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Supreme Court refuses second bump stock ban appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court (Dreamstime/TNS)
March 28, 2019
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The Supreme Court refused to hear a second appeal in the bump stock ban case, allowing the Trump Administration’s ban to continue.

The latest appeal was filed by Gun Owners of America (GOA) and other plaintiffs in an attempt to invoke a temporary stay on the ban, Reuters reported Thursday.

GOA expressed disappointment in the court’s decision.

“While GOA cannot advocate that its members violate the law, we predict, given our experience with nine states with similar bans, that a large majority of the 500,000 bump stock owners will refuse to turn in their property in what they view as an illegal, unconstitutional gun grab,” GOA legislative counsel, Michael Hammond, said in a press release on Thursday.

“GOA will continue to fight the issue in the court system, as the case now returns to the lower courts. We remain convinced that the courts will consign this unlawful, unconstitutional ban to the trash bin of history, where it belongs,” Hammond added.

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The group filed the appeal earlier this week. The bump stock ban officially took effect on Tuesday.

“GOA opposes this ban for several reasons. First, the ban represents an arbitrary and illegal reversal by a federal agency which for years has ruled bump stocks to be legal firearm accessories. Federal law is clear and does not apply to bump stocks,” GOA’s Executive Director Erich Pratt said in a press release on Tuesday.

“Second, the regulation as written endangers the legality of semi-automatic rifles, as the ATF’s new regulations open the door to further legal manipulation to ban these common rifles in the future,” he added.

“Finally, the ban violates the Constitution’s Takings Clause, forcing the destruction of property of law-abiding individuals without compensation,” Pratt said.

GOA vowed to continue fighting the ban in the 6th Circuit.

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On Tuesday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts denied the first appeal to block the ban, which was filed by gun advocacy groups Firearms Policy Foundation and Florida Carry Inc., along with individual gun owners.

Only one single individual has been granted a temporary stay from the ban so far.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit granted a temporary stay for W. Clark Aposhian, a Utah resident who sued under representation from the New Civil Liberties Alliance, according to a press release.

“Today the Court of Appeals told the ATF that it could not rush through the bump stock ban without meaningful judicial review,” said NCLA litigation counsel Caleb Kruckenberg.

NCLA’s argument – like the GOA’s – challenges the way in which the ATF reclassified bump stocks to achieve the ban.

The ATF reversed its own 2010 decision that deemed bump stocks different from machine guns and unable to be subjected to the same regulation as machine guns.

They amended their previous definition of “machine gun” to include “all bump-stock-type devices that harness recoil energy to facilitate the continuous operation of a semiautomatic long gun after a single pull of the trigger,” the ATF noted.

A bump stock is an external plastic accessory with no ability to fire on its own. When it is affixed to a semiautomatic rifle, it uses the gun’s recoil to then “bump” the gun back against the user’s finger, causing the trigger to be pulled again and another round to fire.

This makes it distinctly different from a machine gun, which has internal mechanisms to permit continuous, automatic fire in rapid bursts with just one trigger pull.

“We still feel that the regulation is a factual misreading of the statute, and that ultimately we will be vindicated on it,” GOA’s Hammond told CNBC.

Hammond said the ban is “sort of weird in that it’s saying that a piece of plastic is a ‘machine gun.’ I think the court also needs to take into consideration that if the piece of plastic is a machine gun, the AR-15 is also a machine gun.”

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