Michael Cargill of Central Texas Gun Works has challenged the ATF's bump stock ban.
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Ryan Katz is an attorney with Florida law firm Katz & Phillips also known as the Firearm Firm, one of the leading gun law and gun rights supporting law firms in the country. As his firm works to keep gun owners, particularly Florida gun owners, informed of changes to laws, so that hopefully, they don’t necessarily need to become clients, Katz penned a blog post immediately following last week’s striking down of the bump stock ban by the Supreme Court.

In his article, Katz, son of David Katz, who with James Phillips, founded the firm, makes an excellent point that all gun owners should heed: While this is a huge win for 2A advocates across the country, state laws can still restrict bump stocks for some gun owners depending on where they live. In fact, according to World Population Review, 14 states and the District of Columbia currently have bump stock bans on the books, including Florida. The other states are Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, Nevada, California and Hawaii.

Following is Katz’s article:

On June 14, 2024, the United States Supreme Court struck down ATF’s ban on bump stocks. As with many of ATF’s rules, the Supreme Court found that the ATF was misapplying and unlawfully expanding the powers that the law grants them to regulate certain firearms. For those who are not aware, a shooter can bump fire a semi-automatic weapon to fire it far faster, typically using the recoil of the firearm in a way which allows the trigger to be pulled very quickly while the shooter maintains constant pressure with their finger. Certain accessories exist which make this technique of firing a semi-automatic weapon easier to do. It is these accessories which the ATF made illegal to own by categorizing them as machineguns or machinegun parts. The Supreme Court found that these accessories absolutely do not convert your weapon into a machine gun, and the ATF therefore cannot prohibit them under their authority to regulate machineguns. The Supreme Court’s full opinion can be found here.

Bump-Fire Stocks are Still Illegal to Possess in Florida

Before diving into the Supreme Court’s decision and how it affects Federal law, it is important to note that bump stocks are still illegal under Florida law. The Supreme Court’s decision has struck down the ATF’s rule regarding bump stocks. However, the decision does nothing to effect actual laws written about bump stocks, including Florida Statute § 790.222, which is titled simply, “Bump-fire Stocks Prohibited.” This law defines bump-fire stocks as, “a conversion kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device used to alter the rate of fire of a firearm to mimic automatic weapon fire or which is used to increase the rate of fire to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semiautomatic firearm unassisted by a kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device.”  To learn more about Florida’s bump stock law, click here, or click here to learn about everything covered by Florida’s bump stock ban (much more than bump stocks).

Case Background

The case that this issue arose from was Garland v. Cargill. Michael Cargill was one of thousands of Americans who surrendered bump stocks to the ATF when the ATF first criminalized them. He filed a law suit challenging the ATF’s new and arbitrary rule. The Supreme Court of the United States heard argument earlier this year, and on June 14, 2024, made their final ruling. The decision was made 6-3, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing the opinion for the majority. Justice Thomas is the same Justice who wrote the majority opinion in the 2022 landmark gun rights case, NYSRPA v. Bruen.

Bump Stocks are Not Machineguns

The ATF put forward several arguments to try to persuade the Supreme Court that they were correct in categorizing bump stock accessories as machineguns. The most important thing to know is the Supreme Court’s actual ruling, which is that “ATF exceeded its statutory authority by issuing a Rule that classifies bump stocks as machineguns.” The Court gave several reasons for its decision.

First and most simply, the Court found that a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock cannot fire more than one shot “by a single function of the trigger.” Although bump firing allow the shooter to fire more quickly, the trigger is pulled one time for every one bullet fired. The ATF argued that the shooter is maintaining constant pressure, rather than physically moving their finger to pull the trigger for each shot. The Court found that moving one’s finger in this way is not what the statute described. Rather, to qualify the bump stocks as machineguns, the ATF would have to show multiple shots per function of the trigger itself.

