Giffords Flak Claims SCOTUS 'Essentially Legalized Machine Guns' With Bump Stock Decision

AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File

While the Supreme Court has struck down the ATF's ban on bump stocks, it didn't implicate the Second Amendment in its decision. Instead, the Court ruled that the ATF impermissibly banned the non-mechanical devices through a gross misreading of the federal statute that defines machine guns as firearms that discharge multiple rounds through a single function of the trigger. Today's decision does not change the fact that full-auto firearms are restricted under the National Firearms Act, nor does it repeal the Hughes Amendment prohibiting the purchase of any machine gun manufactured after 1987. 


Justice Samuel Alito went so far as to explicitly state in his concurrence that if Congress wants to ban bump stocks it can do so. All the Supreme Court said is that the ATF alone can't ban the devices, at least not by claiming that they turn semi-automatic firearms into machine guns. 

Naturally, the gun control lobby is already lying about what Justice Clarence Thomas and the majority held in Cargill v. Garland.  

That's right. It is unbelievable, as in "it should not be believed." 

"A bump stock is a device that converts a semi-automatic rifle, where you have to pull the trigger each time you want to fire, into a rifle where you can just hold down the trigger and you can fire 400 to 800 rounds per minute," Brown erroneously claimed on MSNBC without any pushback or correction from the network's anchors. 

As SCOTUS explained in Cargill, simply attaching a bump stock to a semi-automatic rifle doesn't increase the rate of fire at all. It doesn't change the function of the trigger in any way. Even when a bump stock is affixed to a semi-automatic rifle, only one round is discharged with a single pull of the trigger. And the Court went out of its way to state that actual machine guns are still regulated under the provisions of the NFA. 


Interpreting §5845(b) to exclude semiautomatic rifles equipped with bump stocks comes nowhere close to making it useless. Under our reading, §5845(b) still regulates all traditional machineguns. The fact that it does not capture other weapons capable of a high rate of fire plainly does not render thelaw useless. Moreover, it is difficult to understand how ATF can plausibly argue otherwise, given that its consistent position for almost a decade in numerous separate decisions was that §5845(b) does not capture semiautomatic rifles equipped with bump stocks.

Brown is just blatantly lying when she says the Supreme Court "essentially legalized machine guns" today. As much as I'd love to see SCOTUS strike down the NFA in its entirety, I don't think there are five justices on the Court right now who are ready and willing to take that step. 

The gun control lobby isn't interested in educating or informing voters about what today's decision really means; the ATF overstepped its bounds and created a new law, which is the job of Congress, not an executive branch agency. Their goal is to scare the American public into thinking that machine guns are going to start popping up on gun store shelves, which they believe will help their push for a ban on Capitol Hill. With media outlets like MSNBC happy to amplify the misinformation, Brown's claim may very well find traction with voters, but it doesn't change the fact that her statement is pure fiction. 


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