Supreme Court Refuses to Block Ban on Bump Stocks

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to block a Trump administration initiative banning bump stocks, the attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles to fire in sustained, rapid bursts.

The court’s action, in a one-sentence order, means that the regulation will remain in force while challenges to it move forward in the courts. There were no noted dissents.

The case concerns executive power, not the Second Amendment. The lead plaintiff, Gun Owners of America, which describes itself as “the ‘no compromise’ gun lobby,” argued that the administration had exceeded its authority by banning bump stocks under federal laws that largely ban machine guns. (The National Rifle Association was not a party to the suit.)

Bump stocks work by harnessing a firearm’s recoil energy to allow it to keep firing after a single pull of the trigger. The Justice Department has said this transforms semiautomatic weapons into fully automatic machine guns.

The regulation, which went into effect on Tuesday, bans the sale or possession of bump stocks, which were used by a gunman to massacre 58 people and wound hundreds of others at a Las Vegas concert in October 2017.

Under the regulation, Americans who own bump stocks have 90 days to destroy their devices or to turn them in to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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