WASHINGTON, DC - The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear a case to determine whether the ban on bump stocks, which were implemented during the Trump administration, violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms. This marks the second major gun case the Supreme Court will address this term, highlighting the importance and significance of these legal battles.
The case involving bump stocks stems from the tragic mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas in 2017. The shooter utilized bump stocks, which are attachments added to firearms to enable rapid firing of multiple rounds from semi-automatic weapons with a single trigger pull. At the time of the shooting, bump stocks were legal.
In 2018, following the Las Vegas tragedy, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) revised the definition of a machine gun in the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the National Firearms Act of 1986. This revision classified bump stocks as part of the machine gun category, resulting in their ban. As a result, owning bump stocks became illegal in 2019.
Several lawsuits challenging this reclassification were filed in different states. Over the years, federal appeals courts have generally upheld the ATF's decision, affirming the ban on bump stocks. However, in January of this year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the ban unconstitutional. The court determined that the ATF lacked the authority to redefine the term machine gun and suggested that Congress would need to amend the law to ban bump stocks.
In response to the Fifth Circuit's ruling, the Biden administration appealed the decision. Given the conflicting rulings from various appeals courts, the Supreme Court has now taken up the case to determine the constitutionality of classifying bump stocks as part of the machine gun category.
It is important to note that this is not the only gun-related case the Supreme Court will address this term. In the coming week, the court is scheduled to hear the case of United States versus Rahimi. This case raises the question of whether individuals with court-approved domestic violence restraining orders have a Second Amendment right to possess a firearm.
When considering these cases, the Supreme Court will apply the "Bruin Test," which was established during the previous term. This test requires modern gun laws to have a connection to the historical tradition of firearm regulation in the United States. In other words, for a gun law to be considered constitutional, it must have some basis in the gun laws that existed during the nation's founding. While the laws do not need to be identical, they should be rooted in tradition.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the bump stock case next year, while the Rahimi case will be heard in the coming week. Decisions on both cases are expected by the end of the term in June. These rulings will have far-reaching implications for the interpretation of the Second Amendment and the regulation of firearms in the United States.