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Author Topic: Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns  (Read 565 times)

MechAg94

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Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns
« on: March 25, 2021, 10:37:43 PM »

https://www.ammoland.com/2021/03/sixth-circuit-court-rules-bump-stocks-are-not-machine-guns/
Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns

A little bit of good news even if this is just a small battle in the war.
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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.”

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The panel of judges from the Sixth Circuit Court sent the case back to the District Court to decide how widespread any injunction against the ban should be, but since different circuits have different rulings on the subjects any injunction will only be for Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

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The Sixth Circuit Court ruled, “Chevron deference does not apply to agency interpretation of criminal statute thus the court does not need to decide whether agency can waive Chevron deference, therefore, the court must determine BEST MEANING of the statute”
Now that is another part of the decision I like. 
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cordex

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Re: Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2021, 01:43:35 PM »

That's an interesting ruling and may set up a Supreme Court challenge.

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Moreover, mastery of one field does not mean mastery of all. The ATF is not an expert on community morality, so the rationale of deferring to “agency expertise” on this question fails. And there is great risk if the responsibility of making moral condemnations is assigned to bureaucrats in the nation’s capital who are physically, and often culturally, distant from the rest of the country. Federal criminal laws are not administrative edicts handed down upon the masses as if the administrators were God delivering the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai

MechAg94

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Re: Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2021, 01:47:45 PM »

I heard that this supposedly means the lower court is supposed to issue an injunction on the ATF over the bump stock order.  I heard some speculation that might only apply to the 6th Circuit states but could also apply to all members of the GOA depending on how it is worded.  It does set the stage for interesting times the next few years. 
“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”  ― Calvin Coolidge

cordex

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Re: Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2021, 02:01:42 PM »

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For the following reasons, we find that a bump stock does not fall within the statutory definition of a machine gun.

A. “Single Function of the Trigger”
The parties dispute the meaning of the phrase “single function of the trigger,” as used in § 5845(b). Plaintiffs-Appellants argue that the phrase “refers to the mechanical process through which the trigger goes (what the firearm is doing)” as opposed to “what the shooter is doing.” The ATF argues (at least at the moment) that it means “a single pull of the trigger and analogous motions.” Final Rule, 83 F.R. at 66,553. The ATF claims that “function” does not refer to “the precise mechanical operation of a specific type of trigger,” but rather “the action that enables the weapon to shoot,” i.e., “the shooter’s initial pull of the trigger.”
Zing!

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First, the phrase plainly refers only to the “single function of the trigger,” § 5845(b) (emphasis added), not “the trigger finger.” And if “function” is understood to mean “action,” then the most natural reading of § 5845(b) would not be to read “single action of the trigger” to mean “single action of the trigger finger.” Rather the best, most natural reading would be that § 5845(b) refers to the trigger itself.

Second, this interpretation is further supported by the fact that the rest of § 5845(b)’s statutory definition of a machine gun describes the firearm, not the shooter, the shooter’s body parts, or the shooter’s actions. Indeed, the entire definition focuses exclusively on the firearm’s design and capability. At no point does the definition mention the shooter or the shooter’s actions. Nothing in the statute suggests that the phrase “single function of the trigger” refers to the shooter’s pulling the trigger rather than the trigger itself.

Third, the Final Rule’s interpretation that “single function of the trigger” means “single pull of the trigger and analogous motions,” Final Rule, 83 Fed. Reg. at 66,554, necessarily refers to the trigger and not to the shooter or the shooter’s act of pulling. The ATF’s Rule does not interpret the phrase to mean “single pull by the trigger finger” or “the shooter’s single pull of the trigger.” Instead, as with the statute, the Final Rule’s language refers only to the “trigger” itself without any mention of the shooter or the shooter’s actions.

