Court Battles

Bump stock ban remains intact after appeals court deadlocks

A tie vote by a federal appeals court Friday left intact a Trump-era ban on “bump stock” devices that modify semi-automatic rifles to fire more rapidly.

The 8-8 vote by the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit affirmed the ruling of a lower court judge who upheld the federal ban in 2019.

The Trump administration outlawed the devices after a gunman in Las Vegas in 2017 used the rapid-fire accessory to kill 58 people and wound hundreds in the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. 

The court sided with the administration’s argument that the ban falls within the scope of authority Congress gave federal agencies to regulate machine guns.

The group Gun Owners of America (GOA), a challenger in the case, told The Hill in a statement that it would seek relief in the Supreme Court.

“GOA’s fight is not over,” said the group’s senior vice president Erich Pratt. “The fact that the Sixth Circuit was so divided that it could not even give us an answer to our question means that the Supreme Court must eventually decide whether unelected (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) bureaucrats have the power to create new federal crimes out of thin air.”

The Supreme Court last year declined to take up a separate legal effort by gun rights advocates to overturn the bump stock ban.

Updated 4:47 p.m.

Tags Bump stock Gun control

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