Court Rules A Bump Stock Is Not A Machine Gun

BY Herschel Smith
3 years ago


Springfield, VA – Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision, which had denied GOA’s motion for a preliminary injunction on bump stocks. Gun Owners of America is seeking an injunction to prevent ATF from implementing a final rule incorrectly classifying bump stocks as machineguns under federal law.

This case was brought by Gun Owners of America (GOA), Gun Owners Foundation (GOF), the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), Matt Watkins, Tim Harmsen of the Military Arms Channel, and GOA’s Texas Director, Rachel Malone.

Dave Hardy has additional details.

“Notwithstanding the ATF’s frequent reversals on major policy issues, we understand that the Court would consider the bureaucrats at the ATF as experts in firearms technology. But that technical knowledge is inapposite to the question of what should be criminally punished and what should not.”

“Consistent with our precedent and mandated by separation-of-powers and fair-notice concerns, we hold that an administering agency’s interpretation of a criminal statute is not entitled to Chevron deference. Consequently, the district court erred by finding that the ATF’s Final Rule, which interpreted the meaning of a machine gun as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b), was entitled to Chevron deference. And because we find that “single function of the trigger” refers to the mechanical process of the trigger, we further hold that a bump stock cannot be classified as a machine gun because a bump stock does not enable a semiautomatic firearm to fire more than one shot each time the trigger is pulled. Accordingly, we find that Plaintiffs-Appellants are likely to prevail on the merits and that that their motion for an injunction should have been granted.”

Here is the ruling.  Occasionally a court gets it right.  One may suppose that the DoJ/ATF knew the weakness of using executive orders to supplant federal law.  Any case that has hinged on ownership of a bump stock should now be appealed.


  1. On March 26, 2021 at 8:07 am, Fred said:

    Donald J. Trump’s bump stock ban.

  2. On March 26, 2021 at 9:34 am, JR said:

    Herschel, I wrote a term paper on the ban in 2018 for my Admin Law class (I’m a politics PhD student). GOA has had a great strategy all along: highlight the absurdity of ATF’s redefinition of “actuation of the trigger,” which in turn highlights the absurdity of “Chevron deference” (a Scalia legacy, sadly). If the courts will defer to the admin agencies when the make obviously nonsensical decisions, maybe we need to return to the era of greater court scrutiny of admin. Of course, as you note, the court is unreliable. The whole admin structure is against the political philosophy of the founding. What we really need is a total restoration and revival in our country, but this little case is at least a change from worse to better.

  3. On March 26, 2021 at 11:11 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    The end-result of the Las Vegas incident was that then-POTUS Donald Trump unilaterally banned bump-stock devices by executive order. However, it might be worth revisiting the event itself and the aftermath, since both tell the discerning viewer a great deal about how the deep-state and how it operates, in particular the justifications it uses to lie to the public, or simply withhold information from them all together.

    Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the Las Vegas incident of 2017:

    “On the evening of October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire upon the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. Between 10:05 and 10:15 p.m. PDT, he fired more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from his 32nd floor suites in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 60 people[a] and wounding 411, with the ensuing panic bringing the injury total to 867. About an hour later, Paddock was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive remains officially undetermined. ”

    That’s the officially-sanctioned version which came out of the MSM-propaganda mill for the deep-state, but there were so many holes in the official story that it resembled Swiss cheese before too long. In no particular order, here are some of the anomalies, questions and inconsistencies which have arisen….

    – Giant resort hotels like the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas generally have state-of-the-art security systems, including dozens (perhaps hundreds) of close-circuit TV cameras inside and out, in public spaces; a team of full-time security staff; a security command center which is manned 24-hours a day, 365 days a year; and often armed security pros (armed security guards) or even an armed security team on call. Access is controlled and guarded, particularly during evening and night-time hours. Guests are issued digitally-coded key-cards, and visitors are not permitted to enter unless they check in at the front desk with security.

