Activist urges court to overturn bump stock ban

Activist urges court to overturn bump stock ban
(AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)

Most people didn’t know bump stocks existed until the Las Vegas shooting. Gun folks did, of course, but many of us just thought of them as novelties, a tool you could use to facilitate something you could just as easily do with a rubber band or a belt loop.

Unfortunately, Las Vegas did happen and in the aftermath, we ended up with a ban on the stocks.

Now, a gun rights activist is asking a federal court to overturn those rules.

A gun rights activist will urge a federal appeals court on Tuesday to block a Trump administration rule banning bump stocks, gun accessories that allow semi-automatic guns to fire many times in rapid succession.

Michael Cargill is asking the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to reverse a decision by a panel of three of its judges upholding the ban, which took effect March 2019.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which passed the ban, and a lawyer for Cargill did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cargill argues that ATF lacked the authority to reinterpret the statute. He said that even if it did have the authority, its interpretation would be wrong because a shooter using a bump must simultaneously push forward on a gun’s barrel and pull back on its trigger in order to fire rapidly, rather than simply holding the trigger.

The government has maintained that the agency is entitled to deference in interpreting federal law under the Supreme Court’s landmark 1984 ruling in Chevron USA Inc v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc.

Unfortunately, there was an opportunity this year to overturn Chevron, but the Court didn’t, and that’s a shame. This would have made this case a slam dunk, especially after Bruen.

However, following Bruen, it may still be enough of a challenge, though I wouldn’t hold my breath.

The truth is that under current law, while there’s no reason these should have been categorized as machine guns, the ATF has the ability to change the rules arbitrarily.

And that’s an issue.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the Supreme Court will decide now to overturn that authority. The appeals court in question most definitely won’t do any such thing, since they have to use precedents set down by SCOTUS.

Still, I want to be wrong about this.

The truth is that we’re having more issues with criminals having full-auto-capable weapons now than when the rules on bump stocks were implemented. While bump stocks were mostly just novelties, full-auto switches are popping up all over the place despite having been illegal all along.

Clearly, the bump stock ban is really making us all safer, right?

Of course, bump stocks weren’t an issue before Las Vegas and they likely wouldn’t have been afterward, either. At least they wouldn’t have been if not for the constant pontification of know-nothing activists who blathered on endlessly about them in the media, anyway.

So, again, I hope I’m wrong and we see this get overturned. It needs to be overturned. I’m just not sure it will be.