US Military Courts Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns

Slide Fire SSAR-15 SBS Bump Fire Stock
US Military Courts Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)-The United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that bump stocks are not machine guns in the United States v. Ali Alkazahg.

Marine Corp Private Ali Akazahg was convicted of possessing two machine guns, in violation of Articles 83, 107, and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice [UCMJ]. These “machine guns” that Private Akazahg processed were bump stocks. The Private’s defense counsel argued that bump stocks did not meet the federal definition of machine guns. The ruling is found here and embedded below. US Military Courts Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns.

A three-judge panel agreed with the defense, unanimously ruled that bump stocks do not meet the definition of a machine gun.

The judges laid out a case that anti-gun activists put political pressure on Congress after a mass murder in Las Vegas that saw 60 people die. A bill was set forth in Congress called “Closing the Bump Stock Loophole.” The bill would have treated bump stocks as machine guns. The bill failed to pass either chamber of Congress.

The judges point out that after the bill failed in Congress that political pressure was put on then President Trump to act against bump stocks. The President said he was “looking into” banning bump stocks. Ultimately President Trump would order the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives [ATF] to ban bump stocks. The judges on the panel do not believe that the President had the authority to make de facto law.

The judges wrote: “Instead, the President directed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives [ATF] to issue a new interpretation of a rule—that contradicted the ATF’s previous interpretation—governing legislation from the 1930s. This Executive-Branch change in statutory interpretation aimed to outlaw bump stocks prospectively, without a change in existing statutes.”

The judges carefully go over the history of the bump stocks in their decision. They highlighted that the ATF never considered bump stocks to be machine guns until President Trump ordered the Bureau to reclassify bump stocks as machine guns. The panel points to the original letter issued to William Akins in 2002 for his “Akins Accelerator.” The level of detail shows the judges heavily researched the topic before issuing their decision. The original Akins Accelerator used a spring.

In 2006 the ATF reversed course and ruled the Akins Accelerator was a machine gun. Mr. Akins filed for a summary judgment in district court and lost. The judges in the case stated that a “single function of the trigger” means a “single pull of the trigger.” Since the Akins Accelerator used a spring, it was a machine gun. If the Accelerator didn’t have a spring, it would not have been considered a machine gun.

Modern bump stocks use recoil and do not contain a spring, and use recoil. Every shot requires a trigger pull. Since each shot was a single pull of the trigger, the judges ruled that bump stocks could not be considered machine guns.

The judges also point out the classification of bump stocks as machine guns relied on Chevron deference. The panel points out that the courts have not settled if the ATF can use Chevron deference to make bump stocks machine guns. They point to the GOA case in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and highlighted other instances in which the courts say that the government cannot use Chevron deference for a criminal statute.

In the end, the panel of judges ruled that bump stocks do not meet the definition of a machine gun. [but we gun owners already new that]

US Military Courts Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns


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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Geodkyt
Geodkyt
2 months ago

I found it fascinating in this opinion that it referenced that the ATF effectively argued, in federal court, that forced reset triggers like the FRT do *NOT* meet the definition of a machinegun, in a 2003 case involving a forced reset trigger where the guy added a bit to pull the trigger again under spring tension. And their reasoning was that *it was the mechanical addition of a fishing reel to automatically pull the trigger again* that transformed a forced reset trigger (that they pointedly argued *was not* a “machinegun” without that addition) into a machinegun (which is wholly consistent… Read more »

Blue Roux
Blue Roux
2 months ago

So, what does this mean in the overall scheme of things? Can people safely get TRUMP’s ugly mug engraved on their bump stocks now?

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
2 months ago
Reply to  Blue Roux

,
So what does this mean in the overall scheme of things? A very perspicacious and insightful question, my friend. It means that there is a huge split in the way federal courts are going to interpret that rule. A huge split!
It calls into question a president’s power (like Obama’s “I have a pen and a phone.), and an agency’s powers, by extension. That in turn means that it is more likely to get before the S. CT!

