Supreme Court denies request to put bump stock regulation on hold

The Supreme Court denied a request Friday to temporarily block the Trump administration’s rule banning bump stocks.

In a brief, unsigned order, the court denied the request from gun rights groups to place the regulation, which took effect April 3, on hold for the plaintiffs who are challenging the ban in lower courts. It is the third time justices have been asked to issue such an order.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said that they would have voted to put the rule on hold as it applies to the challengers. Thomas has repeatedly written that lower courts are snubbing the rights of gun owners.

A bump stock is an attachment that makes it easier to fire rounds from a semi-automatic weapon by harnessing the gun’s recoil to “bump” the trigger faster.

The Justice Department issued a rule in December interpreting an existing prohibition against fully automatic weapons to also cover bump stocks. Owners were given 90 days to turn in or destroy them, and that period ended last month.

Individuals in possession of bump stocks as well as groups, asked the court to step in after the ban went into effect while they seek to appeal to a larger panel of judges on the US Circuit Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit.

They argue the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it created the rule.

“Absent a stay, Applicants and their members will be required to surrender or destroy their property or face felony charges for possession of devices that were unquestionably legal” under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives construction “for the past 85 years”, their lawyers argued.

Lawyers for the Trump administration urged the Supreme Court to deny a similar request last month, arguing that the rule was necessary to advance the safety of “law-enforcement personnel” and would result in less danger to first responders.