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Appeals Court: Bump Stock Ban Illegal

By: Teresa Mull

There’s a new chapter in the ongoing saga of the bump stock.

Bump stocks are a firearms add-on that uses the natural recoil of a semi-automatic rifle to increase the rate of fire. That’s the point: the stock “bumps” your finger to pull the trigger again at a faster rate. The trade-off is that with a higher rate of fire comes a debilitating decrease in accuracy.

We remind readers that in March 2019, the Trump administration banned bump stocks, officially making selling or owning one of the firearms accessories a crime punishable with up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Gun Owners of America (GOA) has been leading the battle against this unconstitutional law since the beginning and has just scored a victory at the appeals level.

Today, GOA reports:

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision, which had denied GOA’s motion for a preliminary injunction on bump stocks. Gun Owners of America is seeking an injunction to prevent ATF from implementing a final rule incorrectly classifying bump stocks as machineguns under federal law.
This case was brought by Gun Owners of America (GOA), Gun Owners Foundation (GOF), the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), Matt Watkins, Tim Harmsen of the Military Arms Channel, and GOA’s Texas Director, Rachel Malone.
“Today’s court decision is great news and told gun owners what they already knew,” said GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt. “We are glad the court applied the statute accurately, and struck down the ATF’s illegal overreach and infringement of gun owners’ rights.”

According to Bloomberg News, "[T]he court disagreed with ATF’s interpretation of the law. 'Single function of the trigger' refers to the mechanical process of the trigger, i.e. its depression, release, and resetting, the court said. A bump stock can’t be classified as a machine gun because it doesn’t enable a semiautomatic firearm to fire more than one shot each time the trigger goes through this cycle, the court added."

Previously, the DOJ amended the regulations of the ATF clarifying that bump stocks should be considered “machineguns” because they allow “a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger,” according to a DOJ press release.

“In a move which is almost certainly illegal, BATF ‘gives’ bump stock owners 90 days to destroy their $300 piece of property -- or to bring it into a BATF office for relinquishment without any compensation whatsoever,” Michael Hammond, legislative director for GOA told Gunpowder Magazine at the time.

“The Ninth Circuit has recently held that California’s retroactive ban on and seizure of magazines is an unconstitutional ‘taking’ under the regulatory ‘takings’ doctrine under … the Fifth Amendment. This almost certainly follows that precedent.”

Teresa Mull (teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.

 
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