A federal government regulation that bans bump stocks—which are used to accelerate gunfire on semi-automatic weapons—is back in force as a result of a split decision Friday by an en banc federal appeals court.
The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals split 8-8 in its Dec. 3 ruling, which had the effect of upholding a federal judge’s decision in favor of a government rule that outlawed the devices. Courthouse News Service, Bloomberg Law, the Hill and the Volokh Conspiracy have coverage.
The rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that bump-stock devices fall within the definition of “machine guns” that are banned by federal law. The federal definition says a machine gun means any weapon that fires “automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”
Then President Trump had urged the federal government to ban bump stocks following a deadly Valentine’s Day shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. However, the device gained notoriety when a lone gunman killed 59 people and injured at least 527 others attending a country music festival in Las Vegas in October 2017. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, had 22 semi-automatic rifles and 14 of them were equipped with bump stocks. They allowed him to fire the rifles continuously with a single pull of the trigger, resulting in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.