Supreme Court Won’t Block Ban on Bump Stocks

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Supreme Court on Thursday again rejected a gun rights group’s attempt to temporarily block the Trump administration’s ban on rapid-fire gun attachments known as bump stocks, which went into effect this week.

A bump stock is attached to a semiautomatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range on Oct. 4, 2017, in South Jordan, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The court announced in a one-sentence order that it would not block the policy. Gun Owners of America filed the request for a stay on Monday, just before the ban on bump stocks went into effect.

The Trump administration announced the new policy in December, making it so the devices are classified as machine guns, which are illegal. Bump stocks are gun attachments that allow semiautomatic gun to mimic how automatic weapons fire.

The policy came after a gunman used one of the devices in a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured. 

Gun Owners of America took the case to the high court after a federal district court and later the Sixth Circuit declined to block the move. The group says the ban goes against prior rulings from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, turning people who have legally owned the device into potential criminals.

“The final rule reverses well over a decade of consistent ATF classification of bump stocks as unregulated firearm accessories,” the group’s application states.

The Firearms Policy Foundation, which separately challenged the policy in Washington, D.C. federal court, similarly asked the Supreme Court to block the order this week, but Chief Justice John Roberts denied the application on Tuesday. 

The D.C. Circuit has allowed for a limited stay of the order that covers only the people who brought that lawsuit and the members of the advocacy groups that joined them in the litigation.

Now that the ban is in effect, people who have not turned in their bump stocks face potential criminal penalties or fines.

Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, said the group will “continue to pursue” the case through the lower courts, with eyes on potentially reaching the Supreme Court if necessary.

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