Gun Advocates Rejected Again at Supreme Court on Bump Stock Ban

(Bloomberg) -- Gun-rights advocates lost a third U.S. Supreme Court bid for a reprieve from a new federal ban on bump stocks, the attachments that can make a semiautomatic rifle fire like a machine gun.

The latest bid was narrower than the previous requests, seeking to shield five people and members of three organizations from having to give up their bump stocks while the high court decides whether to consider their appeal. The group is challenging the Trump administration’s ban in federal court in Washington.

The Supreme Court denied the request on Friday. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch voted to grant the delay. Chief Justice John Roberts had already refused to halt the ban entirely, and the full court previously rebuffed a separate set of challengers.

The court said Friday it was referring the advocates’ request for five days to comply with the rule to a federal appeals court in Washington.

The lawsuits contend that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives improperly expanded the government’s longstanding definition of machine guns under the National Firearms Act to include bump stocks. Machine guns have been heavily regulated in the U.S. since 1934 and virtually banned since 1986.

Bump stocks were an obscure gun accessory until they were linked to the October 2017 Las Vegas concert massacre. Law enforcement authorities said the gunman owned multiple bump stocks. Fifty-eight people were killed in the attack, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

After the attack, President Donald Trump told the Justice Department to draft regulations banning possession of the accessories. The ban, which imposes criminal penalties, went into effect March 26. It requires people to relinquish or destroy the devices.

Gun-rights advocates say U.S. residents possess 500,000 bump stocks, valued at more than $100 million.

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