The Court went on to state that while a rifle with a bump stock could not fire more than one shot per function of the trigger, “even if it could, it would not do so automatically.” To fire a rifle with a bump stock, additional forward pressure is required by the shooter with their non-trigger hand. The statutory definition of machinegun is very clear in saying that a machinegun fires multiple rounds per trigger pull “automatically.” While this definition of course includes holding the trigger down as part of this “single function of the trigger,” it absolutely does not include the requirement to use additional force with your other hand. To quote the Court, “the statutory definition of a ‘machinegun’ does not include a firearm that shoots more than one round ‘automatically’ by a single pull of the trigger AND THEN SOME.” The ATF’s argument could not succeed because it fundamentally misunderstood or miscategorized how machineguns work and how bump stocks work.

The ATF made a final desperate argument to try to have their unlawful rule upheld by making an argument typically referred to as “the presumption against ineffectiveness.” This presumption essentially means that judges should not interpret a statute in a way that renders it useless or makes it very easy to elude. The majority found that their interpretation of the machinegun statute absolutely does not render the statute meaningless or ineffective. The ATF is still allowed to regulate machineguns. “A law is not useless merely because it draws a line more narrowly than one of its conceivable statutory purposes might suggest . . . § 5845(b) still regulates all traditional machineguns.” Simply put, the majority stated that the regulation of actual machineguns is still valid and enforceable, and the fact that bump stocks allow non-machineguns to be fired more quickly absolutely does not prevent the enforcement of regulations about real machineguns.

Another Second Amendment Victory

Garland v. Cargill marks another in a series of recent wins for Second Amendment advocates. Unlawful ATF rules have been suspended or struck down far more regularly in recent years. With any luck and with the continued vigilance of gun rights advocates all around the country, we can certainly expect many more.

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Some bumpstock laws remain in effect because….the SC ruled on an administrative procedure, not a constitutional question. States will be blocked from creating state laws only when the items are addressed as the constitutional issue at hand.

    The Cargill case is not, was not a 2A “win”. It was/is a process/procedure case. Congress can (and will) pass a law changing the definition of “machine gun”. And that will be a 2A case.

    • It’s still a 2A win. A lot of bad, unconstitutional 2A (and other) infringements happen through bureaucratic fiat. The ATF is notorious for this, but it just got a lot harder for the government to do.

      You are correct, however, that we need to keep vigilant, since congress will now undoubtedly try to accomplish what the deep state no longer can. The deep state will be looking for its own loopholes as well.

      • “Cargill” is a “win” against “Chevron”, curtailing the freedom for executive agencies to create law the legislature is afraid, or too lazy, to fix.

        A “2A win” would be for the SC to rule NFA and GCA are utterly unconstitutional. (Both are the alleged source of authority for BATFEE to regulate guns)

    • maybe congress will act…or maybe they’ll leave it to the states…but this does take ATF out of the picture and the possibility of federal prosecution….

  2. I don’t see Florida’s law regarding “bump-stocks” (nor the age prohibition) surviving a suit on Constitutional grounds in state court.

    • Not at all being snarky, good luck with finding a good case with standing if they do not want to take it.

  3. to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semiautomatic firearm unassisted by a kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device.

    So are my belt loops illegal? If you don’t know why I’m asking go look at some YouTube videos of people using their thumb and beltloop with an AR or AK.

    • Hey did they ban Jerry Michulek’s electric trigger finger? Jus sayin. Anywho ipso facto illegal in Illinois as a far billionaire banned the rifles that use them(or so Dims think). Mighty few “registered”🙄😀

      • When my older brother bird hunted in his teens, wardens at the time got several calls about people hearing somebody shooting a semi-auto shottie by the lake with what must have been an extended mag tube.

        When they approached my brother and his friends, they found out he only owned a break-open single-shot. He was just very very good at fast reloading after each shot, as he demonstrated to the wardens, with shotshells ready to go between the fingers of his support hand and between his teeth.

  4. Many years ago I moved to a free state. Kentucky. California is still a free state. You can do pot in public You can have sex in public. So yes. California is still “a free state.”

