Updated: Nov 6
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether a Trump era-ban of bump stocks, the gun attachments that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns, violated federal law. The justices will hear arguments early next year over a Justice Department regulation after a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, reports the Associated Press. Federal appeals courts have come to different decisions about whether the regulation defining a bump stock as a machine gun comports with federal law. Justices will review the Biden administration’s appeal of a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans that invalidated the ban. The high court already is weighing a challenge to another federal law that seeks to keep guns away from people under domestic violence restraining orders, a case stemming from the decision last year in which the six-justice conservative majority expanded gun rights.
The new case is not about the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms,” but whether the Trump administration followed federal law in changing the bump stock regulation. The ban took effect in 2019. In the Las Vegas shooting, a 64-ear-old retired postal worker and high-stakes gambler used assault-style rifles to fire more than 1,000 rounds in 11 minutes into a crowd of 22,000 music fans. Most of the rifles were fitted with bump stock devices and high-capacity magazines. A total of 58 people were killed. The Trump ban on bump stocks was an about-face for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In 2010, the agency found that a bump stock should not be classified as a machine gun and should not be banned, After the Las Vegas shooting, officials revisited that determination and found it incorrect. The 5th Circuit ruled 13-3 in January that Congress would have to change federal law to ban bump stocks. The court also agreed to hear the National Rifle Association’s appeal of a decision throwing out its suit against a New York state official the gun group says discouraged insurance companies from doing business with it, reports the Wall Street Journal.