Bump Stock Case Expedited by Court of Appeals in DC

Slidefire Solutions Bump Fire Stock Assembled
Bump Stock Case Expedited by Court of Appeals in DC

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- The appeal by the Plaintiffs against the BATFE in the bump stock ruling has been expedited.  The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ordered the parties to submit briefs by March 4th of 2019. That is extraordinarily fast by U.S. appeals court standards.

The original ruling by the Circuit court hinged on the notion that ordinary words are ambiguous, and an agency can reverse previous rulings when the agency decides to do so.  From the opinion:

Most of the plaintiffs’ administrative law challenges are foreclosed by the Chevron doctrine, which permits an agency to reasonably define undefined statutory terms. See Chevron v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, 467 U.S. 837 (1984). Here, Congress defined “machinegun” in the NFA to include devices that permit a firearm to shoot “automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger,” 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b), but it did not further define the terms “single function of the trigger” or “automatically.” Because both terms are ambiguous, ATF was permitted to reasonably interpret them, and in light of their ordinary meaning, it was reasonable for ATF to interpret “single function of the trigger” to mean “single pull of the trigger and analogous motions” and “automatically” to mean “as the result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single pull of the trigger.” ATF also reasonably applied these definitions when it concluded that bump stocks permit a shooter to discharge multiple rounds automatically with a single function of the trigger. That this decision marked a reversal of ATF’s previous interpretation is not a basis for invalidating the rule because ATF’s current interpretation is lawful and ATF adequately explained the change in interpretation.

The Chevron doctrine gives enormous power to the administrative bureaucracies. An agency is not required to be consistent. An agency can change its interpretations of the law arbitrarily, as long as it can conjure up some justification of reasonableness.

One of the major challenges to the bump stock ban is that it reverses long-standing interpretation of the statute by the BATFE.

Both of President Trump's appointees to the Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch, and Justice Kavanaugh, have been critical of the Chevron decision and its consequences. From eenews.net:

The Chevron doctrine, which is named for a 1984 Supreme Court case, played a big role in the confirmation battle for Gorsuch, who wrote a scathing concurring opinion slamming the doctrine shortly before he was nominated for the high court. Senators focused several questions on the doctrine during Gorsuch's multiday hearing.

While Chevron is unlikely to make front-page news during the Kavanaugh confirmation process, the debate over the future of the doctrine remains strong, particularly in conservative legal circles.

The Chevron decision gives enormous power to unelected officials. It undercuts the rule of law, as interpretations of a rule can be reversed at any time, arbitrarily, and without any change in the law by Congress.

When the Chevron decision was made, it was the D.C. Circuit court that was undercutting the democratic process, by applying the court's interpretation of regulations, which often seemed at odds with what Congress had intended.

Chevron was meant to stop the abuse of power by the D.C. Circuit but unintentionally gave enormous power to the bureaucracy.

It is difficult to accurately assign motivations to an appeals court or to the Supreme Court based on the timing of appeals.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 26 thoughts on “Bump Stock Case Expedited by Court of Appeals in DC

    1. This unconstitutional violation of our liberty is beyond my ability to digest. As a Army enlisted volunteer I swore an oath to support and defend the constitution against all enemies forgiven and domestic.THIS WILL DEFEND, MOLON ABE, AND GOD BE WITH ME AS THE RULE OF LAW IS NO LONGER VALID. Where are the Governors of the states? Have they no responsibility to remove such violations of my rights? Are they also now enemies of the constitution? It is time fellow patriots. We must defend our God given rights or suffer them to unelected non-political and unreasonable criminals and thugs.
      Act upon your calling to this great nation. Act upon a fellow patriots request. Defend your rights or all who have died for them have done so in vain. 3/16/2019

    2. First: Every thing I read is that Congress cannot legislate their responsibilities and authority away. They cannot give lawmaking authority to unelected beuracrats as per interpretation of the constitution. Then comes Chevron, which is at best, bad case law and unconstitutional. This gives power to overrule, overturn, and disregard the constitution to one lone beauraucrat’s wild infatuation of delusions of grandeur. Chevron is unconstitutional and must be destroyed just as the gca 34 68 86 must be destroyed and celebratory line of Patriots pissing on the graves of FDR, teddy kinkydey, & bush 41.

      Second: since when can a simple law, ie 51/49% of a vote overrule the constitution? I thought it took an amendment of the constitution to have that power. Again, ancroachment of freedom and destruction of civil rights. 18 USC 242. These tyrants must be sued out of existence.the federal judges ruling by fiat must be impeached and thrown out of office. They have no protection from “under colour of law” provisions that permit redress of grievances for having your God Given constitutionally affirmed civil rights.

      Thirdly: the disregard for the Constitution that our rulers show on a daily basis must be stopped. They use insider information to enrich themselves and their families, they disregard laws of donations and gift limits, they use their campaign funds to pay for outrageous items, then purchase those items for themselves afterwards for pennies, eat on donor meals, sleep in donor beds, and vote how foreign donors want. Nothing to see here, keep it moving…..

