A Victory for Gun Control Advocates in the Supreme Court

The Story:

The US Supreme Court, on April 5, rejected an effort by a pro-gun group to delay the enforcement of a federal ban on bump stocks, devices that attach to firearms and assist rapid firing.


On the evening of October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock, a 64 year old real estate investor and avid gambler, opened fire from the window of a room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. He was using bump stocks, and firing on a concert-attending crowd below him.

Paddock killed 58 people that evening and wounded another 851. Authorities found 23 rifles in the hotel room after the incident. A dozen of them had bump stocks affixed. The Trump administration had the ATF expand its interpretation of existing anti-automatic-weapons statutes, so that bump stocks are now effectively banned.

The courts below have upheld this regulation against challenges, and the challengers appealed the matter to the US Supreme Court: to no avail.

The Thing to Know: 

The legal challenge at issue was not based on the 2d amendment to the US Constitution and its right to bear arms. Rather: the challenge pressed arguments that the ATF had overstepped its authority by reinterpreting the statutes, and that it had failed to follow proper administrative procedures for such a reinterpretation.


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