Gun Owners of America Face Off Against DOJ Over Bump Stocks

Slide Fire SSAR-15 SBS Bump Fire Stock
Gun Owners of America Face Off Against DOJ Over Bump Stocks

U.S.A.-( Lead Attorney for Gun Owners of America, Robert Olson, argued in GOA v. Garland that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) overstepped its authority when it ruled that bump stocks are machine guns.

Mr. Olson appeared before the full bench to argue that the ATF could not use Chevron deference to change the definition of what constitutes a machine gun. Chevron deference comes from Chevron, U.S.A. v. Natural Res. Def. Council (1984), and is the policy that allows a government agency to interpret an ambiguous rule.

GOA won an earlier decision in front of the Sixth Circuit Court three-judge panel that bump stocks are not machine guns. Two of the three judges ruled that bump stocks are not machine guns and overturned the decision at the district court level. The government requested an en banc hearing before the full bench of the Sixth Circuit, and the court granted the hearing.

An en banc hearing means the full Sixth Circuit bench would hear the case and rule on its merits. Essentially the federal government would get a “do-over.”

Chevron deference has only been used in administrative rule interpretation. GOA argues that the ATF used Chevron deference for ruling that bump stocks are machine guns. That would mean the agency used Chevron deference in a criminal statute. No one has ever been arrested due to an agency applying Chevron deference to criminal law. In an expansion of the ATF’s rulemaking powers, now they believe Chevron deference can be applied in criminal statutes.

The lawyer for the Justice Department, Brad Hinshelwood, first stated that the ATF never used Chevron deference to change the agency’s interpretation of a machine gun. Hinshelwood said that the government misread the definition of a machine gun. Subsequently, the government decided that bump stocks are machine guns. After decades of reading the definition of a machine gun one way, the ATF decided on December 26th, 2018 to expand that definition to fit bump stocks. The government lawyer said if the courts wanted to apply Chevron deference, then it could.

One of the judges asked if the government lawyer agreed that a bump stock only fires one round with a single function of the trigger. The lawyer for the government said it was a “movement of whatever you call a trigger.” The lawyer refused to acknowledge specifically what is the trigger on a firearm. The lawyer for the government suggested that a trigger could be whatever the ATF says it is on a gun.

The government lawyer argued that a bump stock could be easily restored to a machine gun. One judge asked the government lawyer if that interpretation could mean the ATF could ban all AR-15s. The counsel for the government refused to answer the question. He said he would get back to the bench.

Another judge points out that a rubber band can do the same thing as a bump stock. The government lawyer seemed flustered from the serious grilling by the judges. The lawyer did not seem to understand firearms, and the judges appeared to know more about guns than Mr. Hinshelwood.

The DOJ’s legal team did take a beating and, at times, seemed unprepared. Gun owners must have a good feeling after the hearing today, but court decisions are one of the hardest things in life to predict.

No matter the decision, both sides are expected to appeal to the United States Supreme Court. Should GOA win this case before the Sixth Court, it almost forces SCOTUS to take the case as there would be a split in the Circuit Courts.

If you want to read more about this case, click here.

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

John Crump

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The real problem is that there is a law against machine guns, which are commonly used by ordinary infantry soldiers and are therefore anticipated by the 2nd Amendment. The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to ensure that the people are armed sufficiently to repel an invasion or expel a tyrannical government, and that means at least a basic infantryman’s weapons. We need to stop arguing that the 2nd Amendment is about self-protection and hunting.

Wild Bill

I think a good argument would be “Americans need machine-guns because our armed forces can not protect us from Chinese invasion.”

Henry Bowman

Yeah, but a Chinese invasion is far less likely than our own government killing us. Or has everyone forgotten that our government used heavy machine guns to massacre an entire religious community??


And tanks and helicopter gunships.


And shot a 14 year old in the back, and his mother in the head in Ruby Ridge Idaho all because dad had the AUDACITY to commit the HEINOUS crime of cutting off a shotgun barrel “too short”.


SCOTUS acknowledged in the Heller case that machine guns are protected, as they stated that firearms useful to the military and militia are specifically covered and protected by the 2nd. They ruled that short barreled shotguns were not protected because the government’s lawyer lied to the court, claiming SBS are not useful to the military (despite their profligate use in the trenches).


Or the 60,000 coming from the south that are declaring war.


Or a Haitian invasion.

Henry Bowman

Self protection includes defending yourself from a rogue government. In Caetano v Massachusetts (2016), SCOTUS unanimously ruled that ALL bearable arms are covered under the 2nd Amendment. By that ruling and the fact that it was unanimous, the NFA, GCA, FOPA, Lautenberg Amendment, etc., all gun laws ought to be null and void (Marbury v Madison, 1803). The only people arguing that 2A is about hunting are the fudds at the NRA…

Last edited 1 year ago by Henry Bowman

Outstanding meme & true. Controlled Sheeple opposition 100%.


They just don’t understand that the meaning of HUNTING includes HUNTING TYRANTS.


If the DOJ lawyer don’t know what a trigger is in a firearm then how can they define a trigger that has an function that resets a trigger in the case where the ATF made the ruling on the company that has the quick reset trigger


because they are government,and you must bow down and kiss the ring


Rare Breed Triggers was what I was referring to.


Cue all the Butters and Fudds making excuses for and/or supporting this infringement.

Henry Bowman

Instead of whack-a-mole, how about a game of whack-a-fudd?


Yea, but…

Glypto Dropem

I made my own “Lucille” out of a pick axe handle instead of a baseball bat. The wood is so hard I had to pre-drill the holes for the poultry staples to secure the barbed wire. I keep it in the corner of my garage behind my motorcycle by the roll up door. Just as terrifying looking if I ever have to pull it out of the corner. I always carry a gun, so it will just be for visually effective warning.

Henry Bowman

And now you gotta move it, now that the whole world knows where you put it…

Wild Bill

Yep, loose lips, sink ships and all that.


Winning this also means the ATF cannot redefine receiver, or rifle, and make AR pistols NFA items. All their unconstitutional redefining words and changing determinations and opinions would be toast. It is time the courts did the right thing. All gun laws are infringements repugnant to the Constitution, and thus have no legitimate authority.


“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘trigger’ is.”
He’s baa-a-aack!

Roland T. Gunner

Dear sweet 19 lb, 15 oz baby Jesus with an AR-15, do we possibly have an honest court?


ATF makes classifications so simple. I mean the following are OBVIOUSLY what they claim they are!


Yawn, since it’s all rigged & apparently not enough Americans have figured that out yet & are willing to live continually cycling same cycles of Weather Manipulation, Hurricane Seasons, Polar Vortex. Arson Fire Seasons, DEW Weapons, NDAA, Cell Phones Hacked, Humans Hacked, SCOTUS Hacked, Judicial System Hacked, Journalism Hacked, Bank Accounts Hacked, News Hacked, Movie predictive programming, TV even tells us when to laugh @ they’re shitty jokes or scripted lines, Education System Hacked etc. To date not one pro 2nd A entity has called out any of the False Flags, not one (NRA or GOA) etc. Dick snot Bill… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Tank

Humans hacked…yep we are on the verge of Human 2.0 if people don’t wake the FK up!


True story 100%

Country Boy

Would anyone care to step up and demonstrate to the ATF’s lawyer/s what a trigger is…and how it works?


PERFECT representative for that job! (??? What happened to my photo of Diane Feinstein holding the AK-47 in congress?)

Last edited 1 year ago by USMC0351Grunt

Excellent job John. Stay with it!