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Bump Stock Ruling A Blow To Big Government And The Deep State

Updated: Jun 17

In a 6 to 3 ruling (you can guess which were the three) the Supreme Court overruled the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ infamous bump stock rule, declaring that the Agency had overstepped its authority by rewriting the definition of machine gun.

Interestingly, the case was won not on Second Amendment grounds, but on the more mundane issues of rulemaking procedure.


If you would like to buy a newly legal bump stock try RW Arms, LTD one of the plaintiffs in the case.


As the great Justice Clarence Thomas explained in the majority opinion, “Congress has long restricted access to ‘machineguns,’ a category of firearms defined by the ability to ‘shoot, automatically more than one shot . . . by a single function of the trigger.’ Semiautomatic firearms, which require shooters to reengage the trigger for every shot, are not machineguns,” Justice Clarence Thomas began in the majority opinion. “This case asks whether a bump stock—an accessory for a semiautomatic rifle that allows the shooter to rapidly reengage the trigger (and therefore achieve a high rate of fire)—converts the rifle into a ‘machinegun.’ We hold that it does not and therefore affirm [the lower court’s decision].” (Additional context in [ ] provided by CHQ.)

RW Arms was forced to surrender something like 6,000 bump stocks when the illegal rule was promulgated, and their battle preserve their property and Second Amendment rights eventually brought the case to the Supreme Court and vindication of their claim.

As Mark Maxwell of RW Arms explained in a recent email to customers, "Today's decision is a monumental victory for all Americans who value their rights," Maxwell asserts. "The Supreme Court's ruling reaffirms the principle that the government cannot arbitrarily redefine and confiscate legally purchased property. This is a win for liberty and the rule of law."

RW Arms, LTD, along with gun store owner Michael Gargill, has been at the forefront of the legal challenge against the bump stock ban. They argued that the ATF's reclassification of bump stocks as "machine guns" was an overreach. Their combined legal teams contended that this reclassification violated both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Constitution's protection against uncompensated takings of private property.

Maxwell, Gargill, and 2A activist Michael Stewart fought tirelessly, taking their cases through the federal court system. The Supreme Court's decision to overturn the ban validates their efforts and sets a crucial precedent for future regulatory actions.

As Mr. Maxwell observed, the Supreme Court's ruling has far-reaching implications beyond the issue of bump stocks. Legal experts and advocates for property rights are concerned that regulatory overreach could affect a wide range of property rights issues in the future. This decision is seen as a safeguard against such overreach.

"This ruling sends a clear message," says Maxwell. "If the government cannot arbitrarily redefine and confiscate bump stocks, it sets a precedent that protects other forms of legally purchased property from similar actions. It is a critical moment for preserving individual liberties and property rights in America."

If you would like to buy a newly legal bump stock try RW Arms, LTD one of the plaintiffs in the case.


We especially liked Justice Thomas’s opinion in the case because it mirrored our own observations when the ATF first floated the rule, as our friend Ken Klukowsi summarized the opinion in an article for Breitbart:

“As always, we start with the statutory text, which refers to ‘a single function of the trigger,’” the opinion declared.


“On weapons with these standard trigger mechanisms, the phrase ‘function of the trigger’ means the physical trigger movement required to shoot the firearm,” the majority observed. “No one disputes that a semiautomatic rifle without a bump stock is not a machinegun because it fires only one shot per ‘function of the trigger.’”


“ATF does not dispute that this complete process is what constitutes a ‘single function of the trigger.’ A shooter may fire the weapon again after the trigger has reset, but only by engaging the trigger a second time and thereby initiating a new firing cycle,” Thomas continued. “For each shot, the shooter must engage the trigger and then release the trigger to allow it to reset. Any additional shot fired after one cycle is the result of a separate and distinct ‘function of the trigger.’”


“Nothing changes when a semiautomatic rifle is equipped with a bump stock. The firing cycle remains the same,” the court reasoned. “Between every shot, the shooter must release pressure from the trigger and allow it to reset before reengaging the trigger for another shot.”


“A bump stock merely reduces the amount of time that elapses between separate ‘functions’ of the trigger,” the majority noted. “A bump stock does not convert a semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun any more than a shooter with a lightning-fast trigger finger does.”


“So, a bump stock cannot qualify as a machinegun under §5845(b)’s definition,” the court found.


It was also great to see the majority knock down the ATF’s position and the three dissenter’s opinion, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson:

Finally, the position that ATF and the dissent endorse is logically inconsistent. They reason that a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock fires more than one shot by a single function of the trigger because a shooter need only pull the trigger and maintain forward pressure to activate continuous fire. If that is correct, however, then the same should be true for a semiautomatic rifle without a bump stock. After all, as the dissent and ATF themselves acknowledge, a shooter manually bump firing a semiautomatic rifle can achieve continuous fire by holding his trigger finger stationary and maintaining forward pressure with his nontrigger hand. Yet, they agree that a semiautomatic rifle without a bump stock fires only one shot each time the shooter pulls the trigger. Their argument is thus at odds with itself.

At odds with itself indeed. The Garland v. Cargill, No. 22-976 opinion has many implications beyond the interests of the plaintiffs in the case and bodes ill for a number of other Biden era executive overreaches on firearms regulation and environmental matters in particular.

Knowing that their anti-constitutional ideas and policies could never pass Congress and have little support among the public at large, the Deep State has long used administrative rulemaking to achieve its goals. During the Biden years Democrats in the Deep State have been rewriting old statutes to carry sweeping new effects, the Justice Clarence Thomas opinion in Garland v. Cargill should stop them in their tracks.

If you would like to buy a newly legal bump stock try RW Arms, LTD one of the plaintiffs in the case.

CHQ Editor George Rasley is a Glock ® certified pistol armorer and is a veteran of over 300 political campaigns, including every Republican presidential campaign from 1976 to 2008. He served as lead advance representative for Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and has served as a staff member, consultant, or advance representative for some of America's most recognized conservative Republican political figures, including President Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. A member of American MENSA, he served in policy and communications positions on the House and Senate staff, and during the George H.W. Bush administration he served on the White House staff of Vice President Dan Quayle.

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1 Comment

All of Massachusetts v. EPA needs to be revisited and overturned.

I don't really think a bump stock would convert my single-shot manual .22 target-practice rifle (which I haven't used in fifty years) into a belt-fed .308 capable of firing 300 rounds per minute.

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