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Supreme Court strikes down bump stock ban

(NewsNation) — The Supreme Court on Friday overturned a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, ruling that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms exceeded its authority by classifying the gun attachments as a machine gun.

The case was decided 6-3, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing the majority opinion and Justice Samuel Alito concurring. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson dissented.

What are bump stocks?

Bump stocks are attachments for semiautomatic rifles to allow them to fire faster. It harnesses energy from the gun’s kickback to allow it to slide back and forth rapidly.

The stock “bumps” between the shooter’s shoulder and the trigger — hence the name — which allows the shooter to fire multiple, rapid shots while holding the trigger down, rather than pulling it multiple times.

A bump stock allows a semiautomatic rifle to fire at close to the same rate as a fully automatic machine gun, which civilians are not allowed to own.

In the majority opinion, Thomas wrote that a bump stock on a semiautomatic rifle does not mean the weapon meets the definition of a machine gun.

“It cannot fire more than one shot ‘by a single function of the trigger’ and even if it could, it would not do so ‘automatically.’ ATF therefore exceeded its statutory authority by issuing a rule that classifies bump stocks as machineguns,” Thomas wrote.

In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the decision ignores the ordinary meaning of the term machine gun and does not meet the definition intended by Congress.

The decision reverses a ban put in place by former President Donald Trump’s administration, one of the few gun control restrictions enacted in the last few years.

Read the full decision:

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