Time to lay in a heavier supply of popcorn. Today the Supreme Court granted cert in Garland v. Cargill, the case challenging the Trump era bump stock ban. The about face by the ATF following the Las Vegas mass shooting came at the direction of the Trump administration. ATF, which had previously approved sales of bump fire stocks as legal accessories used regulatory fiat to do a 180 and reclassify them as machine guns.
The Supreme Court’s hand was forced here by a circuit court split. While bump stock bans had been upheld in the Tenth and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Fifth and Sixth Circuits ruled the ban unconstitutional.
From NBC News . . .
Those challenging the ban said the legal definition of machine gun has been distorted beyond recognition and argue that courts should not defer to the federal agency’s interpretation.
Well yes. The definition of a machine gun has been established in law by Congress. The Chevron deference that courts usually give to federal regulatory agencies doesn’t apply in this case because of the clear redefinition of what constitutes a machine gun under the Gun Control Act of 1934. ATF bases its expanded redefinition of bump stocks on the 1968 Gun Control Act.
We shall see which version prevails. Court watchers have guessed that the Justices are looking for ways of chopping the legs out from under Chevron deference. This may give them a good opportunity to do just that.