The Trump Administration Has Its Hands Full in Defending the Bump Stock Ban

Bump fire stock ban atf trump

Nick Leghorn for TTAG

When the ATF, at the Trump administration’s direction, waived is regulatory magic want and announced that bump fire stocks (which they’d previously approved) had magically become machine guns, they created hundreds of thousands of criminals. People who had legally purchased bump fire stocks and then had to make the choice of destroying them, turning them in, or becoming an outlaw.

In March, the Supreme Court denied cert on a motion for a preliminary injunction in Guedes v. BATFE, but the underlying case is still moving forward. In an opinion written for the cert denial, Justice Neil Gorsuch, attacking arbitrary interpretations of law by federal regulatory agencies, wondered why the courts should “defer to such bureaucratic pirouetting” by the ATF.

He’s not the only judge who isn’t impressed with the administration’s reasoning in banning bump fire stocks.

On March 30, Judge Brantley Starr, a Trump appointee who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, issued a blistering opinion in Lane v. United States that basically accused the DOJ of ignoring foundational constitutional principles in its defense of Trump’s bump stock ban.

The Justice Department justified the ban as a lawful exercise of the “federal police power,” Starr observed. But “the federal government forgot the Tenth Amendment and the structure of the Constitution itself,” which grants no such power to the feds. “It is concerning that the federal government believes it swallowed the states whole. Assuming the federal government didn’t abolish the states to take their police power,” Starr wrote, he had no choice but to deny the government’s motion to dismiss the case. He then tartly added: “The Court will allow the government to try again and explain which enumerated power justifies the federal regulation.”

– Damon Root in Trump’s Bump Stock Ban Is Under Fire From His Own Judicial Appointees

comments

  1. avatar No one of consequence says:

    Well, good.

    I certainly prefer Trump over the alternatives we had at the time, but he isn’t perfect and this is an example.

    1. avatar Leigh says:

      Just funny that ATF under Obama approved them.
      See my post below…binary triggers and Hyper-Fire/Hyper-Gat…ssshhhh

      1. avatar Ron says:

        Yeah but the conservative court picks by Trump are really a huge boon to us. You know a court pick is good when they have no qualms about ruling against who selected them. If we can manage to keep Trump and a GOP senate until 2024 the court will be remarkably better then it’s been in decades.

        1. avatar Dude says:

          That’s really the main reason to vote republican this fall.

        2. avatar GS650G says:

          Only if RBG retires to the bench in the sky. She’s going to be 87 this year and seems to be immune to death.

        3. avatar Ray Gunn says:

          @GS650G You mean RoboJudge?

        4. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Ron,
          “You know a court pick is good when they have no qualms about ruling against who selected them.”

          Chief Justice John Roberts was nominated by a Republican President, but has shown himself to be an ally of the Left and no friend of conservatives…

        5. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          Haz, we got the ‘Heller’ and ‘Mac Donald’ decision thanks to Roberts.

          Then they (likely) blackmailed or threatened his family…

        6. avatar Justsomeguy says:

          You know a court pick is good when they have no qualms about ruling against expanded government power.

          Fixed it for you.

        7. avatar Biatec says:

          The Heller decision is terrible. It’s designed to allow the most bannings possible without making anyone do anything about it.

        8. avatar Top Hall says:

          Somebody has pics of Justice Roberts with a goat?

      2. avatar Scott says:

        I think the Obama Administration approved several measures (and not just ATF) to lay traps for those who push the envelope so to speak. Then something would eventually happen like the Route 91 Harvest music festival attack and then it or some future administration could really lower the boom.

        The President has some firearm experience and saw bump stocks for what they are – toys for big boys so he ordered ATF to come up with something narrowly crafted to eliminate bump stocks and nothing else. They obliged in typical bureaucratic, not very inspired, fashion and came up with the current indefensible regulation that will not stand, but got the MSM, Moms Demand Action, etc. off the topic. Unless another incident like the harvest festival occurs bump stocks will not be revisited.

        1. avatar Ing says:

          “…narrowly crafted to eliminate bump stocks and nothing else.” Right. That’s why there are court cases arguing right now that *anything* with a fire rate above some arbitrary limit is legally a machine gun.

    2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      There is no one. And I mean no one, who is making the case of machine gun ownership in the hands of the general public. And YouTubers don’t count. No one is making a detailed thought out argument for general public ownership of MG’s. In fact “gun owners” call the bump stock “a range toy”???

