The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives does not have the authority to ban the ownership of bump stocks.
The judges made a unanimous decision, making reference to the federal law that bump stocks do not fit as “machineguns,” rendering it seemingly impossible for a ban to be imposed on products in its category. A bump stock is simply a label tagged on a semi-automatic firearm. To effect a recurring pulling of the trigger, the gun’s recoil and the trigger only need to be held down by a user.
🎉BREAKING NEWS: Fifth Circuit strikes bump stock ban, says Congress, not ATF, decides what conduct is criminal.
— NRA (@NRA) January 6, 2023
Michael Cargill, a gun shop owner, and firearms trainer, filed the lawsuit with support from the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a non-profit civil rights group.
Executive branch can’t create, set, or modify legislation over Congress?!? Ground breaking concept! Another gift from our Founding Fathers! 💯
— Rambling Infantryman (@Veteran4Amer1ca) January 7, 2023
“A plain reading of the statutory language, paired with close consideration of the mechanics of a semi-automatic firearm, reveals that a bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of ‘machinegun’ set forth in the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act,” the judges ruled.
“NCLA has been seeking to set aside this unlawfully promulgated regulation from the get-go. We are pleased that a circuit court has finally—and decisively—recognized that Congress must be the one to pass any bump stock ban,” NCLA President Mark Chenoweth said in a statement.
The ruling has, however, created a circuit split, In which separate appeal courts have made different judgments in comparable cases. The D.C. Sixth, and Tenth appeals courts have all ruled differently, paving the way for the Supreme Court to step in and address the disparate rulings.