    • Why don’t we do it in the road
      No one will be watching us.
      Marijuana is legal in California Chris, good or bad the majority of the people in California voted to legalize it.
      Kentucky has legal gambling on horses, Kansas doesn’t. I hate Kentucky, gambling is an addiction that can wreck families and
      legal butt secx with a horse is a little weird. I guess, whatever floats your boat and if it makes the horse run faster it just might win the Triple Crown.
      I’m betting on the horse that just got butt fcked.
      Look at that California Stud horse go, 16 furlongs and hasn’t even worked up a lather.
      What’s its name?
      “Winnie the Poop.”

  5. We need to get Florida to undo ALL the knee jerk laws they passed under Scott after the Cowards of Broward made the Marjory Stoneman Douglas into a total disgrace. We still pay for their incompetence.

  6. Dettlebach is Jewish, why do all Jewish people with power want to disarmn American citizens?

  7. Who gives a shit about a bump stock. I have a 4″ third model hand ejector in .44 SPL. It’s mint. Rides in an El Paso Saddelery Tom Threepersons. Belt and cartridge carrier to complement. A stag handle Randall riding shotgun. Those things that matter.

  8. So does Justice Sotomayor’s concession that semi automatic rifles are commonly available and therefore in common use? Washington Gun Law President, William Kirk, dives into the one sentence that has the Youtubiverse all spun up from the minority opinion in the matter of Cargill v. Garland. This now successful challenge to ATF’s bump stock ban is a mere 19 pages long, but the dissenting opinion is 18 pages in length. But of all those 18 pages, it is one sentence from the Justice that has many wondering if she has now conceded that assault weapon bans, are in fact, unconstitutional? Perhaps we need to first understand the historical background to the common use test so that you can decide how critical this admission truly is.

  9. BREAKING: Senate Dems VOTING On Retaliatory Bump Stock Ban Bill… The BUMP Act Is Actually Its Name.

  10. Mark Smith discusses some of the new and future issues arising from the Supreme Court’s decision in Garland v. Cargill about the ATF’s bump stock ban.

    • You know, I didn’t understand exactly what you meant when you kept saying I didn’t understand ‘context’.
      For instance I don’t understand the context of this post as opposed to the article you’ve posted on.

      But then I did some research on what republican conservatives think ‘context’ means and now I are much smarter:

      “If abortion was the best choice for your girlfriend, why try to deny that choice to other women?” Clark asked on his “Next with Kyle Clark” segment.

      “Let me give you some context about that situation because I’m a pro-life Catholic and I believe everyone should choose life,” Holtorf said.“

      https://www.salon.com/2024/06/14/colorado-pro-life-candidate-richard-holtorf-grilled-on-girlfriends-abortion/

      Apparently to the conservatives, ‘context’ is just another word for hypocrisy.

      • “But then I did some research on what republican conservatives think ‘context’ means and now I are much smarter:

        “If abortion was the best choice for your girlfriend, why try to deny that choice to other women?” Clark asked on his “Next with Kyle Clark” segment.

        “Let me give you some context about that situation because I’m a pro-life Catholic and I believe everyone should choose life,” Holtorf said.“

        https://www.salon.com/2024/06/14/colorado-pro-life-candidate-richard-holtorf-grilled-on-girlfriends-abortion/

        Apparently to the conservatives, ‘context’ is just another word for hypocrisy.”

        First, you still don’t understand what context means. This is TTAG, the Biden piece is about the 2A which involves guns, and not abortion.

        “You know, I didn’t understand exactly what you meant when you kept saying I didn’t understand ‘context’.
        For instance I don’t understand the context of this post as opposed to the article you’ve posted on.”

        And you still don’t understand what context means.

  11. October 1, 2017

    Stephen Paddock fired more than 1,000 rounds, killing 60 people and wounding at least 413.

    The mass shooting occurred between 10:05 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.

    He initially started out with a few single gunshots before firing in bursts that usually ranged from 80 rounds to 100 rounds.

  12. October 1, 2017

    Stephen Paddock fired more than 1,000 rounds, killing 60 people and wounding at least 413.

    The mass shooting occurred between 10:05 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.

    He initially started out with a few single gunshots before firing in bursts that usually ranged from 80 rounds to 100 rounds.

    • If that is the case how was he firing 80-100 rounds considering (AFAIK) that no drum magazines were found?

Comments are closed.