Appeals Court Rules That Federal Agencies Can’t Classify Bump Stocks as ‘Machine Gun’

Appeals Court Rules That Federal Agencies Can’t Classify Bump Stocks as ‘Machine Gun’

Bump stock equipped AR-15 A federal appeals court on Thursday sided with a coalition of gun advocacy groups by ruling that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) cannot classify bump stocks as machine guns for the purpose of federal firearm regulations. Bump stocks are devices designed to assist a shooter by increasing a firearm’s rate of fire. They reuse the gun’s recoil energy, thereby allowing a standard rifle to shoot continuously if the trigger is pulled once and constant pressure is maintained. The device was infamously used by the gunman who opened fire during an outdoor concert from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel room in Oct. 2017, killing 58 people and wounding more than 500. The tragic incident led to strong public support for outlawing bump stocks. In 2018, the ATF reinterpreted a statute outlawing machine guns to also include non-mechanical bump stocks. Under the rule, those in possession of the device could face felony charges and potential incarceration. Several gun rights organizations challenged the ATF’s “Final Rule,” alleging it violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The groups sought an injunction preventing the rule from taking effect but were denied by a Michigan district court in 2019. The court held that the ATF was entitled to Chevron deference in interpreting its classification of bump stocks. The term comes from the 1984 Supreme Court case Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council […]

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