US Supreme Court Lifts Ban on Bump Stocks, Controversial Gun Accessory

The US Supreme Court has lifted the ban on bump stocks, a rapid-fire gun accessory used in the deadliest mass shooting in US history. The court’s 6-3 ruling determined that the government did not have the authority to ban these accessories. aas reported by BBC.

The bump stock ban was implemented by the Trump administration following their use in the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting, which resulted in 60 deaths. However, a Texas gun shop owner challenged the ban, arguing that the government overreached by classifying bump stocks as machine guns. Machine guns, with certain exceptions, are largely illegal under federal law, especially those manufactured after May 19, 1986. According to Reuters.

The Supreme Court ruled that a semi-automatic rifle equipped with a bump stock does not meet the federal definition of a machine gun. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion, stating that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) had overstepped its authority. The court highlighted that rifles with bump stocks do not fire more than one shot per trigger pull automatically.

The decision was met with dissent from the court’s three liberal justices—Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Sotomayor warned that reinstating bump stocks could have deadly consequences, drawing an analogy by saying, “When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.”

The 1986 Firearms Act defines machine guns as weapons that can shoot more than one shot automatically without manual reloading per single trigger function. During a hearing in March, some conservative justices expressed skepticism about the ban, noting the technical differences between bump-stock guns and machine guns. Justice Neil Gorsuch remarked that while he understood the rationale for banning bump stocks, it was Congress’s responsibility to enact such a ban explicitly.

Bump stocks utilize a rifle’s recoil to rapidly fire multiple rounds, replacing the stock held against the shoulder and allowing the gun to move back and forth between the shoulder and trigger finger. This motion enables the gun to fire repeatedly without the user moving their finger. In the Las Vegas shooting, the perpetrator used bump stocks on 12 semi-automatic rifles, enabling him to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, similar to machine guns. told by NPR.

A spokeswoman for Donald Trump’s campaign, whose administration enacted the original ban, stated that “the court has spoken and their decision should be respected.” Conversely, a spokesman for President Joe Biden, who is set to debate Trump on June 27 as both vie for re-election, criticized the decision, saying, “Weapons of war have no place on the streets of America.”