Supreme Court Hears ATF Bump Stock Case This Week

Bump Stock (Wikipedia photo)

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments Wednesday on whether the ATF can ban “bump stocks,” the gun attachments that enable semiautomatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns. 

The case involves Michael Cargill, a gun seller from Texas who was forced to surrender his bump stocks after the ATF banned them in 2018. 

While federal law has banned machine guns since 1934, gun advocates argue bump stocks can’t be outlawed as a type of machine gun. 

The Trump administration, through the ATF, reclassified the devices in 2018 after a shooter in Las Vegas used semiautomatic weapons equipped with bump stocks to kill 58 people and wound more than 500 others. The ATF rules declared that bump stocks function as “a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single pull of the trigger.”

Cargill’s lawyers argue the ATF does not have the authority to ban bump stocks, saying that the reclassification “is a decision for Congress to make, not agencies or courts,” AFP reports

In written arguments, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said bump stocks turn ordinary guns into machine guns. 

“A bump stock transforms a semiautomatic rifle into a weapon that shoots hundreds of bullets per minute with a single pull of the trigger,” Prelogar wrote.

The conservative-majority high court has struck down gun control measures. In 2022, the Supreme Court expanded gun rights, ruling that Americans have a fundamental right to carry a handgun in public. 

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