    These are just some of the measures which these resorts have put in place, not just as protection from acts of terrorism, but from the threat of armed robbery, given the volume of currency moving through the resort, in particular through its gambling-gaming operation.

    Given this level of comprehensive security, how was one man – the alleged perpetrator, 64-year old Stephen Paddock – able to move his armory into place in his room, without being seen? Paddock’s room was alleged to have resembled an armory -multiple weapons, large stocks of ammunition, tactical gear, etc. The official account claims that he moved the weapons into the two rooms over a period of 4-5 days using a series of suitcases, fourteen in all – which hotel bellmen helped transport.

    His armory included fourteen AR15 rifles, all of which were alleged to have been bump-stock-equipped, plus eight AR10 rifles, a bolt-action rifle, and a handgun, for a total of 24 firearms. Plus sufficient ammunition, mags, etc. for each.

    The idea that this much ordnance was moved to his rooms without arousing any suspicion whatsoever strains credulity to the breaking-point.

    – As the firing upon the country music festival was being done, multiple witnesses downrange of the muzzles of the weapons being fired were able to see quite clearly the muzzle flashes of the weapons, the number of weapons being fired, their location relative to the ground; they were also able to hear the aural signature of the weapons being fired, i.e., how they sounded.

    Many of the eye-witnesses at the music festival were current or former military, and a substantial number were combat veterans intimately familiar with the kind of small-arms Pollack was alleged to have used. These onlookers reported not one shooter, but multiple ones, engaging targets from different floors and different locations within the resort structure. Including locations nowhere near nowhere near Pollack’s 32nd floor rooms, 32-134 and 32-135.

    A bump-stock equipped carbine or rifle, an AR15, produces a machine-gun like effect when used correctly, but to someone used to hearing genuine select-fire weapons in operation, especially the kind of individual and crew-served automatic weapons used by the military, the difference is one between night and day. The weapons used against the country music festival-goers were – according to these witnesses, consistent with the aural and visual signatures of military-grade select-fire weapons, including crew-served weapons like the M249 LMG SAW (squad-automatic weapon) – and not the kind of civilian technology to which Paddock had access.

    – When that many rounds are fired, the noise, smoke and debris generated are considerable, not just down-range, but in the vicinity of the weapon and the operator. Yet, eye-witnesses who saw the rooms afterward, the alleged firing site, they commend on how relatively pristine and clean they looked. After such sustained fire, heavy smoke in the air, hundreds of spent cases, debris of various kinds, the detritus of a war zone, would have been expected. That’s not what was seen by the first people to arrive on the scene.

    – If the evidence was so compellingly against Stephen Paddock and this was such an open-and-shut case, why did the FBI fly in and immediately “big-foot” the proceedings, slapping a gag order on local LE officers and their leaders. Yes, federal involvement in such an alleged crime would be expected – that isn’t the point. The point is that their behavior was not consistent with people who were being transparent in their behavior. It was consistent with people who had something – or someone – to hide.

    And how convenient that the alleged perp, Mr. Paddock, “committed suicide” and thereby could tell no tales to incriminate his masters! In a conspiracy, all loose ends are trimmed or tied off.

    It later came out that Saudi billionaire and jihadist supporter Prince al-Waleed Bin Talal, and some of his associates, had been renting out the uppermost floors of the resort hotel at the time of the incident, and some sources speculated that some sort of arms-deal-gone-wrong had happened. Or maybe it was the Muslims being the Muslims, yet again.

    What the real story happens to be, we the people can be pretty well certain that the official version wasn’t the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Our betters no longer feel an obligation to tell us the truth, and since the public has swallowed these cock-and-bull fairy tales with such apparent unconcern, they intent to keep right on lying to the electorate, day after day, year after year.

    Yet, so insulted and ignored, we proles out in flyover country continue to pay their generous salaries and benefits without complaint….wow. As they say in Chicago, if you have to ask who the mark is, it is probably you!

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You are currently reading "Court Rules A Bump Stock Is Not A Machine Gun", entry #27183 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published March 25th, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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