Supreme Court’s Ruling on Bump Stocks Could Pave Way for More Dangerous Firearms

Bump Stock (Wikipedia photo)

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a ban on bump stocks, the gun attachments that enable semiautomatic weapons to fire rapidly like a machine gun, could open the door to more lethal weapons. 

The ruling may also undermine President Biden’s attempts to regulate other gun accessories that enable semiautomatic rifles to fire rapidly, such as forced-reset triggers, The New York Times reports, citing lawyers and experts.

Now lawyers and experts say ATF restrictions on similar devices could be thwarted by the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling. 

Federal law has banned machine guns since 1934, but gun advocates argue forced-reset triggers don’t turn a firearm into a machine gun. 

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that “a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock is not a ‘machine gun’ because it cannot fire more than one shot ‘by a single function of the trigger.’”

That line has given gun advocates ammunition to argue that forced-reset triggers should also be struck down. 

“This is one of the key legal arguments we’ve been making from day one,” Lawrence DeMonico, the president of Rare Breed Triggers, a manufacturer of the devices, said in a video message to supporters. “It is an amazing ruling.”

The ATF declined to comment for the story. 

The Trump administration, through the ATF, reclassified bump stocks 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 rule 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.”

The Supreme Court struck down the ban after gun advocates challenged the regulations. 

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would ban bump stocks. But in the Senate, a single Republican objected to the legislation, effectively stalling the bill, NBC News reports

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