Oral Arguments On Bump Stock Ban Heard by SCOTUS

CBS Austin Writes

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Garland V. Cargill, a case that centers on whether a bump stock qualifies as a machine gun. A bump stock is a gun attachment that may be used on semi-automatic weapons to discharge hundreds of rounds, which some have compared to machine guns.

The ban on bump stocks came from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, after the deadly mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival in 2017. The shooter used the accessory, and 60 were killed in the attack. Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works, challenged the rule. The case wound up at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ultimately sided with Cargill.

Barrett and Gorsuch suggest Congress needed to approve a ban
One central theme of the arguments was the question of whether Congress – rather than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – should have approved the ban.

Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett said she was “sympathetic” to the Biden administration’s arguments in defense of the bump stock ban, but signaled she had concerns about a federal agency deciding the matter unilaterally.

The ATF reclassified the devices as machine guns in 2018. That would mean a decades-old law that bans those weapons in most cases would also apply to the devices.

“Intuitively, I am entirely sympathetic to your argument. I mean, it seems like, yes, this is functioning like a machine gun would,” Barrett said.

Takeaways from today’s Supreme Court hearing on the bump stock ban
From CNN’s John Fritze and Devan Cole

The Supreme Court’s conservatives pressed the Biden administration Wednesday to justify a federal ban on bump stocks, a device that can convert a semi-automatic rifle into a weapon that can fire far more rapidly.

But after 90 minutes of argument in the high-profile dispute, it appeared that the court was deeply divided over whether or not to strike it down.

Here are the key things to know:

A central theme of the arguments was the question of whether Congress rather than an agency should have been the one to act on bump stocks. Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch asked questions along those lines.
The 2017 Las Vegas massacre loomed large. The Biden administration attorney defending the prohibition repeatedly reminded the justices of the event that gave way to the need to ban bump stocks.
What is a bump stock, anyway? Many of the questions Wednesday focused on how the devices operate as the justices tried to assess if they are covered by the law banning machine guns. That law, which has its origins in the 1930s, defines “machine gun” as a weapon that fires more than one round with “a single function of the trigger.”


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