PAIGE ROUX: Supreme Court strikes down federal bump stock ban

The Supreme Court has struck down the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks, ruling 6-3 that the federal government overstepped its authority when implementing the ban. 

The opinion, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, concluded that the Department of Justice was incorrect in declaring that bump stocks transform a semiautomatic rifle into an illegal automatic weapon, explaining that they do not “alter the basic mechanics of firing.”

“Congress has long restricted access to “‘machinegun[s],'” a category of firearms defined by the ability to “shoot, automatically more than one shot . . . by a single function of the trigger,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion.

“Semiautomatic firearms, which require shooters to reengage the trigger for every shot, are not machineguns. This case asks whether a bump stock—an accessory for a semi-automatic rifle that allows the shooter to rapidly reengage the trigger (and therefore achieve a high rate of fire)—converts the rifle into a ‘machinegun.’ We hold that it does not,” he added.

Justice Samuel Alito, in a separate opinion, emphasized that Congress has the authority to change the law if it chooses.

The ban on bump stocks was instituted during the Trump administration following the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, where a gunman used the device to kill dozens of individuals at a concert. While bump stocks can increase the rate of fire of a rifle, they do not make the firearm an automatic weapon, as the internal trigger mechanism resets after each round is fired, keeping it a semiautomatic weapon. However, many have argued it should be illegal as it gives a firearm “machine gun-like properties.”

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt stated, “The Court has spoken and their decision should be respected.”

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

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