Court rules against bump stock gun control ban

A federal court just struck down a ban on bump stocks, Fox News reports

For those unfamiliar with bump stocks, here is the definition given by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF):

[D]evices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.

Bump stocks are one of those things that gun control activists look to ban.

Background

The particular ban at issue here is the one that was enacted by the Trump administration in 2018. Then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order that allowed the attorney general to regulate bump stocks.

This all occurred after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the shooter, using rifles with bump stocks, killed 58 individuals after firing into a crowd of 22,000 people that was gathered at a music festival.

Trump’s actions led the ATF to change its position on bump stocks.

Previously, the agency had found that bump stocks are not machine guns. But, after Trump’s move, the agency found that bump stocks are machine guns because “such devices allow a shooter to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.”

Subsequently, the agency began confiscating bump stocks.

The lawsuit

One of the individuals who was forced by the government to hand over his bump stocks was Michael Cargill. Cargill responded by filing a lawsuit against the government.

Cargill, in the lawsuit, disputed the ATF’s classification of bump stocks as machine guns. According to Fox:

[Cargill] argued that a bump stock does not meet the definition of a “machinegun” under federal law because the trigger functions multiple times to fire the weapon. Federal law defines a machine gun as operating with a “single function of the trigger.”

This turned out to be a winning argument for Cargill.

On Friday, in a 13-3 decision, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled in his favor. The court wrote:

A plain reading of the statutory language, paired with close consideration of the mechanics of a semi-automatic firearm, reveals that a bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of “machinegun” set forth in the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act.

Is it over?

It remains to be seen whether the Biden administration will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is certainly a possibility.

Several other U.S. appellate courts have ruled in favor of the ban.