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Supreme Court To Decide On Bump Stock Ban Challenge

A bump stock is displayed in Harrisonburg, Va., on March 15, 2019. The Supreme Court will hear a challenge Wednesday, Feb. 28, to a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, a gun accessory used in a Las V

The Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, gun accessories used in the tragic Las Vegas massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. A Texas gun shop owner argues that the Trump administration did not follow federal law when it reversed course and banned bump stocks, which enable semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns.

The Biden administration is defending the ban, asserting that regulators were justified in revising previous findings and banning bump stocks under laws against machine guns dating back decades. The case has divided federal appeals courts and presents a significant test for the conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court in defining the boundaries of gun restrictions in the wake of mass shootings.

While the case is not directly related to Second Amendment gun rights, the plaintiffs argue that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives overstepped its authority in imposing the ban. The ban on bump stocks was a result of the ATF's change in classification following the Las Vegas tragedy, where a gunman used assault-style rifles equipped with bump stocks to unleash a devastating attack on a country music festival.

Bump stocks are accessories that replace a rifle's stock and allow for rapid firing by harnessing the gun's recoil energy. The Justice Department notes that bump stocks were designed to replicate automatic fire without converting rifles into machine guns. The government argues that the rapid fire enabled by bump stocks falls within the legal definition of machine guns.

The case has seen conflicting decisions from federal appeals courts, with the Supreme Court now considering an appeal of the 5th Circuit's decision invalidating the ban. The outcome of this case is eagerly awaited, especially given the current conservative majority's skepticism towards federal agency powers. A decision is anticipated by early summer.

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