USMC0351Grunt
USMC0351Grunt
2 months ago
Reply to  Blue Roux

It means that WE, The People need to get up off our lazy asses and start removing judges that legislate from the bench! They (Judges) are to follow WRITTEN LAW, that’s it! Nothing more, nothing less. Their opinion doesn’t mean squat if it does not pertain to WRITTEN LAW.

TEEBONE
TEEBONE
2 months ago

(cue Elvis) “Thangkya. Thangkyaveramusch.” 

Larry
Larry
2 months ago

Fine reporting, Mr. Crump.

swmft
swmft
2 months ago

military court got it right ,now need scotus to say you can make rules to enforce law as written, to change definitions contained within the law congress must act.

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
2 months ago

More proof that Trump was a chump. For all of you idol worshipers, why do you need any president to bow down too? They are ALL corrupt one world government psychopathic control freaks. I just don’t understand why you can’t see that. I know, he was LESS of a psychopathic control freak then some, but hey, a control freak is a control freak. I have a president that I take orders from. I see him in the mirror all the time.

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
2 months ago
Reply to  CourageousLion

You’re right that Trump was a chump — at least in this case.

He was a chump because he listened to Wayne LaPierre who personally met with Trump to convince him that the NRA, speaking for American gun owners, solidly supported a ban on bump stocks.

Interestingly enough, it was only after the meeting between WLP and Trump that Trump thought up the idea of having ATF reclassify bump stocks as machine guns. Now I ask you, since Trump was such a chump, who do you suppose came up with that idea.

Tionico
Tionico
2 months ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

I have thght from the beginning that Trump made the “sic ATF on ’em”move as a public means of appeasing the gun grabbers and WLP, whilst making the situationi such that it WOULD and MUST be overturned.. simply because, as these wise judges unanimously stated, the Executive power cannot “make law” as BATF did. Thus it would be contested on multiple grounds, and eventually gt tossed. Had it been a mvoe of COngress, it would be twnty years before that could be reversed.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

The “87D Chess” excuse.

JimmyS
JimmyS
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

This is the same reasoning that those classified as having experienced Stockholm Syndrome have been found to use.

Link
Link
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

You got it right.
Bump stocks are not the hill gun owners need to die on. He set the atf up to fail.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

Trump had vast resources available to him (to gain an understanding of the issue) and many other people to talk to besides Wayne.

To this day, he has not recanted any of his anti 2nd Amendment positions.

Trump has never had a principled foundation with respect to the 2nd Amendment. To him, “pro 2nd Amendment” was just a campaign slogan.

JimmyS
JimmyS
2 months ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

According to the NRA, all gun owners (except those radical few) support ALL gun control laws on the books. Their position for at least a century has had nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment and everything to do with “progressive” politics.

Arizona
Arizona
2 months ago
Reply to  JimmyS

The NRA has supported every GC bill, and even cowrote some of the gun control laws now on the books. They are scum.

gregs
gregs
2 months ago
Reply to  CourageousLion

you call trump a chump because he did something you didn’t like? that makes you look a child. most of what he did was beneficial for the America citizen, like keep illegals out, improve the economy, make us energy self-sufficient. most politicians become corrupt after time in that hell hole that is washington dc. whether you like him or not, or buyden or not, they are still the president of America. the one in you mirror doesn’t seem able to control himself.

uncle dudley
uncle dudley
2 months ago

If I remember correctly the order banning bump stocks was signed by acting attorney general Whitaker who had not been confirmed by congress to act as the attorney general of the U.S..
If that was the case, why hasn’t this issue been enough to over rule the ban as he wasn’t certified by congress to act in that capacity.

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
2 months ago
Reply to  uncle dudley

Your drivel has not been enough to overrule the ban because you have no clue about how government works or about the laws regulating such matters.

