Supreme Court declines to take up two challenges to ATF’s dubious ban on bump stocks

Given the Supreme Court’s solid Republican majority, not to mention its expansion of concealed carry rights in June, one might assume that the high court will consistently side with the Second Amendment-protected gun rights of the American people … but that, unfortunately, is not entirely the case.

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected two lawsuits that challenged the federal government’s ban on so-called “bump stock” rifle attachments, the Conservative Brief reported.

That decision to not take up either of those two cases will effectively leave in place the federal bump stock ban that was first imposed in 2019 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in the wake of the deadly 2017 mass shooting from a high-rise building down onto a concert near the Las Vegas Strip.

Bump stock ban remains in place

According to NBC News, the two lawsuits rejected by the Supreme Court took aim at the ATF’s authority to unilaterally decide to classify bump stocks as “machine guns” under provisions of the 1934 National Firearms Act, which heavily regulated and essentially banned automatic weapons for civilians, and the 1968 Gun Control Act, which extended the “machine gun” definition to include certain accessories that could be used to convert a semi-automatic weapon into a fully-automatic one.

For the record, bump stocks are special attachments that take the place of a normal shoulder stock on a semi-automatic rifle and make use of the weapon’s normal recoil to dramatically increase the rate of fire without actually altering the trigger system — albeit at great expense to the weapon’s accuracy.

One of the suits had been brought by a Utah gun owner who possessed a pre-ban bump stock while the other suit came from a coalition of gun rights groups led by the Gun Owners of America organization.

NBC noted that the ATF’s bump stock ban had been immediately challenged when first issued but had been upheld by district and appeals courts, and following additional litigation after the Supreme Court declined to block the ban in 2019, it will now remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

This is not a good outcome

Cam Edwards, of the Bearing Arms outlet, was less than pleased at what had occurred, and wrote, “To say this is a disappointing result would be putting it mildly, and there most certainly will be consequences to the justices’ refusal to hear either case.”

He noted that President Joe Biden’s ATF was already attempting to use the same rationale underlying its bump stock ban to further regulate other firearms accessories and gun parts, such as the partially finished frames and receivers for do-it-yourself gun kits, 3D-printed guns, or even normal semi-automatic AR-15-style rifles.

On top of that, gun control groups and politicians would now be further “emboldened” to continue in their blatantly unconstitutional efforts to infringe upon the Second Amendment-protected rights enjoyed by tens of millions of Americans.

Arguably even worse than that are the legal consequences that otherwise law-abiding gun owners, who lawfully purchased and possessed bump stocks prior to the ban but were turned into would-be felons overnight, could face if now caught with what is little more than a hunk of particularly shaped plastic — a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in federal prison.

This is a terrible setback for gun rights, even if one doesn’t care about or even approve of bump stocks, and we can only hope that a future challenge to this particular ban — or perhaps a separate but related challenge to the ATF’s overreach of authority — will find success at the Supreme Court eventually.

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