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Supreme Court Leaves Trump Bump Stock Ban In Place

Mar 2, 2020, 10:41 AM
A bump stock is installed on an AK-47 at Good Guys Gun and Range on February 21, 2018 in Orem, Utah...
A bump stock is installed on an AK-47 at Good Guys Gun and Range on February 21, 2018 in Orem, Utah. The bump stock is a device when installed allows a semi-automatic to fire at a rapid rate much like a fully automatic gun. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The Supreme Court left in place on Monday President Donald Trump’s bump stock ban, turning away an appeal from owners of the device and gun rights groups.

Last year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives banned bump stock devices — attachments that essentially allow shooters to fire semiautomatic rifles continuously with one pull of the trigger.

A group of bump stock owners and Second Amendment groups sought to challenge how the administration went about banning the devices.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed to the court by Trump, wrote a statement saying he agrees the current case should not be heard and that the court was correct not to intervene, but he was concerned with how the lower court handled the issue.

“Justice Gorsuch’s separate opinion isn’t about the merits of the bump stocks rule, but rather whether the lower court applied the correct standard of review in considering those merits. The court’s denial here suggests that the justices are willing to let lower court litigation over the controversial Trump administration rule run its course before deciding if — and how — to intervene,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

The devices came under scrutiny after the October 2017 massacre in Las Vegas where a shooter opened fire from his hotel suite onto outdoor concertgoers with rifles fitted with bump stocks, killing 58 people and wounding others.

Last spring, the justices denied a request to temporarily block the administration’s rule — which took effect in April 2019 — while the issue played out in lower courts. It was the third time the court was asked to issue such an order.

Gorsuch and Justice Clarence Thomas said at the time that they would have voted to put the rule on hold as it applies to the challengers. Thomas has repeatedly written that lower courts are snubbing the rights of gun owners.

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Supreme Court Leaves Trump Bump Stock Ban In Place