Appeals court strikes down ban on bump stocks

A federal appeals court on Friday struck down a ban on bump stocks, devices that essentially allow shooters to fire semiautomatic rifles continuously with one pull of the trigger.

A majority of the full US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said that bump stocks were not covered by the law that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used to put the regulation in place.

“A plain reading of the statutory language, paired with close consideration of the mechanics of a semi-automatic firearm, reveals that a bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of ‘machinegun’ set forth in the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act,” Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod wrote in the majority’s opinion.

Three judges on the circuit court dissented from the ruling.

This decision comes after the US Supreme Court declined to consider a challenge to the federal ban in October. The high court has consistently denied cases challenging the bump stock ban in recent years.

The ATF banned bump stocks in 2019. Then-President Donald Trump had ordered a review of the devices after a mass shooting in 2017 in Las Vegas, in which a shooter armed with semiautomatic weapons and bump stock devices opened fire from his hotel suite onto outdoor concertgoers, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds of others.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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