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Supreme Court Rejects Challenges To Federal Ban on Bump Stocks

The U.S. Supreme Court left intact the federal ban on bump stocks, the attachments that can make a semiautomatic rifle fire like a machine gun, turning away arguments from the National Rifle Association. The justices rejected two challenges to a criminal ban the Trump administration put in place after the October 2017 Las Vegas concert massacre, when a dozen bump stocks were found in the shooter’s hotel room, reports Bloomberg Law. Sixty people were killed in that attack, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The order comes three months after the justices ruled in a New York case that most people have a constitutional right to carry a handgun in public. It follows a series of mass shootings this year, including the rampage that left 19 children and two teachers dead at an Uvalde, Tx., elementary school.


The bump-stock rejections end months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering. The justices were originally scheduled to discuss one of the appeals, by Utah gun lobbyist W. Clark Aposhian, at a private conference in December. They rescheduled the case 20 times, and eventually decided to carry it over to the new term.

The Supreme Court also rejected a separate challenge pressed by people and groups led by Gun Owners of America. The challengers argued that Congress didn’t give the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives authority to classify bump stocks as machine guns, which have been banned since 1986. “Imposing criminal liability comes with certain stigmas and a loss of liberty,” the NRA argued. “Those moral judgments are the types of important questions that Congress must answer itself.” ATF estimated when it proposed the rule that U.S. residents possessed 520,000 bump stocks, which the ban required to be relinquished or destroyed. The Supreme Court let the ban take effect in 2019.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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