The Acting Attorney General has the full power of the position until Congress confirms someone else.

hippybiker
hippybiker
2 months ago

And now, “Crazy Joe” has issued a mandate to force private sector companies to force their employees to take the “Poison Jab!”
Our once great Constitutional Republic has died! Long live the(sic) People’s Republic of Amerika,

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
2 months ago
Reply to  hippybiker

Joe can’t force crap. Those private companies best tell him to pound sand then loose their work force. Here is a Stu Peters interview that came out today. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/09/no_author/whistleblower-nurse-destroys-delta-narrative-vaccinated-patients-fill-hospital/

TStheDeplorable
TStheDeplorable
2 months ago

The ATF knew all of this, but in the wake of the Mandalay massacre they felt pressure to ban bump stocks so they tried to shoe-horn them in under the definition of machine gun. I fear that the end of this will be a new statutory definition that is vague enough to encompass bump stocks, binary triggers, and FRTs. And, there will never be a Supreme Court conservative enough or courageous enough to find that the 2nd amendment extends to machine guns.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago

How can you still believe that?

The BATFE was ordered, via a Presidential Memorandum from Trump, to define bump stocks as machine guns.

https://ballotpedia.org/Federal_policy_on_laws_governing_guns_and_firearms,_2017-2020#February_20.2C_2018:_Trump_issues_memorandum_on_bump_stocks

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

I love how some brain dead lemmings down vote the truth. I at least got you back to 0.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  CourageousLion

There is a population of people who voted for Trump in both 2016 and 2020. I’m in that population. Within that popluation, there is a subset of people who are “Trump Humpers.” I am not in that subset. It does no good to constantly defend Trump for his anti 2nd Amendment actions. It does no good to defend Trump for some of the extremely poor choices he made in nominating people for important positions. If he runs again, there is a chance to get him back on track with respect to being pro 2nd Amendment. However, that will not be… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago

The memorandum stated, “Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”

Tionico
Tionico
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”

so the root questioins are these:

DID Trump have authority as exectuve branch to order such a move? Questianable at best, probably not.

DOES the bump stock ACTUALLY “turn legal weapons into machine guns?” Absoltuely not. It STILL requires a separate and distinct pull of the trigger for each round to be fired. NOT machine gun.

Th court got it right.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

Obama looked into banning bump stocks twice and concluded he did not have the authority to do so and that if he tried, the courts would overrule him.

Trump bragged he was better at gun control than Obama.

Blue Roux
Blue Roux
2 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Would *love* to be able to cite the second bit, do you have a source for that? Pls n thx.

45crittergitter
45crittergitter
2 months ago

“The ATF knew all of this, but in the wake of the Mandalay massacre they felt pressure opportunity to ban bump stocks…”

There. Fixed it for ya.

JimmyS
JimmyS
2 months ago

You must be one of those who are mistakenly operating on the assumption that the ATF is a “rogue agency.” They are just more order followers. Stop pretending otherwise.

JimmyS
JimmyS
2 months ago

I said it above to someone else: you are using the same reasoning as people with Stockholm Syndrome.

Ansel Hazen
2 months ago

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

James Madison

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
2 months ago
Reply to  Ansel Hazen

And any “law” on the books that makes a victimless act a punishable offense out side of contractual agreement is TYRANNY.

JimmyS
JimmyS
2 months ago
Reply to  CourageousLion

Well said. Which is why Common Law was slowly transformed into Civil Law and Statutory Law became Criminal Law.

HLB
HLB
2 months ago
Reply to  Ansel Hazen

“The magistrate in whom the whole executive power resides cannot of himself make a law”

from James Madison, writing in Federalist No. 47.

The only resource against usurpation is the inherent right of the people to prevent its exercise.”.

Future Supreme Court Justice James Iredell.

These and many more courtesy of Michael Boldin at the Tenth Amendment Center.

So maybe we have been down this road 200+ years ago. You would think we would have learned.

HLB