supreme Court, if Congress wants to change the law, they are welcome to try and see how it holds up against judicial scrutiny. What can't happen is a president and his ATF arbitrarily deciding that they can just ban things that aren't explicitly spelled out in the NFA.

This ruling is important because the court has now set the precedent of interpreting the NFA based on its clear language and not grossly exaggerated executive decrees. There are likely several other presidential infringements that will be struck down. This was a big win for the Second Amendment going forward.

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