      What other technological improvements will the so called “gun community” just dismiss out of hand? Will it be 3-D printing perhaps? I have faith, in human ingenuity, that the reliability and durability concerns will all be solved in a few more years. I think the “old world” gun manufacturers don’t like competition. Including their supporters.

      As I said before on TTAG. The sten gun was a terrible machine gun that got its users killed. But at $10 a copy it’s what the UK could afford during WW2. Over 2 million where made.
      More guns in the hands of the civilian population really does mean less crime. And more machine guns in the hands of the civilian population means a far less chance of tyranny coming to a city near you. Including a less expensive alternative to a real machine gun.

      ps. The rich. Criminal or law abiding will always be able to afford a machine gun. Obama did hand them out “like candy” to police all over the country.

    3. avatar JoeyJ says:

      I agree. Trump was no gem of a Conservative Presidential candidate. But, he was sure the best of the two sorry and sorrier choices presented. I didn’t vote for Trump. But, I sure as Hell voted against Hillary!!!
      Once again, American politics came down to voting for the lesser of the two evils.
      And, whoever the Demorats run in this election, I’ll vote the same…..same choice as always.
      It’s been decades since we have had a respectable choice.

      1. avatar JBS says:

        The Chicago columnist Mike Royko covered the issue completely: “Vote for the candidate that disgusts you least.”

  2. avatar Leigh says:

    I wonder how many were actually sold…and how many were actually turned in or destroyed…
    Are binary triggers next? Or the Hyper-Gat and similar add-ons?
    Jerry Miculek is surely on the list…along with other fast-fingered shooters. Right?
    Would leftists even be happy with single-shot bolt action?

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      “Would leftists even be happy with single-shot bolt action?”
      Maybe in the hands of cops who’ve sworn their loyalty and they have control over their lives.
      you and me, never.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      I believe that Miculek is being cited by the plaintiff as an example because he can fire faster and more accurately with his finger than he can with a bump stock.

    3. avatar Hasaf says:

      I expect pistol braces to be the next one up for the ban list. But then, I don’t think the brilliant move would be to SBR everything.

      Looking into my crystal ball, an expansion of the Hughes Amendment to include all NFA items is probable.

      Before people jump all over me with the usual finger-pointing and assorted forms of, “You are a bad person!” directed at me. Understand that I am not in favour of these things, but that does not change the fact that I expect them.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        I don’t see pistol braces as being on the chopping block. The ATF likely viewed a bump stock as something you can simply swap for a standard stock without changing the classification of the gun itself. Changing a pistol brace to a standard stock would – as you imply – immediately SBR a gun and invoke registration and a forced tax. Different action that would meet with different legal pushback.

      2. avatar Binder says:

        A SBR at then end of the day will not help with dumping 1000 rounds into a crowd, the slide fire on the other hand works great for that. And the J.M. argument is stupid, yes people can shoot like that after years of training and millions of rounds downrange. An I don’t think even Jerry can keep that up for a 100 rounds much less a few thousand.

        The fact was under the Obama administration they were kind of clunky and no one had used them in a mass shooting. (and 500 people hit is a mass shooting in anyone’s book).

        Now they work well, so well that the videos on how to set them up right were not just removed from YouTube but also the full30.com BEFORE the ban right after the shooting. Any judge who sees what they can do when set up right is not going to allow them unless they are also for shooting down the Hughes Amendment. Something that would be possible before Vegas, but not afterwards.

        You are never going to get them back. Worse case is that they somehow get a judge to approve them and look out for the legislation that will be coming down the road. Even worse, one is used correctly again after the ban is lifted and then we will have even bigger issue.

        1. avatar VicRattlehead says:

          Who cares what it was used for/in. People have done horrible things to each other with anything they could get their hands on since the age of rocks and sticks. It doesn’t change the fact that the bank was, and still is, complete and utter BS.

        2. avatar Binder says:

          Who cares what it was used for/in. People have done horrible things to each other with anything they could get their hands on since the age of rocks and sticks.

          Well yes, but you clearly have no clue when it comes to politics or goverment. Yes our system is not perfect but the alternatives are almost all worse given human nature.

          Comparing the capabilities of a 100 round rifle firing at 600 RPM firing into a crowd to rocks and sticks is not going to win any arguments.

