On Friday, an en banc panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the bump stock ban instituted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) cannot be upheld because it conflicts with federal law. The full court voted 13-3 to overturn a December 2021 panel decision supporting the ban, stating that the rule created by the ATF during the Trump administration, in response to the Las Vegas shooting, violates the Administrative Procedure Act due to its inconsistency with the intended meaning of the relevant federal laws.
The ATF’s bump stock ban doesn’t square with federal law and can’t stand.
That’s the ruling handed down by an en banc panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday. By a vote of 13-3, the full court overturned a December 2021 panel ruling in favor of the ban. It found the Trump-era rule created by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in response to the Las Vegas shooting violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it goes against the plain meaning of the federal laws it was purporting to enforce.
“Bump firing does not maintain if all a shooter does is initially pull the trigger,” the court found. “Rather, to continue the firing after the shooter pulls the trigger, he or she must maintain manual, forward pressure on the barrel and manual, backward pressure on the trigger ledge.”
That means bump stocks are by definition not machineguns under the National Firearms Act and are not subject to the registration and tax requirements under the law. The ATF had tried to use the registration requirement to ban the devices since the machinegun registry has been closed since 1986, which made it impossible to legally register, and therefore possess, bump stocks under the agency’s rule.
The Fifth Circuit ruled the process the ATF used usurped the powers of Congress…
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