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Supreme Court Will Not Stay Bump Stock Ban While Challenge to Ban Proceeds

March 28, 2019 Criminal Law and Procedure

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a Trump administration ban on bump stocks while a lawsuit against the ban makes its way through the courts. The lawsuit is brought by the group Gun Owners of America.

The ban against bump stocks went into effect in March after pressure on the administration following several mass shootings involving the use of the bump stock. The ban received wide support from both sides of the aisle. Read about the First Person in U.S. Charged Under Bump Stock Ban.

A bump stock is an attachment to a semi-automatic rifle that enables a shooter to create sustained and rapid bursts of shooting. The ban required bump stock owners either destroy their bump stock or turn them into the ATF within 90 days of the ban. Destruction means, “crushing, melting or shredding,” according to the ATF website.

The Lawsuit Against Bump Stocks Started in Michigan

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in the Western District of Michigan. The lawsuit focuses on the Trump administration’s ability to effect the ban through an executive order. The suit does not focus on the Second Amendment.

The federal trial court judge, Paul Maloney, wrote in his opinion refusing to block the ban, “Congress restricts access to machine guns because of the threat the weapons pose to public safety. Restrictions on bump stocks advance the same interest. All of the public is at risk, including the smaller number of bump stock owners.”

On Appeal to the Sixth Circuit

Following the trial court setback, Gun Owners appealed to the Sixth Circuit. First Gun Owners requested the Sixth Circuit stay Judge Maloney’s decision while the case was appealed. The Sixth Circuit would not stay the decision, saying that plaintiffs “will suffer irreparable harm.” But that the public interest of safety supports stay of the denial.

After the Sixth Circuit, Gun Owners Appealed to U.S. Supreme Court

Without relief in the Sixth Circuit, Gun Owners turned to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, however, refused to block the ban with a single sentence order with no noted dissents.

Other Challenges to the Bump Stock Ban

Other lawsuits have challenged the bump stock ban. One such lawsuit was unable to obtain a preliminary injunction against the ban in Washington federal court. That ruling was appealed to the United States District Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. There the Court did issue a stay of the bump stock – however, the stay only applied to the immediate plaintiffs before the Court. This ruling was also appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which again denied relief, noting the partial stay.

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Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Defense Attorney in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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