Second Amendment Showdown: Supreme Court Reviews ATF Bump Stock Ban

In a landmark case that may redefine the power of federal agencies to regulate firearms, the U.S. Supreme Court recently listened to oral arguments from Michael Cargill, a Central Texas gun store owner, challenging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) ban on bump stocks.

This case is not just about a single firearm accessory but represents a critical examination of the ATF’s authority to reinterpret laws and impose new regulations that carry the full force of law, effectively sidestepping the legislative process and the will of Congress.

Cargill’s lawsuit, which has drawn attention and support from gun rights advocates nationwide, argues that the ATF has overstepped its bounds. Initially targeting bump stocks in the wake of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the ATF used the rule established in that ban as a template to subsequently go after a variety of other firearms components, including pistol stabilizing braces, forced-reset triggers, and so-called 80 percent frames and receivers. These components have been in the crosshairs of the ATF’s expanding regulatory agenda, with the agency accused of abusing its power by changing definitions and making rules that render previously legal firearm parts illegal.

At the heart of Cargill’s argument is the contention that bump stocks, devices that allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire more rapidly, should not be classified as “machine guns.” The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in Cargill’s favor in January 2023, underscoring that a bump stock does not meet the statutory definition of a machine gun. However, this victory was short-lived, as the ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court, where the broader implications of the ATF’s regulatory reach are now under scrutiny.

The re-definition of bump stocks as machine guns by the ATF not only challenges the traditional understanding of firearm classifications but also raises significant concerns about the executive branch’s power to enact de facto laws under the guise of regulation. Critics argue that such actions bypass the legislative intent of Congress and set a dangerous precedent for the future of gun rights in America.

While Cargill was first to the punch on the bump stock lawsuit, Texas Gun Rights has been at the forefront of other fights with the ATF’s overreaching regulations. TXGR has successfully secured preliminary injunctions, effectively shielding its members from enforcement of the ATF’s ban on pistol stabilizing braces and forced rest triggers. These legal battles are emblematic of a larger struggle against what many see as an encroachment on Second Amendment rights by an unelected bureaucracy.

Michael Cargill’s statement to The Washington Times captures the essence of the fight: “Once you give them an inch, they will take a mile…If we win, we use this case law down the road for the Second Amendment community.” The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for gun owners across the nation, setting a legal precedent that will either rein in or embolden federal regulatory overreach. As the Supreme Court deliberates, the Second Amendment community watches closely, hoping for a ruling that will uphold the principles of freedom and restraint against governmental overreach.

One response to “Second Amendment Showdown: Supreme Court Reviews ATF Bump Stock Ban”

  1. David Bersick Avatar
    David Bersick

    Bump stocks do not in themselves create a full automatic weapon they simply slow the weapon to bounce back and forth. Forced reset triggers are not full auto they simply force the reset of the trigger and facilitate a shorter reset alowing a shorter and easier trigger pull, they do however simulate full auto, the one downside to them is that have only a safe position and a fire position, whereas the binary trigger allows for three positions safe, semi, and binary where the weapon fires on the trigger pull and again on the release, this system is better although not as fast firing.

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