U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to ban on gun ‘bump stocks’

WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court, which expanded gun rights in a landmark ruling in June, declined on Monday to hear a challenge to a federal ban on devices called “stockpiles.” reserves” that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire. like a machine gun – a gun control measure prompted by a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017.

Judges rejected appeals by a Utah gun lobbyist named Clark Aposhian and gun rights groups of lower court rulings upholding the ban as a reasonable interpretation of a federal law prohibiting possession of machine guns.

At stake was an action by former President Donald Trump’s administration to reclassify bump stocks as prohibited machine guns under U.S. law in a policy that took effect in 2019.

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Shock stocks use a firearm’s recoil to strike its trigger, allowing a semi-automatic weapon to fire hundreds of rounds per minute to let it fire like a machine gun. Trump pledged to ban them shortly after a gunman used semi-automatic weapons fitted with shockproof devices in a shooting that killed 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas.

Following the massacre, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), an agency of the US Department of Justice, reversed a previous finding and classified bump stocks as prohibited in under a 1934 US law called the National Firearms Act enacted in response to the gangster. violence of that time. Trump also ordered the Justice Department to issue a rule prohibiting bump stocks.

In a 6-3 decision handed down in June by its conservative justices, the court ruled for the first time that the US Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense. The ruling gave gun rights advocates a victory in a deeply divided country over how to address gun violence.

The court’s three liberal justices disagreed with the ruling, which overturned New York state limits on carrying concealed handguns outside the home.

The ban on humpback stocks, put in place without congressional action, required owners to hand over or destroy attachments, with those caught in possession of humpback stocks facing up to 10 years in prison.

Gun control measures are rarely adopted at the federal level. President Joe Biden signed into law the first major federal gun reform in three decades in June, two days after the Supreme Court’s decision in the New York case. This law was designed to help prevent people deemed dangerous from accessing firearms and to increase investment in America’s mental health system.

Aposhian is the chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, according to his website. The group is lobbying the Utah state legislature “to defeat gun control and pass pro-gun legislation.”

Aposhian filed a lawsuit to end the ban in 2019, challenging the authority of the ATF in reclassifying stockpiled moguls as banned machine guns. After a federal judge refused to grant him an injunction early in the case, Aposhian returned his stock of bump, pending the outcome of the litigation.

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2020 upheld the ban, declining to second guess the ATF’s reinterpretation of the term “machine gun” under federal law.

Separately, gun owner advocacy groups, including Gun Owners of America and three of its individual members, filed a lawsuit in Michigan federal court to block the ban from taking effect. protective stocks. The Cincinnati-based 6th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in 2021 upheld the ban.

Appeals to the Supreme Court argue that the lower courts relied impermissibly on the actions of the ATF.

In 2019, the Supreme Court refused to prevent the ban from taking effect.

The National Rifle Association, a gun rights group closely aligned with Republicans, filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court in support of Aposhian. Trump’s Republican colleagues favor a broad interpretation of the right to own and bear arms promised in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

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Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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