Trump's Bump Stock Ban Is Under Fire From His Own Judicial Appointees 

This unilateral executive action has been scrutinized by both Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr.


After 2017's mass shooting in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump vowed to ban bump stocks, a type of firearm accessory that the shooter reportedly used. "We can do that with an executive order," Trump declared. "They're working on it right now, the lawyers."

The lawyers at the Department of Justice (DOJ) came up with a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulation "to clarify that [bump stocks] are 'machineguns' as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968" because "such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger." The federal ban on machine guns, in other words, would be interpreted by the Trump administration to ban bump stocks too.

That unilateral executive action has now come under fire from two federal judges appointed by Trump himself.

On March 2, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch issued a statement respecting the denial of certiorari in Guedes v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The executive branch "used to tell everyone that bump stocks don't qualify as 'machineguns.' Now it says the opposite." Yet "the law hasn't changed, only an agency's interpretation of it," Gorsuch complained. "How, in all of this, can ordinary citizens be expected to keep up….And why should courts, charged with the independent and neutral interpretation of the laws Congress has enacted, defer to such bureaucratic pirouetting?"

Gorsuch wasn't alone. On March 30, Judge Brantley Starr, a Trump appointee who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, issued a blistering opinion in Lane v. United States that basically accused the DOJ of ignoring foundational constitutional principles in its defense of Trump's bump stock ban.

The Justice Department justified the ban as a lawful exercise of the "federal police power," Starr observed. But "the federal government forgot the Tenth Amendment and the structure of the Constitution itself," which grants no such power to the feds. "It is concerning that the federal government believes it swallowed the states whole. Assuming the federal government didn't abolish the states to take their police power," Starr wrote, he had no choice but to deny the government's motion to dismiss the case. He then tartly added: "The Court will allow the government to try again and explain which enumerated power justifies the federal regulation."

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  1. the federal government forgot the Tenth Amendment and the structure of the Constitution itself
    Federalism only exists if it supports the desired ends. See history of party support of federalism depending on who controls the US Government.

    The Court will allow the government to try again and explain which enumerated power justifies the federal regulation.
    Has the judge not read the FYTW clause?

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    2. “Has the judge not read the FYTW clause?”

      Government Lawyer: “But judge, what about the FYTW clause?

      Judge: “It doesn’t apply in this case.”

      Government Lawyer: “Why Not?”

      Judge: “Because FYTW”

    3. The bump stock ban is why I left the Republican Party, stopped reading American Thinker and came here, to Reason.
      Now I am going to buy an actual submachine gun, a Mac 11 in 9 mm with a Lage rate reducing upper.
      Living here in Florida I am denied even a binary trigger by state law.
      (our lawsuit against the ban was dismissed)
      Gun people are taken for granted by the GOP
      We need a real third party.
      One that can actually win an election.
      Where is someone like Ross Perot?
      I am certain that millions of people would leave both parties if there were only a viable third-party.

  2. How, in all of this, can ordinary citizens be expected to keep up…

    Not the legislative or executive branches’ problem.

    1. You’ve got to be imprisoned by the law to see what’s in it.

      1. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, even if law enforcement and the courts are ignorant.

        1. What’s the ood saying? Kafkaesque, but true.

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  3. And why should courts, charged with the independent and neutral interpretation of the laws Congress has enacted, defer to such bureaucratic pirouetting?

    Because that’s what your predecessors and colleagues have decided is the courts’ job?

  4. Anyone who likes bump stocks has TDS!

    1. Broken.

      Trump was wrong to attempt this. But it was also done to quell anti gun fervor from the left. This was a bone thrown to them after Vegas. It is good that it is being dismantled. But in your derangement you should at least recognize what was being asked for and what was given.

      1. I truly pity anyone who lives, works, or otherwise associates with you because you’re a literal, humorless, antagonistic jerk. I’ve known people like you and they are absolutely no fun to be around.

        1. Jesse may be humorless but I’ve got to admit that even despite your name, your attempts at sarcasm are often unclear. Poe’s law applies.

