On March 26th, the bump-stock ban officially went into effect. President Trump’s administration issued the ban back in December of 2018. From the start, Firearms Policy Coalition has been engaging in fundraising efforts and litigation to combat the ban.
The Legal Battle
FPC v Whitaker and Guedes v BATFE are the two lawsuits that FPC is spearheading.
FPC filed a temporary injunction to the ban with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. It was denied shortly before the ban went into effect. However, the plaintiff’s attorneys filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Pending the appeal, the court granted a temporary stay of the ban to the plaintiffs and “bona fide members” of the organizations involved.
Then, on April 1st, 2019, in a 2-1 decision with strong dissent, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the ATF’s Bump-Stock Ban Final Rule survived against various legal challenges due to what’s called “Chevron deference”. The fight continued onto the Supreme Court, where FPC and the plaintiff’s filed yet another appeal and requested yet another injunction.
Unfortunately, on April 7th, 2019, the appeal to the United States Supreme Court was denied. The plaintiffs and “bona fide members” of FPC, FPF, Florida Carry, and the Madison Society Foundation had until 5 pm April 10th, 2019 to turn in or destroy their bump stocks.
The Future of the Ban
However, FPC maintains that “There is much litigation left. Our team is currently working on a petition for en banc rehearing by the full D.C. Circuit. And we [FPC and Plantiffs] are prepared, if need be, to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari (review)”, according to an email blast sent out after the April 7th denial. In addition, the DOJ/ATF will “retain” the bump stocks that owners turn in until the legal action is complete.
The Continued Controversy
The bump-stock ban has bought nothing but controversy. Many question the power exercised by the Trump Administration in his appointment of former Attorney General Whitaker. Others question the authority of the DOJ/ATF to re-interpret an already standing law. There is also a high level of concern surrounding classifying a piece of plastic as a “machine gun”, as well as confiscating this private property from legal owners. Within the community of gun owners, there is a great division on the issue as the NRA has issued their support of the ATF’s classification and the ban.
One thing is for sure, the bump-stock ban and the Court’s rulings, as well as the ATF’s enforcement, will set a heavy precedent for gun laws in the future.
For more detailed information on the legal status and rulings, visit the news section of firearmspolicy.org
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