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Trump's campaign says Supreme Court’s decision striking down his admin's bump stock rule ‘should be respected'

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The campaign for former President Donald Trump reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday striking down a Trump-era ban on a firearm accessory known as a “bump stock.” 

“The Court has spoken and their decision should be respected,” said Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt in a statement. 

“President Trump has been and always will be a fierce defender of Americans’ Second Amendment rights and he is proud to be endorsed by the NRA. During a time when our border is open to terrorists and criminals, and migrant crime is on the rise, the right to keep and bear arms has never been more critical, and Joe Biden wants to take that right away from law-abiding Americans. President Trump won’t let that happen,” Leavitt said.

In a 6-3 decision, the high court’s majority said that a bump stock does not transform a firearm into a machine gun and that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “exceeded its statutory authority” by issuing the rule. 


A bump stock is an attachment that replaces a semi-automatic weapon’s standard stock, the part of the long weapon that rests on the shoulder.

As the shooter applies forward thrust on the barrel, the device harnesses the recoil energy so that the trigger will “bump” against the stationary finger, which then allows another round to be fired. The effect is more rapid shots than with a standard stock.

The high court’s majority found that the statutory definition of a “machinegun” is any weapon capable of firing “automatically more than one shot . . . by a single function of the trigger.” 

“Congress has long restricted access to “‘machinegun[s],'” a category of firearms defined by the ability to “shoot, automatically more than one shot . . . by a single function of the trigger,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority.


A bump stock and handguns collected during a buyback event in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, March 4, 2023.

“Semiautomatic firearms, which require shooters to reengage the trigger for every shot, are not machineguns. This case asks whether a bump stock—an accessory for a semi-automatic rifle that allows the shooter to rapidly reengage the trigger (and therefore achieve a high rate of fire)—converts the rifle into a ‘machinegun.’ We hold that it does not,” he said. 

After a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 60 people dead and 500 more wounded, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued an interpretive rule concluding that “bump stocks” are machine guns.

“This tragedy created tremendous political pressure to outlaw bump stocks nationwide. Within days, Members of Congress proposed bills to ban bump stocks and other devices ‘designed to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle,’” Thomas wrote in Thursday’s opinion.

The Trump administration initiated a ban on the devices — reversing earlier regulations — and President Biden’s Justice Department defended it in court. 

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, dissented from the majority saying, “the Court puts bump stocks back in civilian hands. To do so, it casts aside Congress’s definition of ‘machinegun’ and seizes upon one that is inconsistent with the ordinary meaning of the statutory text and unsupported by context or purpose.”


Trump at NRA event

“When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck. A bump-stock-equipped semiautomatic rifle fires ‘automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. Because I, like Congress, call that a machinegun, I respectfully dissent,” Sotomayor wrote. 

Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works, sued the government after he was forced to surrender several “bump stocks” under the ATF’s rule. He argued that the agency had overstepped its administrative authority to impose a ban, absent any congressional action.

“Over five years ago I swore I would defend the Constitution of the United States, even if I was the only plaintiff in the case. I did just that,” Cargill, an Army veteran, said Friday. 

Trump spoke at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting in Texas last month, thanking the “great patriots” for the endorsements, but reprimanded the “rebellious bunch” for not voting.

“But one thing I’ll say, and I say it as friends, we’ve got to get gun owners to vote, because you know what? I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s a form of rebellion, because you’re a rebellious people, aren’t you?,” Trump said. “But gun owners don’t vote. What is that all about?”

“If gun owners would vote, we would swamp them at levels that nobody’s ever seen before,” he said. “So, I think you’re a rebellious bunch. So let’s be rebellious and vote this time.”

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