    4. avatar TheUnspoken says:

      They are trying to push more to state and even local levels for bans now, and destroy, ignore, or repeal preemption so any little tyrant can say “no silencers, bump stocks, machine guns, or assault rifles in MY kingdom!” Places like Virginia, Pennsylvania, Chicago suburbs, college towns or cities…

      Lots of places went ahead of Trump and banned bump stocks so even if we get Federal relief, it may not matter. Don’t just ban them, double or triple ban them! Florida Republican supermajorities caved to the Parkland Kidz to just make anything and everything a bump stock, so currently binary triggers, cranks, Gatling guns, rubber bands, gloves, anything may actually be a Florida bump stock. So I guess Floridians own the most bump stocks, most of them not even knowing if they do. Or not, no one really knows.

      Lots of countries that likely never had any banned them as well, just because banning stuff is fun, like England. I bet Canada did too, so you can’t put a bump stock on your rocket launcher or mortar.

    5. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “Are binary triggers next? ”

      Banned in Florida, thanks to mass-murder boy…

      1. avatar Binder says:

        Binary triggers are beyond stupid for anything other than a trap gun. it is essentially a dead mans switch on a rifle. Yes, I know training can overcome that issue, but again, why have a gun like that. You can out run the gun cycling so they are complex to prevent the hammer riding the bolt. And for what, so that you can forget that the trigger is in binary mode and have an accidental discharge when you “thought” it was on single shot.

        1. avatar 9x39 says:

          Technically, the way Fl. statute 790.222 is crafted, just about anything became illegal. Something as arbitrary as swapping to a better lubricant, or removing the cosmoline could be interpreted as altering the rate of fire to fire faster, & is an extremely arbitrary legal vagary. Binary triggers? Just about any improvement to a trigger group is decidedly illegal, from stoning off a burr, to replacing with any aftermarket one. They went full retard, & you never go full retard. Read it yourself.

          790.222 Bump-fire stocks prohibited.—A person may not import into this state or transfer, distribute, sell, keep for sale, offer for sale, possess, or give to another person a bump-fire stock. A person who violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this section, the term “bump-fire stock” means 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.

          http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0790/Sections/0790.222.html

        2. avatar 9x39 says:

          Forgot to mention my agreement on binary triggers.

        3. avatar Anymouse says:

          I don’t own binaries, but they’re not quite dead man’s switches. You can put them on safe with the trigger pulled, and they won’t fire. Would you worry about an M16 or MP5 accidentally discharging because the selector was on full auto instead of semi?

  3. avatar GS650G says:

    Naturally we don’t have a better choice and never will. The Democrats are full on in Civilian Disarmament Mode.

  4. avatar Steve says:

    They’re still making moonshine, they’re still making their own dope and bump stocks are still being bought and sold

  5. avatar Dude says:

    Step one: the courts smack down the ban

    Step two: reimburse everyone for their trouble. This could be a considerable amount for the businesses that had to deal with this.

    In the end, it seems like we’ll be left with a precedent that will help keep the Fed’s power in check.

    1. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

      Yeah the same way the Hollis vs Holder case went? They will bend over backwards to keep bumpstock illegal. It’s all window dressing, especially the fake outrage from the judges.

      The problem with this is it has the potential to ban any semi auto as they are now capable of being easily converted to machine guns simply by changing the stock. Republicans – Suceeding in gun control where Democrats fail.

      1. avatar Dude says:

        Such a killjoy.

      2. avatar Chichi Montezuma says:

        Standard Beltway operations. They used Slick Willie Clinton to gut welfare. Get someone supposedly in favor of a thing of political value to dismantle it and sell the idea to the lemmings. Opposition parties don’t want the battle and will get blocked by the few holdouts on the other side of the aisle. Get a party leader to dissect a pillar of their own platform and insert Wilford Brimley – “It’s just the right thing to do.”

        Plus losing on bump stocks will make the DOJ and ATF look weak and open them up for attack by the EveryClownForGoonbergViolence types.

    2. avatar tim mccoig says:

      i dont think bump stock sales took off that much , ive been around alot of guns and nobody i hung with ever liked them, its like a little kid thing , just a fad , i used to see them for sale for 50 bucks at gun shows , and no one bought them , just buy the stamp , and own a real and leagle gun

  6. avatar tim mccoig says:

    we have riots and armed protesters in the streets and taking over police stations and unarmed people being shot and looters in every state , and your worried about bump-stocks ! i can do the bump-stock thing with a rubberband or my beltloop ! there is so many things that you can put your time into fixing in this country , but you mindless sheep are not going to give this any mind . UNLESS , it comes knocking at your door , its your job to defend your home and family , and country ! buy guns and extra ammo , when the masses come to your front yard nobody is going to care how much money you have in the bank , but 4 ar15’s and 5k of ammo , nobody is going to burn your house down …….and that cost less then 5k ! PS. my finger can out run that bump-stock , with leagle triggers

    1. avatar Zack says:

      Do you really think they’ll never get around to your 4 AR15s? Everything we let them take, we never get back. But sure, you go ahead and demand that we stop fighting just because you personally don’t like the specific thing we’re fighting for. When they ban something you do like, don’t come bitching to us.