      Until k street is dismantled, corruption is actually punished, rape island got 3 yrs in club fed, Clinton inc got nothing, even the 2 billion dollar bedroom she tried to buy…..

    3. Yes this bump stock debacle is another scam aimed at taking away our civil rights by a process of attrition and needs the attention all of you are giving it but what angers me the most is the “red flag” laws being passed by many state legislatures. Talk about ambiguous definitions, define “dangerous individuals” or “pose a danger to them selves” (that’s me with a chain saw) and let law enforcement, families and individual citizens make that call and define who that might be without due process they don’t even need an activist judge using the Chevron law. You don’t get a hearing until after they raid your home and forcefully take your firearms. A disgruntled neighbor or ex-wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend can do it with only retribution for a reason. That my fraternal shooting friends is simply outrageous and unacceptable! They have done it to 450 people in Florida and killed one that resisted. Pretty sad day for our glorious constitution.
      As for bump stocks you can make one with a piece of pine board and a wood dowel, or why bother when you can use your belt loop thumb and index finger to obtain the same result? It’s clear they want to ban semi-autos and then
      everything else until there’s nothing left…….that process of attrition is working as we speak. Nuff said!
      Remember: Gun control is a steady aim”.

    4. Its time the 1792 militia act was updated to our modern times..our founders didnt want a standing army to be formidable.

    5. Let’s not forget which “friend” of gunowners caused this and supported it.

      He currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave…

    6. OK, not to argue the law either way, but if the law stands and I have to divest myself of this SSAK-47-HYB AKM stock, the ATF’s destruction methods from their web site state possible methods of destruction to include completely melting, shredding or crushing the device. The very next sentence says: : “Any method of destruction must render the device incapable of being readily restored to function.”
      Since mine is the Aluminum type with the 6 position adjustable stock, would pinning & completely welding the chassis tube so it can never be used or returned to any bump or auto fire purposes be an acceptable form of destruction? That conversion would enable me and a number of other owners to at least minimize the costs associated with divest and replacement product.
      I want to comply with the law but I also don’t want to spend another 150.00 for a legal replacement product that performs the same as welding up my current stock. I have not read a single post anywhere regarding converting these items to what amounts to a simple adjustable stock.Could one of you legal guys offer any opinion on if a permanent conversion would be sufficient to NOT violate 18 U.S.C 922 ? Is the law complete destruction, period, or is it rendering the device incapable of the original purpose? Why mention the words “incapable of being readily restored” if surrender or destruction was our only options?

      1. Steve, why comply? Unless you commit an illegal act with your firearm, they will not be coming for you. I also believe in following law, but when arbitrary, wrong, and unconstitutional rules are created that cannot be enforced, unless you are “caught”, I would just go about my business and not worry.

        1. We know it’s all BS but for me, the potential penalties, 10k fine and prison time as well as not being able to ever own a firearm again far outweigh any benefit I ever got from the POS. I just keep it because it’s a decent adjustable stock that allows mounting the AR style stock on the AK platform. Today I found the Tapco T6 is the same damn thing as mine if I welded it. So, for 40.00 on Ebay it just ain’t worth the risk of keeping it.. Who knows how far they will push it if the law passes but safe to assume the ATF probably has or can get all the sales records if they want to audit it and start collecting fines and making some examples. Hell, I just read an article where 150 agents raided 4 thugs and recovered 7 weapons in Petersburg VA. . Think about that…. If they can muster up 150 agents not including state and local guys, for such a small raid, then they have no shortage of manpower to VERY actively enforce this ban. Do I think they will be knocking on doors asking questions ? You damn skippy they will! And none of this court stuff stops the knee jerking states from now banning it either.
          The really Good news is my NRA membership expires this month and I’ll be using those funds to buy the Tapco. When the NRA sends me a bill next month I plan to enclose those destroyed parts as payment.

    7. I ha e a bump stock. It can’t be adjusted in length, so it is very hard for me to use. Yet I Don not believe that the govt should be able to tell me that it’s a machine gun. Laws must be interpreted according to what the mean was at the time of passage, not what some one, even out Pres, wants it say!

    8. He who defines the terms (meanings of words used) defines reality, and in essence makes law.
      Congress had certain things in view when THEY defined “machinegun”. The COurt needs to get into the record and determine what THEY meant then.

      Probably the single most critical aspect of this entire case is that a bunch of unelected unaccountable-to-the-People administrators have out of nowhere decided that the words COngress defined now mean something else, in essence, an agency has made law, an actioin strictly reserved to the COngress of the United States. It does seem that this Chevron business needs to be interpreted in such a way that it does NOT allow any entity other than COngress to make law.

      Next, we have the other SERIOUS Constitutional issues..,

      ex post facto,

      taking without compensation,

      right to keep and bear arms being infringed by government deciding WHICH ONES we may/mayn’t keep, or bear, in counter to the definition of the term “arms” at the time said Constitution was ratified.