          1. Nobody’s perfect.

      2. The TDS runs deep with this one. Find any excuse, take any road, to keep up the pretense that St Donald, who miraculously beat the Evil Hillary at the last minute, can do no wrong.

        1. It’s a documented psychological phenomenon where when people pledge fealty to a politician, they forget any positions they had before kissing the ring, and whatever their king says is what they say.

          You see this with qualified immunity, trade, and other issues all the time on this forum. It’s almost humorous to watch the contortions these fools go through to prove their allegiance to a man.

          1. He is not a man, he is a Saint. You have condemned yourself to the seventh circle of hell.

            1. *hangs head in shame*

            2. Wait a sec, I thought someone had to be dead to be a saint. You know, like Reagan the Best President Evah!

              1. Hmmmm …. I may have to rethink this meme. Drat you!

      3. Are you really that goddamn stupid? Are you saying that Trump is that goddamn stupid? Throwing them a bone? It’s called feeding the crocodile in the hopes he’ll eat you last. The Left’s idea of compromise is “give us half your shit now and we’ll come back for the rest later”. You can’t compromise with these people, every compromise is just one more click on the ratchet and the ratchet only goes one way. We compromised on the Brady Bill, we compromised on the “assault weapons” ban, we compromised on the high-capacity magazines, we compromised on the red-flag laws, and now we’ve compromised on the bump stocks – are we going to compromise until we’re down to glue guns, caulking guns and staple guns?

        Trump wasn’t being “smart” by throwing the Left a bone – the smart thing to do would have been to start talking about repealing the Brady Bill and then ask the gun-grabbers, “You want to start talking about a compromise now, motherfuckers?”

        Which, you know, is kinda why Trump got elected in the first place, because everybody was sick and tired of the mealy-mouthed “compromise” business-as-usual bullshit that led to the GOP being indistinguishable from the Democrats and nominating worthless pieces of shit like John McCain and Mitt Romney and having worthless piece of shit “leaders” like John Boehner and Paul Ryan. Have you forgotten all that? Or do you just not care as long as it’s your Team Orange fucking shit up?

        You know, Obama ran on a platform of vague platitudes of “Hope and Change” and Trump ran on a platform of vague platitudes of repackaging “Hope and Change” as “Make America Great Again” and people desperate for change voted for both of them. They turned on Obama when he didn’t deliver the change and they’ll turn on Trump if he doesn’t deliver the change. And right now the only people offering change are the fucking communists and if you don’t think people desperate for change won’t vote for fucking communists you’d better think again. Ask Venezuelans about being desperate enough to elect communists and ask them how that turned out.

        1. Daaaaamn, Jerry delivering the smackdown to Jesse. I like it!

        2. Jerry’s right here. The left frames the debate every time on every issue now. The right’s instinct to let them put in a big crazy bid and then counter with what they really want is a completely losing battle. Have you heard Michael Malice’s saying “conservatism is just progressivism driving the speed limit?” This is largely what he’s talking about. The trajectory is always in the direction of what the left wants. If Trump can be said to be doing anything useful, it’s to use that strategy against them.

          1. “conservatism is just progressivism driving the speed limit?”

            I like.

            1. You may like Michael Malice and his podcasts. His book The New Right is fascinating. I’ll warn you now, he considers himself an anarchist. I think he’s one of the most consistently interesting political commentators out there.

      4. They get thrown a bone every year. Every year they demand a new one.

        It’s almost as if Republicans are incapable of learning that appeasement does not work.

  5. I know it is a stock image but can we put just a little effort in? That is a Keltec KSG. It is a pump-action bullpup shotgun. Outside of using a picture of a revolver you would be hard pressed to find a picture of a gun less compatible with a bump stock.

    1. Rule number two in the Reason style guide is that the picture associated with an article can NEVER have any direct relationship to the article.