    2. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

      Is this in English? ISPEWNONSTOPBS that would sum up your post perfectly. Also there is no way you can fire 600 + rounds a minute.

      1. avatar tim mccoig says:

        my friend , u can think what u want , but i can dump a 30 mag in 3 sec an m4 auto 4 sec ……just look it up ? maybe you should spend more time at the range practicing and less time typing up psychobabble. and im not trying to pick a fight , im above that , JUST BECAUSE U SQUAT TO PEEEEEEE

        1. avatar StirFriedPanda says:

          There is not 600 rounds magazine from what I recall.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “There is not 600 rounds magazine from what I recall.”

          Thus the truism, “Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.”

      2. avatar anonymous4goodreason says:

        @Sam “Happiness is a belt-fed weapon”

        Amen!

  7. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    This sounds good. I like our president, I don’t like his decision here and I really don’t like that it’s one he can even make without congress. ATF should not be able to arbitrarily change something so much at their whim. Something simply should never be legal one day and illegal the next without a literal act of congress (even then it’d be a wrong decision but at least they would have done it the way it should be done).

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Unfortunately, Congress has abrogated its powers to the other two branches too much over the generations. It’s somewhat like a father of a farm household becoming a bit overwhelmed with the responsibilities of his growing family, so as more kids are popped out by Mrs. Farmer, he assigns some of the farm’s tasks to his eldest son and tells the other kids that Son #1 is now the boss of the garden patch and they all have to listen to him.

    2. avatar Dude says:

      That’s why a good precedent here is important. I don’t personally give a flip about bump stocks.

  8. avatar Steven says:

    I really don’t think the government is intelligent enough to know where all the guns are, after the last few years in the things I’ve seen, I would think guns are the last thing on their mind right now, the gun rights groups have won every major battle in the court system, we will see in November, but keep sending them your money……lol !! And they flamed the NRA for doing such. History always repeats itself if you hang around long enough

  9. avatar Carl says:

    Should have got your well needed guns years ago and that working on your barbecue guns, like I am, but ammo another story, by your ammo boys, lots and lots of ammo oh, that’s the gold

  10. avatar 24and7 says:

    if all bump stocks had ‘black lives matter ” stamped on them..the government wouldnt do anything about them…hmmmm

  11. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    One might think as the order is un Constitutional on more than 2 nd. amendment grounds.

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    We’re on our own. Prepare accordingly…

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      Truth…

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      Exactly.

  13. avatar Don from CT says:

    The problem isn’t that it was banned. The feds could ban it.

    Shoot, they could even change their mind and ban it after the fact.

    The problem is that this represents a “taking” by government without compensation.

    You have a product deemed lawful by the appropriate regulatory agency. Then the agency deems it unlawful and everyone is supposed to destroy or give up their legally purchased property??!!

    Anyone who wants to litigate this successfully should do so on 5A grounds based on the Takings Clause.

    1. avatar Don from CT says:

      This has absolutely nothing to do with the 2A.

      As such, the ACLU should get on board with this. Imagine if instead of bumpstocks, it was Priuses.

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        The ACLU has never supported the Bill Of Rights.

        1. avatar Don from CT says:

          Wrong. They support every right except for teh right to keep and bear arms. They routinely go to bat to support the natural rights protected by the 1A, 4A, and 5A

        2. avatar Anymouse says:

          They aren’t fans of the 9A or 10A. Decades ago, they claimed they could ignore 2A because NRA had it covered. Now, they are openly hostile to 2A as an individual right.

    2. avatar Binder says:

      No one wants to do that on the pro-gun side as it will kill the last argument that they can bring up for keeping them. I think that the government would willing to pay off everyone who buys one. Exotically as I can’t see most owners willing to put themselves on a list for $200

    3. avatar Ing says:

      I think that’s already been tried, and it isn’t going anywhere either.

      Bottom line, the powers that be on both sides — Republicans because they only give lip service to the Constitution when it’s convenient, Democrats because they fully intend to weaponize it next time they occupy the White House — think this illegal executive lawmaking and confiscation is a good thing.

