AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
It was a sort of last-ditch effort. Gun rights activists were desperate to try and block the Trump administration’s decision to reclassify bump stocks as machine guns. The idea was to get the United States Supreme Court to issue a stay.
The Supreme Court rejected another last-ditch bid to stop the Trump administration’s bump stock ban, denying a gun rights coalition a temporary exemption from the new regulation early Friday afternoon.
Friday’s order was the third application relating to the bump stock ban that the Supreme Court has rejected in recent weeks.
The plaintiffs in Friday’s case were five individuals and three gun rights organizations, including the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Madison Society Foundation, and Florida Carry. They sought a temporary reprieve from the ban for themselves and their members.
“Absent a stay, applicants and their members will be required to surrender or destroy their property or face felony charges for possession of devices that were unquestionably legal under ATF’s construction of the statute for the past 85 years and ATF’s prior written rulings stating as much,” their petition reads.
The Supreme Court has separately dismissed two other bids to delay implementation of the new bump stock rule: Chief Justice John Roberts rejected one such application in late March, and the full Court turned away a second one on March 28.
And that’s why this one never really had a chance in hell.
For all the internet bravado on display–and plenty of heartfelt statements of defiance, to be fair–the truth of the matter is that if the Supreme Court hadn’t issued a stay already, it wasn’t likely to change its mind now. The Court may have the authority to override the executive branch, but it doesn’t exercise that authority lightly. That’s ultimately a very good thing for our republic, though many of us are less than pleased with it in this instance.
While I personally think bump stocks are dumb, I don’t like the idea of them being banned.
However, that’s the status quo right now. What it doesn’t mean, however, is that such a state will continue indefinitely. Several lawsuits are already working their way through the system. In theory, any one of those may be sufficient for a Supreme Court review that ultimately overrides the ATF ruling.
I don’t think it’s likely, but I do think the possibility still exists.
The reason I don’t think it’s likely is that if there were a likelihood of such a decision being reached, the Court would have issued a stay. The fact it did no such thing suggests it doesn’t think there’s going to be a valid case. However, the Court still hasn’t heard arguments, and with the generally pro-gun makeup of the Court, it’s unlikely it’d hear any such arguments with a closed mind.
For now, though, it looks like those who have their bump stocks are met with a choice. Turn them in, destroy them, or pretend they never had one in the first place.