      I would also think some attention should be paid to the incident alledgedly behind the urgency of this illegal redefinitioin of terms… specifically, the Las Vegas concert shooting. So far we have seen NOT ONE SHRED of evidence that any weapon discharged during that event actually had a bump stock fitted. Sure, we saw a picture of one such weapon lying on the floor in what is supposed to be the place from which the attack was launched. No piles of empty brass anywhere near it. And NO ballistics establshing that THAT weapon fired any of the nundreds/thousands of recovered projectiles from the target area. Then there were the images alledged to have been taken later when the room was more fully examined.. tags, placards, etc now in view…. and a few of those rifles also had bump stocks fitted… but again, NO proof any of those were even fired. I noted with interest that a number of those rifles fitted with bumpstocks had NO SIGHTING DEVICES OF ANY TYPE. As thorough and meticulous as the shooter appeared to be, I find the allegation that any of those sightless bumpstock equipoped weapons were actually used during the event.

      This whole thing stinks like a cesspool that never had any lime duped into it…….

    9. Congress likes the idea of an alphabet agency being able to pass opinions as if they were laws because that keeps congress out of the spotlight when something like bump stocks comes up. Congress doesn’t look bad because they didn’t take our right away. Besides the way democrats like to change the law to fit their particular interest this falls right into place for them. All this is a long way from what the founders intended and look at what Roberts did in the Obamacare decision. The rule of law has left the building.

    10. I don’t care for the bump stock, but I do care about the 2nd Amendment! The courts are made up of liberal no goods and I do NOT trust them.
      Let’s hope the SCOTUS is really a Constitutional court and not a bunch of activists!

    11. This is rediculous , these people get voted in uphold our constitution not change it… it’s worse than being in class when one person does wrong and the teacher takes it out on the class…now one does wrong and they want to take it out on the whole country…..I know a Russian that went back to Russia because there are to many laws in this country….he was right wasn’t he ?? We’ve turned into a tree hugger country instead of a man’s country….I’m glad I won’t be around for another fifty years to see where this country is going…

    12. As an Ohio Court found, the bump stock once installed becomes a vital component to the safe operation of the firearm.

      Prior restricted firearm laws enacted and found constitutional, such as The Brady Law, provided a grandfather clause, a provision the bump stock ban does not do.

      What it does do is criminalize those who engaged in legal commerce retroactive to the ban – creating defacto law which should be found unconstitutional.

      A happy medium “may be”, place bump stocks under NFA item with a trade off sought placing sbr’s and suppressors off NFA and under 4473 review.

      1. Big difference between being “found” constitutional and merely being DECLARED “constitutional” by an ignorant or leftist judge.

    13. Whether the Court likes it or not, words have meanings. Now, when you can change the meanings of those words, that is where the real power lies.

      1. Look up Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 468 U.S. 837 (1984), see https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/chevron_deference. The Chevron Deference was explicitly mentioned by the government’s response to the case and the judge in this case. SCOTUS already gave the government the power to change the meaning of words, oddly enough in 1984.

        For more details, read “D.C. Court’s Refusal to Enjoin Bump Stock Final Rule Underscores the Problem with Chevron Deference NCLA believes courts must apply the rule of lenity instead” at https://www.nclalegal.org/news/2019/3/1/dc-courts-refusal-to-enjoin-bump-stock-final-rule-underscores-the-problem-with-chevron-deference-ncla-believes-courts-must-apply-the-rule-of-lenity-instead

        1. And the High Court has indicated in two cases already that it is less inclined to follow Chevron. Gorsuch, in particular, has said as much. Chevron is long overdue to be discarded.

    14. It’s time to get back to the Basics of Law, and the US Constitution.
      Let’s do away with self/arbitrary interpretations by SCOTUS as the heresy they truly are!

      If not, let’s just elect a President, who will appoint Constitutionally Correct English professors as SCOTUS, who can/will correctly interpret the language of the Fore Fathers’… surely they will be able to read the law, and give an accurate opinion!

      A SCOTUS is not required to be consistent, I am afraid to ask what does that even mean?

      1. To be crude, it means they can make crud up as they go along. Yep, there goes all our fundamentals and traditions. It’s sad to see such a time ever existed, even more so to be living in that time. They should be careful, however, as the very power they now wield is the very power that will be their undoing. Indifference for the letter of the law has a corrupting effect that spreads from the top down.

        I agree 100%.

        1. I know what you’re saying JBN..
          It’s sad, too sad!

          A 1st grader can see that the two faced Leftists are crying foul against trump, for violating his Constitutional authority. Complaining that he’s ignoring the checks and balances, but the same legislature gives the SCOTUS a free ticket to judge left or right, and up and down, at their own whim…
          Not at all an equal, balanced, or impartial judgment.. as inconsistent as they fell like being.

          Where is Liberty, where is Justice? She must be truly blind, and fell in the hog pen with the rest of the leftists!

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