Federal Government Files For a Rehearing En Banc of GOA v. Garland

CINCINNATI, OH-(Ammoland.com)-With three hours left in the deadline, the federal government filed a petition for a rehearing en banc of Gun Owners of America V. Garland. The government asked the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to agree to rehear the case.

Gun Owners of America V. Garland centers around the ATF’s (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) decision to reclassify bump stocks as machine guns. The move to make a sliding piece of plastic and fully automatic firearm came after a mass murder at a country music festival in Las Vegas. The authorities said the killer used a bump stock to simulate automatic gunfire.

Gun Owners of America argued that bump stocks are not machine guns because, under ATF’s own definition, a machine is a gun the expels multiple rounds with a “single function of the trigger.” A bump stock doesn’t change how the trigger works in a firearm. Each pull of the trigger only fires a single round; therefore doesn’t change a semi-automatic rifle to a fully automatic gun.

The regulation reads:

“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.”

The panel of three judges from the Sixth Circuit Court ruled that a firearm equipped with a bump stock does not meet the definition of a machine by a margin of two to one.

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.”

The government argued that the ATF had 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 panel of judges also denied the ATF claim that it was entitled to Chevron deference.

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

The court remanded the case back to the District level to decide how far an injunction would apply. The decision also contradicts a similar case out of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed with the government. The split in the Circuit Courts means that any injunction would only apply to Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. That split would mean a bump stock would be a piece of plastic in Ohio but would become a machine once the owner crosses the border into West Virginia.

The government’s petition for a rehearing en banc is not a sure thing. The court could decide to deny the rehearing leaving the government with the only choice to appeal to the United States Supreme Court. If the government does that, SCOTUS might be compelled to take the case because of the split at the Circuit Court level.

The court has stated whether or not it is considering granting the petition, and the courts will not allow the plaintiffs to respond until then.


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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Tionico
Tionico
1 month ago

when that cheap silly piece of plastic can, when employed all by itself, propel a bullet any distance at all THEN we MAY have a “machine gun” in our hands. The FACT that it must be used together with a “firearm” as defined per federal statue in order to be effective means it is NOT< solo, a “machine gun”.

How stupid can these gummit poohbahs get?

Captn John
Captn John
1 month ago

Biden’s pen can’t do it congress will not. So a freaking agency with zero elected officials make laws and call them rules.

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
1 month ago
Reply to  Captn John

“Make rules and call them laws”?

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
1 month ago

The ATF’s Definition of an AR-15 Lower as a ‘Firearm’ Is In Serious Trouble.
Search for the story.
THAT is why they want to change the definition like they did for bump stocks.

BigJim
BigJim
1 month ago

A single function of the trigger is how the infringement was written, but they can’t even follow their own written rules. They flail around like an inflatable advertising balloons.

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
1 month ago
Reply to  BigJim

“Wild, wacky, waving, inflatable arm flailing tube man”.

gregs
gregs
1 month ago

our representatives have abdicated their authority as lawmakers to the unaccountable administrative state and this is repugnant and evil and should be removed from office. their job as representatives is to create law that is in line with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. it is time to rid ourselves of these lazy, irresponsible liars and return to our foundation of law.

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
1 month ago
Reply to  gregs

A huge part of the problem is the basic premise that our representatives job and function is to create more laws. Seriously, whst else does our society need to be made illegal? We need to encourage them to clean up the books and repeal a metric butt ton of laws, starting with gun laws.

Quatermain
Quatermain
1 month ago

And still not one chain of custody projectile has been linked to even one of Paddock’s rifles. False flag if ever there was one.

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
1 month ago
Reply to  Quatermain

That poor shmuck Paddock was dead before the first shot was fired. Gotta love the bump stocked rifles sitting on the floor, aimed out the window, resting on their evil, dangerous bipods. Lind of like a Corvette with square wheels.

Patriot Solutions
Patriot Solutions
1 month ago

I was pleased to recently see Justice Thomas state on record that his previous support of Chevron was incorrect, that the application of Chevron, for the record, should be reconsidered.

The administrative state is bleeding, it’s a good day for the Republic.

Last edited 1 month ago by Patriot Solutions
warfinge
warfinge
1 month ago

Suppose the ban is overturned… will we be reimbursed for the destroyed bumpstocks we no longer own?

Roland T. Gunner
Roland T. Gunner
1 month ago
Reply to  warfinge

Dont hold your breath. But lets brush off our hands and get to the next step: repealing Hughes.

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
1 month ago

The bump stock ban is unConstitutional as well as every and any other gun control law.

chiefton
chiefton
1 month ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy

And charging any fees or taxes for a Constitutional right is a return of the Democrat Jim Crow laws. Those were already ruled as being unconstitutional. A fee for a CCW permit? Unlawful. A tax for a suppresor? Unlawful.