• Nine Republican senators file brief in Supreme Court case seeking to overturn Trump administration ruling.
By Mark Davis
Via- Wyoming News Exchange
POWELL — U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), along with seven other Republican senators, filed a brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case that the ban on a device that converts a rifle to a fully automatic weapon should be overturned.
The Trump administration justice department in 2018 issued a final rule banning bump stocks, devices that allow a semi-automatic rifle to operate like a fully automatic weapon. A bump stock was used in the Las Vegas shooting massacre in 2017 that resulted in the killing of 58 and about 500 injuries.
The brief asserts the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms ban on bump stocks under the National Firearms Act is “not only an egregious violation of the people of Wyoming’s right to bear arms but also represents a dangerous new frontier of federal bureaucrats interpreting federal law in expansive new ways Congress clearly did not intend, including by weaponizing the Chevron doctrine to create new federal crimes out of thin air,” Lummis said in a Friday press release.
The brief concerning Garland v. Cargill is an amicus curiae, which can be made by an individual or organization who is not a party to a legal case, but who is permitted to assist a court by offering information, expertise or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case.
Whether this type of brief is considered is under the court’s discretion.
“The ATF’s job is to interpret existing laws passed by Congress, not grant itself sweeping authority to confiscate firearms from law-abiding Wyoming gun owners as is the case with the bump stock ban,” said Lummis. “Garland v. Cargill represents a true fork-in-the-road moment for gun rights in America. The people of Wyoming have a long history of responsible gun ownership to protect their family and property, and I will not allow gun grabbers in Washington to change that.”
The Supreme Court will decide whether a bump stock transforms a rifle into a machine gun, which is largely prohibited under federal law.
However, citizens in more than two-thirds of the states are allowed to own and buy fully automatic machine guns as long as those guns were legally registered and possessed prior to May 19, 1986.
There were more than 700,000 legally registered machine guns in the U.S. as of May 2021, according to official federal data.
Two federal courts of appeals previously struck down the regulation.
The definition of a machine gun, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled, clearly does not apply to bump stocks, which harness a rifle’s recoil to rapidly depress the trigger without the shooter having to pull and release his trigger finger.
Then President Donald Trump issued a memorandum on Feb. 20, 2018 instructing the attorney general “to dedicate all available resources to … propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.”
After receiving more than 185,000 comments from the public, the ATF made the decision to make clear that the term “machine gun” as used in the National Firearms Act includes all bump stock devices.
At the time Trump was insistent that he didn’t care what Congress said about the ban, saying while addressing a group of governors in a gathering at the White House, “I don’t care if Congress does it or not, I’m writing it out myself.”
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (RMiss.) said after signing the brief, “In this brief we make the case that these actions are clearly unconstitutional and that the anti-gun administrative state needs to have its wings clipped.”
Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) joined Lummis in filing the brief.
“Joe Biden will stop at nothing to undermine the fundamental constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” Mullin said. “Making up new felonies through the rule-making process and outlawing attachments like pistol braces and bump stocks, is simply a means to an end: taking away your guns.”