Finding that “function” refers to the mechanical process, we conclude that a bump stock cannot be classified as a machine gun under § 5845(b). We recognize that a bump stock increases a semiautomatic firearm’s rate of firing, possibly to a rate nearly equal to that of an automatic weapon. With a bump stock attached to a semiautomatic firearm, however, the trigger still must be released, reset, and pulled again before another shot may be fired. A bump stock may change how the pull of the trigger is accomplished, but it does not change the fact that the semiautomatic firearm shoots only one shot for each pull of the trigger. Guedes, 920 F.3d at 48 (Henderson, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). This remains true regardless of whether the shooter’s finger is stationary (when operating a bump-stock-attached semiautomatic firearm) or is moving (when operating a semiautomatic firearm without a bump stock). And it likewise remains true regardless of whether the physical force depressing the trigger comes from the shooter’s trigger finger’s pushing the trigger or the recoil energy of the firearm’s pushing the trigger against the shooter’s trigger finger. 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.

Indeed, to the extent that the Supreme Court has spoken on the meaning of § 5845(b), its interpretation is supportive of the interpretation we adopt today. See Staples v. United States, 511 U.S. 600, 602 n.1 (1994) (“As used here, the terms ‘automatic’ and ‘fully automatic’ refer to a weapon that fires repeatedly with a single pull of the trigger. That is, once its trigger is depressed, the weapon will automatically continue to fire until its trigger is released or the ammunition is exhausted. Such weapons are ‘machineguns’ within the meaning of the Act.”). The Supreme Court’s language may not necessarily foreclose the ATF’s interpretation. See Guedes, 920 F.3d at 30 (finding that Staples does not “compel a particular interpretation of ‘single function of the trigger’”). But the Court’s focus on whether the “trigger is depressed” and how many times the firearm is capable of firing until the “trigger is released” strongly suggests that the Court understood § 5845(b) as referring to the mechanical process of the depress-release-reset cycle of the trigger. See Staples, 511 U.S. at 602 n.1.

Hawkmoon

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Re: Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2021, 05:46:22 PM »

I heard that this supposedly means the lower court is supposed to issue an injunction on the ATF over the bump stock order.  I heard some speculation that might only apply to the 6th Circuit states but could also apply to all members of the GOA depending on how it is worded.  It does set the stage for interesting times the next few years.

I don't think any court in the 6th Circuit has any jurisdiction or authority to issue an injunction that's binding beyond the 6th Circuit states.

The question posed over on The Firing Line is whether the .gov will seek an en banc rehearing, or go straight to the Supreme Court. The odds seem to favor an en banc rehearing.

MechAg94

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Re: Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2021, 09:02:30 AM »

I don't think any court in the 6th Circuit has any jurisdiction or authority to issue an injunction that's binding beyond the 6th Circuit states.

The question posed over on The Firing Line is whether the .gov will seek an en banc rehearing, or go straight to the Supreme Court. The odds seem to favor an en banc rehearing.
I heard speculation that the since GOA was suing, the court could apply the injunction to all GOA members, but that was just not considered likely, just a "funny if it happened" thing. 
“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”  ― Calvin Coolidge

Hawkmoon

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Re: Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2021, 11:26:20 AM »

I heard speculation that the since GOA was suing, the court could apply the injunction to all GOA members, but that was just not considered likely, just a "funny if it happened" thing.

I'm not a lawyer, but jurisdiction is jurisdiction. GOA may be the name on the suit, but the 6th Circuit only has jurisdiction over those GOA members who live in the 6th Circuit states. If there were no GOA members in the  6th Circuit states, I think GOA would not even have standing to sue. In that case, all they could do would be to submit an amicus brief in support of someone else's suit.

Angel Eyes

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Re: Sixth Circuit Court Rules Bump Stocks Are Not Machine Guns
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2021, 10:54:48 AM »

Thread necro: military court  basically agrees with the 6th Circuit:

https://www.ammoland.com/2021/09/us-military-courts-rules-bump-stocks-are-not-machine-guns/

https://www.ammoland.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/US-Military-Courts-Rules-Bump-Stocks-Are-Not-Machine-Guns.pdf

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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.”

AFAIK, this has no direct bearing on civilian cases, but future challenges to the ban could use the same arguments the defense did.
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