michael cargill central texas gun works
Michael Cargill (courtesy NCLA)
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As anyone who has considered this issue for more than ten minutes will ineluctably comprehend, the entire purpose of writing laws down is to guarantee that, until those laws are changed by legislators, they remain in effect regardless of the transient passions of the mob. The law is the law, and it means what it means, even if there is “tremendous” public pressure to make it mean something else. If we want a government that is able to invent law on the fly in response to tragic events, we can abandon the Constitution and refashion the U.S. as a dictatorship. Until then, we must assiduously demand that all statutory alterations be achieved via the appropriate channels — which, in this case, are both houses of the United States Congress, followed by the president’s pen.

None of those channels were utilized by the ATF. The House passed nothing. The Senate passed nothing. The president signed nothing. Not a single line of law was amended. As the Fifth Circuit concluded, “a plain reading of the statutory language, paired with close consideration of the mechanics of a semi-automatic firearm, reveals that a bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of ‘machinegun’ set forth in the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act.”

This was true before 2018. It was true in 2018. And yet the ATF still saw fit to disregard the plain text of the statute and, on the flimsiest of pretexts, appropriate to itself the lawmaking power that the Constitution grants solely to Congress.

Which, of course, is not how our system is supposed to work. Indeed, as the Fifth Circuit was at pains to note, even when ambiguities do exist in federal law — which was not the case in Michael Cargill v. Garland, et al., but often is in other cases — the courts are obliged to bias their interpretations in favor of the defendant and against the state. “Even if we are wrong” in our reading of the law, the ATF’s prior determinations confirm that “the statute is at least ambiguous,” the majority wrote. “And if the statute is ambiguous, Congress must cure that ambiguity, not the federal courts.”

You know, like it says in Article I of the Constitution. You can look it up.

— Charles C.W. Cooke in A Federal Court Thwarts the ATF’s Unconstitutional Power Grab

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33 COMMENTS

    • Gun Control enjoys standing when narrow minds are fixated on going tit for tat over such mundane things as bumpy stock contraptions, etc. Center-X should be abolishing Gun-Control like Slavery…After all History Confirms Gun Control is the best pal racism and genocide ever had.

      For the 1968 Gun-Control-Act to still be on the books in America is a colossal insult to injury, to say the least.

      • in what way was that a reply to oldboy?
        credit for creating a vast array of ways to express the same sentiment over and over, but all that and more deducted for thinking it doesn’t belong where it does.
        at the bottom.
        go put a chicom dot on a caliphate build.

        • Yeah, she doesn’t have a problem with Turk blasters even though they are currently and have historically perpetuated genocide on every neighbor they’ve had since invading and stealing Anatolia.

  1. Few people realize how far out on a legal limb the present day regulatory state lies. We have the ATF deciding that it can ban things that don’t meet statutory definitions “because reasons”, the CDC thinks it can ban evictions nationwide, OSHA thinks it can mandate vaccinations, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is looking at banning 40% of the stoves in America. They’re so far away from the ambit given to them by Congress that the courts are finally taking notice.

    But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The unseen base of it is the string of credibility-straining decisions by generations of courts and legislatures to read a breathtaking array of powers into the Constitution’s passing reference to regulating “commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states.” This brief passage has been treated as authorizing the feds to do everything from ban marijuana to mandate how much water a toilet uses to flush. It’s hard to imagine the framers of the Constitution thought it necessary to specifically call out things like patent law and bankruptcy individually, if they intended this short phrase to encompass everything from gun control to the minimum wage.

    • We’re basically at the edge of tyranny. It’s escalating. It took them 100 years to get to this point. Climate Alarmism is the gift that keeps giving to the regulatory state. The mob obediently follows along because they buy into the fear mongering. The mask is off, but over half of the country doesn’t notice or care.

    • Unfortunately the process still seems to be craft bad rules, implement, and then let the courts sort it out over various years and conflicting opinions. It’s too bad the SC or other courts didn’t allow some kind of preliminary injunction, so meanwhile products have been taken off the market, companies shut down, or forced to surrender inventory for destruction. And with the ATF greenlighting a federal ban, lots of states piled on with their own bans, so even if the ATF ruling is eventually completely rolled back, the states will need to be figured out too if their bans can stand. Quite a mess, meanwhile states like NY, CA, and IL keep firing out new legislation to see what can stick.

        • It took them long enough, but the LED lamps finally have a color temperature that isn’t a hideous shade of blue ghoul.

          I no longer care about the lack of tungsten filament light bulbs. I can imagine you might in colder climates, where the extra heat in winter offsets your heating bills. Down here in sub-tropical hell, I no longer miss ’em…

  2. About damn time a court ruled according to the Constitution and Bill of Rights on this issue which the ATF invented out of th8in air.
    Now the same needs to be done with all the “laws” that restrict orinfringe on We The People’s 2nd A right to keep and bear arms.
    Also the ones responsible for this abomination need to face justice.

  3. This is what has happened in every country that has moved to tyranny. Its ‘government’ ‘parts’ (‘agencies’ in this case) started ‘making law’ on their own to impose more and more ‘the government says’ and they seek to disarm the populace. Those are two of the defining traits of a government trying to impose a tyranny.

