Headline RoundupJune 14th, 2024

Supreme Court Overturns Trump-Era Bump Stock Ban

Summary from the AllSides News Team

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court on Friday overruled a federal ban on bump stocks — devices that “allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.”

For Context: The “ban” functioned by clarifying that the definition of “machinegun” in the Gun Control Act (GCA) and National Firearms Act (NFA) included bump stocks. Former President Donald Trump backed the ban after a shooter used rifles equipped with bump stocks to kill 58 people and injure hundreds at a music festival in Las Vegas, NV in 2017. 

Majority Opinion: Writing for court’s conservative majority, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “We hold that a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock is not a ‘machinegun’ because it cannot fire more than one shot ‘by a single function of the trigger.’” In a concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that “Congress can amend the law” if it wished to ban bump stocks. 

Dissenting Opinion: In a dissenting opinion joined by the other two liberal justices, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the majority was using a definition of “machinegun” that “is inconsistent with the ordinary meaning of the statutory text and unsupported by context or purpose,” adding, “When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.”

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was common and initially similar across the spectrum Friday morning.

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