  14. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    It’s theft and an illegal law. It’s not hard for anyone to figure out. Just wait till the votes are no longer needed and see what President Trump does.

    1. avatar Don from CT says:

      Its so illegal that even though Obama wanted to ban them, his AG told him that absent legislation, there was nothing he could do.

  15. avatar Sam I Am says:

    A successful attack on federal police power by the courts poses an enormous change in so many federal actions, and no end to law suits on a wide array of issues.

    That could be fun to watch.

  16. avatar Nanashi says:

    Someone needs to file an amacus brief saying the truth everyone refuses to say: The Roosevelt Supreme Court was massively corrupt: Miller was held before a judge that wrote the law and didn’t allow him to choose his plea or attorney, while “Justice” Hugo Black of the KKK also voted for the law in question. Arguing Miller from the position that the legal determination wasn’t an abomination of the justice system is a losing battle.

  17. avatar Richard D Cutie says:

    Right now we need to worry about the 2 bills in Congress with dozens of sponsors they are trying to ram down our throats!! These bills are without a doubt the an complete gutting of our 2nd Amendment. Maybe right now it will not pass the Senate but if the Senate flips then who knows what will happen. It’s scary to say the least !! Best Regards

  18. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The only way to get rid of the bump stock issue is to ban all semi auto rifles. Because human ingenuity will overcome any obstacle placed in its path. WE are just that good. Now. Will the police be coming to enforce that order??? Just like they enforced the order to stop people from going to church???

    Bu they let people shop at Walmart???

    1. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

      This is the end game and you want to vote for the guy who will implement it.

  19. avatar Steve says:

    How is the supreme court Not violating the law as it’s incapable if making decisions that affects everyone? If a case regarding free speech or religion it would be help immediately but anything else that’s politically motivated it gets ignored for years! Seems like Someone can sure the Government(supreme court) for violating their 2nd amedment rights for NOT making a decision. seems like there is president in several cases to support this as not making a decsion will affect the sentacing and effective ness of current laws

  20. avatar More dems, more crime! says:

    Dems push gun control! Vote the bastards out!

  21. avatar JOLJ says:

    I never like them the bump mess with my aim.
    Many gun experts agreed with the Ban.
    There are no outlaws in the USA, just criminals, the different. Shoot a criminals in the back you go to jail because he has rights.
    OUT-LAW means outside of the law, not protected by any law, not even 2A.

  22. avatar neiowa says:

    Justice Neil Gorsuch, attacking arbitrary interpretations of law by federal “courts”

    No?

  23. avatar Someone says:

    “…waived is regulatory magic want…”
    Where is an editor when you need one? Or at least proofreader.

  24. avatar Debbie W. says:

    When I saw the first bump stock contraption I knew it was an accident waiting to happen. All it would take was one azzhat gone wild and bump stock days would be over. Frankly if someone wants a machine gun save the money and go buy one. The much better alternative gizmo is a trigger that fires on pull and release and I be . lieve operation mode is by way of the safety/selector.
    This Trump bashing over bump stocks has been heard and unless you want the entire rifle banned by a democRat president obiden it’s time to dry those bump stock tears and get off your butts and help those pulling the wagon to get President Donald John Trump reelected.
    If I had my way Ted Nugent would be POTUS and Dan Bongino VP. But for now the aforementioned and myself are 100% Trump.

    1. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

      A vote for Trump in this next election is pretty much voting to ban all semi autos. Along with surpressors, binary triggers and just about anything else Trump does not like that day. Your disconnect with reality along with most other gun owners is terrifying.

      1. avatar Trump is nuts! says:

        Son, you are correct however, a lot of people here drink his Kool-Aid flavored bleach.

  25. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Machine guns for the poor. ($175.00) Save the bump stock!

  26. avatar TomVonKY says:

    I was hoping at the time, when suppressors were inching towards a vote of some sort in congress, someone would fine a palatable third option; offer to amend the NFA to, in effect, remove suppressors and insert bump stocks. Of course I want no restrictions on owned firearms, but I am a realist; you won’t get something for nothing. What I resent is our politicians consistently simply giving away something, and getting nothing. The suppressor restrictions are symbolic and stupid, totally pointless. The bump stock ban is stupid also, but then again, so are bump stocks, imo. Machine guns are cool, and fun, but I have a hard time imagining a circumstance in which the ability to lay down suppressing fire will be to my great advantage. If we were to ever reach that level of warfare against our own government, I would think machine guns would not likely be the level of weaponry required to turn the tide. My $.02

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