AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
It was the last ditch effort.
Pro-gun groups were doing everything they could to block implementation of the Trump administration’s bump stock ban. After exhausting efforts, they ended up before the Supreme Court. Among those groups was Gun Owners of America. A press release went out yesterday:
GOA Requests Stay of Enforcement of Bump Stock Ban at SCOTUS
Springfield, VA – Gun Owners of America (GOA) has requested that the Supreme Court issue a stay of enforcement of the bump stock ban.
“We have been informed by the Court that the government has been asked to respond by 4pm today,” Erich Pratt, executive director of GOA said. “Then we will have an opportunity to respond. We are hoping for a decision soon.”
“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.
“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.
“Finally, the ban violates the Constitution’s Takings Clause, forcing the destruction of property of law-abiding individuals without compensation.
“Regardless of what happens this week, GOA will continue to challenge the ATF bump stock ban in the Sixth Circuit and believe that our case against the ban is compelling.”
I don’t blame them. At this point, it was the only hope for blocking the ban.
Unfortunately, Chief Justice John Roberts opted to do no such thing.
The Supreme Court is so far declining to stop the Trump administration from enforcing its ban on “bump stock” devices, which allow semiautomatic weapons to fire like machine guns.
The ban took effect Tuesday. The administration is in the unusual position of arguing against gun-rights groups.
Gun-rights groups asked the court Monday to keep the government from beginning to enforce the ban for now.
Chief Justice John Roberts declined a request for the court to get involved Tuesday. A second request is pending in front of Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
And, honestly, does anyone think Justice Sotomayor is going to be more likely to block a bump stock ban than Justice Roberts?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Look, it is what it is. The Supreme Court tends not to flex its muscle any more than it has to. While the justices typically use their own judgment on cases that come before them through the legal system, they’re hesitant to step on the Executive Branch’s toes. They don’t want the president telling them how to do their jobs, so they back off on telling him how to do his.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they’d side with anti-gunners on a bump stock ban.
I mean, they probably will, just that it’s not a given.
“But this is unconstitutional!” someone will say, and I agree.
However, let’s also look at the Court for a moment. Conservatives hold a slim majority, sure, but all it takes is one justice who disagrees. If you don’t think there’s a squishy conservative on the Court, I ask you to look at the language in the Heller decision. I don’t think that was all Scalia’s idea. Do you?
So no, I’m not sure the ban won’t be upheld by the Court. It’s a shame, and I disagree, but I think the days of bump stocks are over.
Meanwhile, people will just keep on bump firing like they always have. All that will change is they’ll no longer have a convenient stock to help.