Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns

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U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Gun Owners of America (GOA), Gun Owners Foundation (GOF), the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), Matt Watkins, Tim Harmsen of the Military Arms Channel, and GOA’s Texas Director, Rachel Malone, defeated the bump stock ban in the Sixth Circuit Court of appeals.

According to the government, “the term ‘machinegun’ means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.”

Gun Owners of America argued that a bump stock doesn’t meet the definition of a machine gun because each pull of the trigger only fires a single round. The court agreed that bump stocks are not machine guns, and the ATF has overstepped its boundaries when redefining bump stocks.

The Sixth Circuit Court said: “With or without a bump stock, a semiautomatic firearm is capable of firing only a single shot for each pull of the trigger and is unable to fire again until the trigger is released, and the hammer of the firearm is reset.”

Bump stocks are still banned.

The panel of judges from the Sixth Circuit Court sent the case back to the District Court to decide how widespread any injunction against the ban should be, but since different circuits have different rulings on the subjects any injunction will only be for Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The Sixth Circuit Court denied the ATF Chevron deference. Chevron deference defers to a federal agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous or unclear statute. The government argued that since the regulation wasn’t clear, the ATF could determine what is and isn’t a machine gun.

The Sixth Circuit Court ruled, “Chevron deference does not apply to agency interpretation of criminal statute thus the court does not need to decide whether agency can waive Chevron deference, therefore, the court must determine BEST MEANING of the statute”

The government could file for an en banc review of the case, or the government could appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. An en banc review means every Sixth Circuit judge will get a say in the case. This victory is the first victory that gun rights advocates had in defending bump stocks.

Other legal challenges have failed in other Circuit Courts and have been unable to get an injunction against the ban. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a challenge to the bump stock ban.

In a week where the White House and anti-gun politicians have attacked gun rights, this is has been a welcome surprise for gun owners from the courts.

Gun Owners of America celebrated the victory. GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt insinuated that the battle isn’t over, but this is the first step towards complete and total victory.

“Today’s court decision is great news, and told gun owners what they already knew,” said GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt. “We are glad the judges finally applied the statute accurately and struck down the ATF’s illegal overreach and infringement of gun owners’ rights.”

The Federal Government has not responded at the time of this writing. The Circuit Court split means it is more likely that the Supreme Court will take up the case.


About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

John Crump

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Gene Ralno
Gene Ralno
7 months ago

In my small world, few give a hoot about bump stocks but for me, here’s the real issue. The Justice Department should not have banned them because it’s a poor investment and most states have come to grips with it. In fact all gun laws are poor investments. Even the public knows it since the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) received 36,000 comments on bump stock regulation and 85 percent opposed it. Gun laws cost tens of millions, accomplish nothing and annoy the most lawful, peaceable segment of our population. If the government has the authority to confiscate… Read more »

JDT
JDT
7 months ago

Remember the first ever orange president also a republican is the one who did the banning and set precedence for Creepy Joe to do whatever he wants…

JNew
JNew
7 months ago
Reply to  JDT

Correctamundo! Trump’s cowboy approach did nothing for American gun owners.

toomanyhobbies
toomanyhobbies
7 months ago
Reply to  JDT

um the ATF did the banning not Trump, they acted alone and Trump did nothing to intervene…

RoyD
RoyD
7 months ago
Reply to  toomanyhobbies

Wrong! They were directed by the Trump Administration to ban them.

Get Out
Get Out
6 months ago
Reply to  toomanyhobbies
JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago
Reply to  toomanyhobbies

Trump took care of bump stocks personally via a Presidential Memorandum to the BATFE: Presidential Memorandum on the Application of the Definition of Machinegun to “Bump Fire” Stocks and Other Similar Devices – The White House (archives.gov) He ordered the BATFE to ban bump stocks and, right in the order, bragged that he got something done that Obama had failed to do. No matter how many times proof of Trump’s flip-flopping is provided, people will still carry his water. All you are doing is emboldening people like John Cornyn to push for more gun control. He sees firearm owners worship… Read more »

swmft
swmft
7 months ago

supreme court ,, would be nice if they would comment on shall not be infringed , say that militias overthrew the government once ,and if the people believe the government is out of control it is their right to do it again,if they so see fit

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
7 months ago

Bump stocks are not machine guns anymore than my belt loop or Jerry Miculek’s trigger finger.

JDT
JDT
7 months ago
Reply to  Ryben Flynn

I shook Jerry’s hand at NRA Indy and now I can shoot faster than ever before!

nrringlee
nrringlee
7 months ago

Definitions no longer come from Blackstone. They come from Orwell. That is the problem.

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
7 months ago

Since the government has unlimited resources, they would normally move forward against any setback. Usually they would request an en banc review. That isn’t likely to do them any good in the Sixth Circuit, but they might try anyway. The problem is that the government really doesn’t want this case going to the current Supreme Court, so they might just leave the panel ruling in place and hope they can get a bump stock ban through congress instead. The ruling doesn’t prevent Congress from banning bump stocks, all it says is that the ATF can’t make up their own laws… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Xaun Loc
Considerthis
Considerthis
7 months ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

This B.S.Ban divided the gun community to a degree (unfortunately). Now, this correction will divide the anti-rights bunch to a degree. The left succeeded in delaying or undoing whatever Trump tried to do by going to the courts. The B.S.Ban was something they agreed with him on, so while they love to see his efforts reversed, this is a case where they want his measure to stand. I think you are right, they can easily attach a B.S. amendment to one of their ” touch every base” anti-gun bills and try to shove it through congress. Hopefully everyone recognizes we… Read more »

barnjoer
barnjoer
7 months ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

That’s BS! If the government can ban any product made by a US citizen then they can ban Ford vehicles or Cheerios for ladders over 6 feet tall. The rogue government has got to be put back in their place by we the people so the voters had better wake up.