SCOTUS Strikes Down Atf’s Bump Stock Ban: Alito, Thomas Emphasize Clear Legislative Intent

SCOTUS Strikes Down Atf's Bump Stock Ban Alito, Thomas Emphasize Clear Legislative Intent

There’s “little doubt,” Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote, that Congress would have deemed bump stocks like machine guns.

The gadgets, which let semiautomatic rifles to discharge bullets at nearly the rate of machine guns, were prohibited by federal authorities in 2018 after the Las Vegas mass shooter used them to kill 60 people and injure over 400 others.

However, Alito and the four conservative judges overturned the prohibition, arguing that the text of Congress’ definition of machine guns, on which the ban was based, was insufficiently specific.

“The statutory text is clear, and we must follow it,” the textualist justice stated.

On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives rule that classified bump stocks as “machine guns.” The gadgets exploit a gun’s recoil to quickly restart the trigger, allowing weapons to fire up to 800 rounds per minute.

The ATF had previously approved the devices, but they were reclassified during the Trump administration following the October 1, 2017, incident, in which a gunman opened fire on concertgoers at a country music festival from a nearby hotel.

Michael Cargill, an Austin gun shop owner, filed a lawsuit against the federal government. He contended that it interpreted firearms law too broadly and that Congress never specifically intended to prohibit bump stocks, attacking the rule on legislative grounds rather than Second Amendment safeguards.

In their conclusion on Friday, the court’s conservative conservatives concurred.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, stated that a bump stock is not a machine gun since it does not discharge more than one bullet per trigger pull; rather, it accelerates the number of times the trigger is squeezed. “A bump stock does not convert a semi-automatic rifle into a machinegun any more than a shooter with a lightning-fast trigger finger does,” wrote Thomas.

In his judgment, Alito agreed with Thomas that the “horrible shooting spree” in Las Vegas demonstrated that a bump stock might bring the same level of death as a machine gun.

However, he stated that Congress must make it clear that it also wants to ban bump stocks by revising or enacting new legislation.

“Now that the situation is clear, Congress can act,” businessinsider stated.

In a dissenting opinion supported by the other liberal members of the court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor slammed the judgment as “artificially narrow” and warned that it will have “deadly consequences.” “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,” she stated.

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