    2. Please. The photo shows a black, scary looking firearm. That’s more than close enough for “journalists”.

      1. Rethink: the choice is intentional. People who know something about firearms are supposed to find it funny. People who only think it looks scary are supposed to think it’s illustrating the article. It’s a subtle jab at the firearm illiterate.

        Yeah, that’s probably expecting too much from whomever makes the image choices.

    3. hickok45 likes it

      Looks like a hell of a lot of fun!

      1. I love my KSG. 14+1 capacity for 2-3/4″ shells. 12+1 for 3″. So much fun! Words of caution if you get one: the 1st generation ones had all kinds of defects; 2nd generation seems to have fixed that. Also, don’t buy Federal ammo; the rim gets caught on the end of the magazine tubes and won’t feed properly.

      2. Like everything KelTec makes, it would be a lot better if somebody competent manufactured it. Great ideas though.

        AIUI, with the KSG, besides the usual KelTec lack of QC hilarity, owners should be very, very careful that the front foregrip doesn’t come loose. Hands and shotgun muzzles don’t mix.

        1. Disagree with this 100%. My KSG has thousands of shells through it with no problems (other than being unable to chamber garbage Federal ammo).

          1. As I noted above, the manufacturing/QC problems appear to have disappeared with the 2nd generation. My understanding is that KelTec will provide a free upgrade if you have a 1st generation that has problems.

          2. Federal makes some very good pistol caliber ammo at good prices. I carry their 9mm 147 gr jhp. Performed best in the ballistics gel tests that tnoutdoors9 ran.

    4. No it is a KS7, the single mag tub version.

  6. Since the feds are not supposed to have police powers I vote to disband the FBI,DEA,ATF and all the swat teams the other agencies have.

    1. But dude, those agencies are needed to enforce the COMMERCE CLAUSE!

    2. Fine. But don’t touch my state enforcement agencies like the Alcoholic Beverage Control Police.

    3. How do you expect kids to learn the alphabet if you get rid of all these acronyms?

    4. Police powers are different from police. “Police powers” is a legal term describing the general right to make things illegal. States have this power. They can pass a law saying it’s illegal to part your hair on the left. (There are some limits but they are not relevant to this discussion.)

      The US Constitution, however, does not give the feds the same power. The feds are limited by the principle of “enumerated powers”. They can write laws only in those specific areas delegated by the Constitution.

      1. In theory They can write laws only in those specific areas delegated by the Constitution.

  7. None of this matters. Until gun rights supporters start acting like groups that actually prevail against our government, (i.e. the Viet Cong, Black Lives Matter, Israel on 8 June 1967) gun control will inevitably ratched tighter around our necks.

  8. That unilateral executive action has now come under fire from two federal judges

    , and they’re using bump stocks.

    1. just two-round bursts

  9. “the law hasn’t changed, only an agency’s interpretation of it,” Gorsuch complained.

    “Changing the interpretation of the law is *my* fucking job!”

  10. I still wonder if, when I shoot bump fire with my thumb in my belt loop, am I breaking any law, or am I simply wasting a ton of ammo? Bump fire from the hip or the shoulder is pretty easy to do. I would advise becoming proficient for a future “whatever “ in spite of this law, but prepare to become be very familiar with your reloading bench.

    1. I have always preferred aimed fire. Saves ammo, and is more effective. Seeing bodies drop instead of just hearing a lot of noise tends to make the targets think more about hiding than shooting.

  11. The executive branch “used to tell everyone that bump stocks don’t qualify as ‘machineguns.’ Now it says the opposite.” Yet “the law hasn’t changed, only an agency’s interpretation of it,” Gorsuch complained. “How, in all of this, can ordinary citizens be expected to keep up….And why should courts, charged with the independent and neutral interpretation of the laws Congress has enacted, defer to such bureaucratic pirouetting?”

    Has this dumbass never heard of Auer and Chevron? Deferring to agency interpretations of the law – even when they just change them to mean the complete opposite of what they said they meant before – is exactly what the Supreme Court is supposed to be doing according to those rulings. It’s not a judge’s place to be second-guessing the decisions of the executive branch agencies. Sure, they can second-guess the President and Congress all day long by declaring that certain actions and laws the President and Congress themselves said were totally Constitutional are in fact not Constitutional, but there’s nothing in the Constitution that gives the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the bureaucrats who actually run the government.