    Its happened to us before, Britain started making more and more ‘rules’ and ‘laws’ through its ‘parts’ and although our major beef pointed at the crown it was really the British ‘governors’ and ‘military’ (the ‘parts’ – ‘agencies’ today in parallel) that ‘interpreted’ the intent of the crown so the crown could do as it pleased, and they tried to disarm us. Its happening again today, Biden today is encouraging these agencies to act like they do (remember executive orders?) and they ‘interpret’ what Biden wants to basically make law bypassing congress and the constitution, and by the ATF and supporting various anti-gun agenda and pushing his own anti-gun agenda and that of the democrats anti-gun agenda is trying to disarm us.

    Its not only the ATF. The EPA and CDC is doing it too as is the Treasury and Educational. That’s how a tyranny starts, a government deciding it can do as it pleases and acting contrary to their ‘guiding principals’ (the Constitution for us).

    In the colonial period the colonists tried to ‘reason’ with the crown and it didn’t work and we ended up The United States Of America a free republic but the founders warned against this very thing of abuse of ‘power of government’ and in the Constitution included Article 1 to define how things were suppose to be.

    And now you know why they want us disarmed, but in case you don’t its because a tyranny is what Biden wants (which is why he is issuing executive orders to basically ignore the constitution like he did to the ATF), his government to do as he pleases (not the peoples government doing as the people direct) and also deep down they know that if they can continue to implement this tyranny that at some point they are afraid the second amendment will be put to use to depose them as the founders envisioned. The rest of the anti-gun ‘leadership’ want this tyranny too, they stand to gain the most from it in affluence.

    We had this problem again after we were founded as a free republic. A group of ‘self-interest’ pushing our new government to do as it pleased and our new government started to do as it pleased, thus the Bill of Rights to further define what the people rights were that government could not violate. And here we are again today with the government again trying to do as it pleases. The founders warned against this, and today its come true again.

    We have the courts today, but this is why, one of the reasons, we have the second amendment and why the founders included it because sometimes ‘reasoning’ with ‘the crown’ doesn’t work.

    • Would be nice if we could force cowardly legislators to vote yea or nay and not present. The ATF and other alphabet agencies need to be reigned in and forced to have their “rules” voted on in the legislature. A true representative would put forth bills relating to such issues.

      • Well we have the courts today to do the ‘reasoning with the crown’ for us, but like I said this is why, one of the reasons, we have the second amendment and why the founders included it because sometimes ‘reasoning’ with ‘the crown’ doesn’t work.

        Its true, the ATF and other agencies of government are out of control. They have usurped power they are not suppose to have. The government is basically out of control by putting its self above the people by ignoring the constitution. They need to be reigned in and put in their place which is below and subservient to the people and not above them. So its good the 5th circuit legally and constitutionally slapped the ATF back into reality here.

    • California just banished about a quarter million highway trucks from their “pweshis” roads. I guess their gummit dweebs never heard of the Interstate Commerce Clause nor the Full Faith and Credit clause.
      Well, the backlash of businesses leaving the state and goods not coming in will be “interesting” Maybe we’ll be getting cheaper eggs before long as their rules for egg laying pens will no longer be very important as California will be emptying at an increasing rate.
      That state seems to be prelude to the rest of them, though. They enact goofy laws (assault weapin bans, mag cap limits, their handgun list” BGC on mmo WITH a heavy tax per round, and somehow prohibit interstate transport of ammunition inbound to their state….. bullet buttons,

  4. How about when the CDC legislated that renters did not have to pay rent due to COVID? How was that ignored? What about Landlord rights?

    • Serious injustice and totally unconstitutional. And where were the cowardly legislators on this issue. They were just fine letting the CDC take the heat for it. That way their constituents would never know where they stood and the complicit media would never ask. The US media is a most dangerous institution and certainly not what our founder’s imagined.

  5. This ruling has very wide reaching concequences that will also affect other government agencies. Imagine having a fresh water well on your property and the EPA comes along and makes a rule change and says that that water coming out of the ground on your property is no longer yours. They claim any under ground spring or water source is in fact owned by the government and you have no right to that water and now they will restrict that and charge you or tax you for that water use. Don’t think it can’t happen. It is a good thing that this bumpstock ruling actually defines facts rather then giving authority to change law with no congressional law making or oversight.

  6. I never wanted a bump stock, but now I’m getting more than one. Dumb bastards sell more guns and ammunition than anyone.

  7. Gun control is racist. It has always been racist. It is still racist. White people are “just collateral damage”. In the government’s racist attempt at enforcing gun control. The most terrifying and feared thing in America. Is an articulate black person with an automatic weapon.

    America was a much safer place when black people could buy their machine guns through the mail order catalogs. With direct delivery to their homes. Including the ammunition.

    And you know what??? So could everyone else.

    And this whole argument just is not about the bump stock. It’s about whether or not you have the right to private property in this country.

    I think everyone should be able to EDC a machine pistol. It would force everyone, through Self preservation, to be more polite to each other.

  8. Dontchya’all just LOVE a court ruling that strongly resembles a baseball bat?

    BATF bnd over, grab your ankles, and take it straight. Bout bloody time they got a few feathers clipped off their wings.

  9. What got me with the ATF’s rewrite, is that it made no sense. They so wrongly described how a Bump Stock functions. So provably wrong, that the rewrite shouldn’t have held up to the very first court challenges. Thankfully, the case went to a court where a judge recognized ATF’s error and overreach.

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