Federal judge sides with Trump administration on ‘bump stocks’ ban – Washington Examiner
A federal judge gave the Trump administration the green light to ban so-called “bump stocks,” devices which modify semi-automatic guns to fire bullets more rapidly.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said in a ruling Monday evening that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has the authority to ban the devices, dismissing a challenge to the rule that is set to take effect on March 26.
The case is one of a handful of federal lawsuits filed challenging the rule unveiled by the Justice Department in December.
Friedrich rejected the argument made by Firearms Policy Coalition and other co-defendants that the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how federal agencies propose and establish regulations, and former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker “lacked authority to promulgate the rule.”
Friedrich concluded the Trump administration had the liberty to redefine unclear terms that previously held the government back from barring the devices. “That this decision marked a reversal of ATF’s previous interpretation is not a basis for invalidating the rule because ATF’s current interpretation is lawful and ATF adequately explained the change in interpretation,” Friedrich wrote in the ruling.
The Firearms Policy Coalition said it was “disappointed”‘ by Friedrich’s decision.
“We are disappointed but unsurprised by the court’s ruling tonight denying a temporary injunction to protect Americans from an unlawful and unconstitutional regulation,” the Firearms Policy Coalition said in a statement.
The group pledged to appeal the decision in order to keep in check “a rogue and growing executive branch.”
Bump stocks were thrust into the spotlight after an October 2017 shooting at a concert in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and more than 400 people injured. The attack, the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. committed by a single individual, reignited the debate about gun laws and bump stocks after authorities found the shooter, Stephen Paddock, used the device to turn his semi-automatic rifle into one that shot similarly to a fully automatic gun.
The Justice Department announced that it had officially amended Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulations to clarify that bump-stock-type devices are “machine guns,” and thus illegal, in mid-December and that it would take effect 90 days later.