Jun 14, 2024
3 mins read
3 mins read

Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Bump Stock Gun Accessories

Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Bump Stock Gun Accessories

WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a ban on bump stocks, a gun accessory that allows semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly and was used in the 2017 Las Vegas music festival shooting.

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The Supreme Court is nearing the end of its term, and rulings are still pending on several major cases. Three opinions were issued Thursday; and this ruling was among those issued Friday.

The high court found 6-3 the Trump administration did not follow federal law when it reversed course and banned bump stocks after a gunman in Las Vegas attacked a country music festival with assault rifles in 2017. The gunman had fired more than 1,000 rounds in the crowd in 11 minutes, leaving 60 people dead and injuring hundreds more.

A Texas gun shop owner challenged the ban, arguing the Justice Department wrongly classified the accessories as illegal machine guns.

The Biden administration said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made the right choice given the accessories can allow weapons to fire at a rate of hundreds of rounds a minute.

The arguments in the bump stock case were more about whether the ATF had overstepped its authority than the Second Amendment.

Justices from the court’s liberal wing suggested it was “common sense” that anything capable of unleashing a “torrent of bullets” was a machine gun under federal law.

Conservative justices, though, raised questions about why Congress had not acted to ban bump stocks, as well as the effects of the ATF changing its mind a decade after declaring the accessories legal.

There were about 520,000 bump stocks in circulation when the ban went into effect in 2019, requiring people to either surrender or destroy them, at a combined estimated loss of $100 million, the plaintiffs said in court documents.

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