Supreme Court overturns Trump’s gun stockpile ban

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Friday reversed a Trump-era ban on increase stocksaccessories for rapid-fire firearms used in the Deadliest mass shooting In modern U.S. history, in a decision that put guns back in the country’s political spotlight.

The High Court conservative majority found that the Trump administration overreached by changing course from its predecessors and banning bump stocks, which allowed a rate of fire comparable to that of machine guns. The move came after a gunman attacked a country music festival in Las Vegas with assault rifles equipped with these accessories.

The gunman fired more than 1,000 shots into the crowd in 11 minutes, sending thousands fleeing in terror, hundreds injured and dozens dead.

The decision put guns back at the center of the political conversation with an unusual twist as Democrats moved to roll back the action of a Republican administration and many Republicans supported the decision.

The 6-3 majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas held that the Justice Department was wrong to rule that bump rifles turned semiautomatic rifles into illegal machine guns because, he wrote , each pull of the trigger in rapid succession still only fires a single shot.

The ruling strengthened limits on executive power, and two justices – conservative Samuel Alito and liberal Sonia Sotomayor – separately highlighted how action in Congress could potentially provide more sustainable policy, if there was political will to act bipartisan manner.

Originally imposing a ban through regulation rather than legislation during Donald Trump’s presidency reduced pressure on Republicans to act after the massacre and another shooting mass at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The prospects for passing gun restrictions in the currently divided Congress are dim.

President Joe Biden, who supports gun restrictions, called on Congress to reinstate the ban imposed by his political foe. Trump’s campaign team, meanwhile, expressed respect for the decision before quickly pivoting to its endorsement by the National Rifle Association.

As Trump courts gun owners as he races to retake the presidency, he appears to downplay his own administration’s actions on wholesale stocks, telling NRA members in February that “nothing happened” on guns during his presidency despite “strong pressure.” He told the group that if he were re-elected, “no one would lay a finger on your guns.”

The 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas was carried out by a high-stakes gambler who killed himself, leaving his exact motive a mystery. A total of 60 people were killed in the shooting, including Christiana Duarte, whose family called Friday’s decision tragic.

“This decision is really just another way of inviting people to commit another mass shooting,” said Danette Meyers, a family friend and spokeswoman. “It’s a shame they have to go through this again.” They are really unhappy.

The decision comes after the same conservative supermajority of the Supreme Court was handed down. a historic decision gun rights in 2022. The high court is also expected to expand the rule in another gun case in the coming weeks, challenging a federal law intended to keep guns out of the hands of people under Restraining orders for domestic violence.

The arguments in the Bump Stock case, however, focused more on whether the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an agency of the Justice Department, had exceeded its authority, not on the Second Amendment covering firearms.

The plaintiff, Michael Cargill, a Texas gun store owner and military veteran, applauded the ruling in a video posted online, predicting the case would have ripple effects in hindering other gun restrictions of the ATF. “I’m glad I got up and fought,” he said.

Justices on the court’s liberal wing suggested during oral arguments that it was “common sense” that anything capable of unleashing a “torrent of bullets” was a machine gun under federal law. Conservative justices, however, have raised questions about the effects of a change of heart by the ATF a decade after declaring the paraphernalia legal.

The High Court took up the case after a split between the lower courts over increase stocks, invented in the early 2000s. Under Republican President George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, the ATF decided that bump stocks did not turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns. The agency reversed these decisions at Trump’s request. This was after the Las Vegas massacre and the shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead.

The Supreme Court building is seen Thursday, June 13, 2024 in Washington.  (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The Supreme Court building is seen Thursday, June 13, 2024 in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Protective stocks are accessories that replace a rifle’s stock, the part that rests against the shoulder. They harness the recoil energy of the weapon so that the trigger strikes the shooter’s stationary finger, allowing the weapon to fire at a speed similar to that of an automatic weapon. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have their own bans on reserve stocks that are not expected to be affected by the ruling, although four states’ bans may no longer cover reserve stocks as a result of the ruling, according to the gun control group. In every city.

Cargill was represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a group funded by conservative donors like the Koch network. His lawyers acknowledged that rifle stocks allow for rapid fire, but argued that they are different because the shooter must exert more effort to keep the weapon firing.

The Biden administration had argued that the ATF reached the correct conclusion on replacement stocks after conducting a more in-depth review prompted by the Las Vegas shooting.

There were about 520,000 relief stocks in circulation when the ban took effect in 2019, forcing people to return or destroy them, for an estimated combined loss of $100 million, the plaintiffs said in filings. court documents.


Associated Press writers Mark Sherman and Lisa Mascaro in Washington, Jill Colvin in New York, Mike Catalini in Trenton, New Jersey, Jim Salter in St. Louis and Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.


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