Bump stock case added to Supreme Court schedule


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a gun rights case involving bump stocks — attachments to semiautomatic rifles — during this term, which started last week and typically runs through early summer, which will be in the middle of the next general election.

The case is Garland v. Cargill, and what is being challenged is a regulation that was made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in response to a mass shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas in 2017. Alaska’s Rep. Mike Cronk was at that music festival, and saved his friend’s life by plugging the man’s bullet holes with his fingers and flagging down an ambulance. Fifty-nine people died in that shooting, including a man who died in Cronk’s arms on the way to the hospital. Another 500 were injured.

The assailant at the Route 91 Harvest Festival had used semi-automatic rifles equipped with bump-stock devices. The subsequent ATF rule required owners of bump stocks to either destroy them or deliver them to an ATF office, or be charged with a federal crime.

Earlier, both the Fifth and Sixths Courts of Appeals had struct down the regulation because the regulation said that the bump stock made the weapon into a machine gun, and the definitions were fuzzy. Federal laws pertaining to guns do not clearly refer to bump stocks, and so the regulation was overreaching the law. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia came to a different conclusion and said that the regulation was correct in saying that the bump stock creates a machine gun.

The Biden Administration challenged the Fifth and Sixth courts ruling and the bump stock owners in D.C. sought their own redress at the Supreme Court. Twenty-five attorneys general, including Alaska’s AG Treg Taylor, filed a lawsuit to stop the new regulation, which affects thousands of Alaskans.

The deadline for registering bump stocks and pistol-braced firearms was May 31, but only a fraction of Americans have apparently complied, according to data mined from the ATF.

The Parkland, Fla. school shooting of 2018 will also be a side topic at the Supreme Court this year. The case, National Rifle Association v. Vullo, challenges the New York Department of Financial Services after its superintendent advised banks and other financial companies doing business in New York to sever their relationships with any gun-rights groups, such as the NRA, and threatened companies by warning of “reputational risk,” a dog whistle to them that she had the power to punish them through the authority of her office if they did not comply. This was a case of government coercion.

The NRA took those statements by then-Superintendent Maria Vullo to court, asserting that the group’s First Amendment rights were being violated by her veiled threats.

A decision by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York went against the NRA, which appealed to the Supreme Court for a final answer on whether Vullo was using her power to leverage companies. The appeals court said “government officials have a right — indeed, a duty — to address issues of public concern,” and that Vullo was only attempting to persuade, not intimidate. That’s not how the NRA sees it, however. To gun-rights advocates, it sounded like coercion.

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative advocacy organization, filed a request to submit an amicus curiae brief in the NRA case, but the court denied that motion, while at the same time allowing the case to join the justices’ calendar.


  1. Good. I mostly trust the Supremes to continue to chip away at the administrative state.

    Though I was disappointed in their recent ghost gun ruling, but thankfully the technology has moved on and the ruling is not impactful (see Cody Wilson’s public statements).

  2. First of all, bump stocks are stupid. It is a really good way to waste ammo/money.
    Next the ban on these things happened because someone shot up a music festival in Las Vegas. Which, interestingly disappeared from the news really quickly, and a lot of unanswered questions remain unanswered. Weird… almost as if the authorities do not want anyone to know motive or methods…
    Finally, if you are a law abiding and responsible individual, and you want to waste your money and ammo with a bump stock, who is it harming? You are using it in a law abiding and responsible manner, so why a ban?
    Oh… I know why. It is the same logic behind all restrictive gun control laws. “A law abiding and responsible person should be banned from using a product they own because someone they have never met might use a similar looking product in an illegal manner.” In other words, you are pre-determined to be guilty for someone else’s crime.

    • Clint Smith always noted that machine-guns only turned money into noise. Tactics count more. That said the 7th Fed Court just ruled that AR-15s are not protected under 2A. Have to admire the Left for their ability to turn reality onto its head but then the court room has never been a place of reality. The AR uses a slightly modified cartridge that was originally created in the civilian sector. AR functionality is derived from firearms first embraced by the civilian market and only later incorporated by the military. The purest link of military only design later used by civilians is the bolt action rifle. Magazines are also not protected by a ruling since the firearm can still be loaded one at a time….. which also means that modern printing presses are not either … only the single stage printing press used by Ben Franklin would be protected. Thomas Jefferson was correct… a nation cannot endure both free and ignorant.

  3. I’m not an expert on those devices but I don’t think the picture used is showing bump stocks. Those look like braces to me.
    I guess it doesn’t really matter though.

    • Those are “short barreled” rifles because of the “pistol brace” attached. The brace was approved by ATF, but under 0bama bin Biden, ATF has “clarified” that the brace makes the pistol a rifle under NFA 1935. Remember…your rights are not absolute, which means that they aren’t rights at all but temporary privileges.

  4. Yes, an old man was somehow able to sneak 100s of pounds of guns and ammo through a tightly, surveilled casino, knock out the shatter-proof window in his hotel room without alerting anybody, and fire and reload simultaneously whilst also simultaneously shooting from ANOTHER hotel suite on the other end of the hotel he was in. Don’t pay attention to the military helicopters that turned their flight trackers and lights off moments before everything happened, or the videos of security and cop cams that can show gunfire coming from the sky, or the witnesses at the concert who stated that the gunfire was coming from multiple hotel windows the sky. Nope, none of that. Just an old nobody who used a bump stock…

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