    1. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to delegate its responsibilities to Executive agencies, giving them the power to create, interpret and enforce rules with the power of law. Separation of powers is for schmucks.

      1. Judges like Gorsuch agree with you; hopefully by the grace of God we will have some more like him.

        1. Sarcasmic, do you agree? Do you want more judges line Gorsuch on SC?

          1. You’ve never asked and honest question. You’ve got personal attacks queued up for me no matter what my response is. So all I can say is blow me, asshole.

            1. This thread was so close to forming a good conversation. Let’s all play nice. It’ll take another two Gorsuches (Gorsuchi?) to undo the damage of the Dread Judge Roberts. That guy has absolutely proven to me that he’s on team “whatever the state wants.” Probably by design. GWB was in no way a conservative.

            2. Nice. lol.

  12. I’m assuming that there are plans for 3D printing these.

    1. No need to 3D print. All you need is a pair of denim jeans.

  13. Once again the judiciary reveals itself to be lagging modern sensibility. Judging law on Constitutional grounds is so 20th century. They need to learn how to apply the new criteria: does a law increase or decrease sadness (and how many votes are involved)?

    1. Wrong criteria. Better one: “Does a law increase or decrease sadness in Trump?”

  14. Binary triggers are way better than bump stocks for replicating automatic fire, and as of now are fine per ATF and all States but NY, NJ, and FL; just a matter of time before some POTUS present or future decides that autocratically banning those is a good bone to throw.

  15. goes in the Stupid Acts bin anyway

  16. That bump stock are kind of silly accessory, does not change the fact that Trump’s extension of gun control to accessories is the biggest and worst gun control action since the GCA 1968; and he proposed much worse with the age increase above the age of suffrage, essentially making gun ownership a government granted privilege – not a right. But what did people expect from Trump the life long gun control advocate.

  17. Oh, if only Trump didn’t have to appoint people. If only he were omnipresent and could do everything himself! Only then would we have the utopia we deserve as Americans? Who the hell needs omniscience when you’re omnipresent?

    Don’t with Trump appointees! Let Trump do it all himself!

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  18. Dear Lying Jeffy, I am against Trump’s bumpstock ban.

  19. Like others have said it’s a Keltec.
    For those who are not gun people you can, tell by the grid pattern on the grip.
    Keltec puts that in all their guns.
    There was never a bump stock made for any model Keltec.
    Would it have taken any effort at all to get an actual picture of a bump stock to illustrate the article?

    1. But they have been federally banned. Some might download an actual picture and profilerate possession of images of contraband.

  20. Banning bump stocks after Vegas is the tactical equivalent of burning Beatles’ White Albums after the Manson Family Helter Skelter murders. Purely symbolic gestures, voodoo criminology, which proves we are ruled by idiots.

    Since Biden has joked about using F15s and Hellfire missiles on people who would refuse to surrender their AR-15s under his AWB, and Beto chimed in that the federal govt has nukes, we are facing criminally insane jokesters.

  21. For all the Trump worshippers and Boot lickers on here :
    Trump had to unilaterally change the definition of the NFA in order to ban bump stocks. This was a usurpation of congressional power during a time when the GOP controlled congress.
    This created over 100’000 felons out of innocent gun owners. He’s done more harm to gun rights than Obama, Clinton and Carter ever imagined they could.

    (Math : Over 250k bumpstocks were sold nationally. Generously assuming that everyone who ever purchased one bought at least 2 of them, that leaves a minimum of 100k felons made from gun owners. 99% of those who bought bumpstocks never turned them in.)

  22. Good news, everyone! They’ve replaced the stock photo of the Kel-Tec not-a-bump-stock with a stock photo of a bog-standard Magpul adjustable also-not-a-bump-stock.

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