The new session of the U.S. Supreme Court started out with an action that runs in alignment with a major theme of this blog, gun safety in the nation. The Court rejected two appeals by gun owners seeking to overturn the federal government’s ban on the sale of bump stocks. Those stocks are the shortened term for devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger. It is not difficult to understand why that item is most undesirable, and why the ban was implemented. The ban was one of the very few policy moves from the one term of Donald Trump with which I could voice strong agreement.
The only way to report this story is from the perspective of the safety factor as the ban is a way to stem the furthering of gun violence this nation faces daily. The action of the court in their rejection of the cases is a significant victory for gun control advocates and supports the role our government has undertaken–though far too timidly–with efforts to regulate very dangerous weapons.
Why these cases being shunted out the Court door matters is that knuckle-draggers who sought to undo the ban tried to suggest the government did not have authority to ban bump stocks under the National Firearms Act, a law enacted in 1934 to regulate machine guns. In 1968, the Gun Control Act expanded the definition of a machine gun to include accessories “for use in converting a weapon” into a machine gun, and the ATF concluded under the Trump Administration, when it issued the ban, that bump stocks meet that definition. I found fault with the ATF under the Obama administration when that agency ruled bump stocks should not be classified as a “machinegun” and therefore should not be banned under federal law.
Bump stocks are accessories for semi-automatic rifles, such as the popular AR-15-style weapons that have been used in a plethora of mass shootings in our country. They use the recoil energy of a trigger pull to enable the user to fire up to hundreds of rounds a minute. That is simply insanity that needed to be curbed. It took the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead before the ATF acted during Trump’s time in office, and credit needs to be given where it is due. After all, what more needs to happen to show the bump stock ban was necessary. The Vegas shooter used assault-style rifles to fire more than 1,000 rounds in 11 minutes into the crowd of 22,000 music fans.
For rational and common-sense people in the nation who fully understand and desire that logical regulations be placed on the sale of guns and their “particular attributes”, today was a solid win. Not a bad way to start a Monday morning or the first day of a new session of the Court.