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US Supreme Court overturns ban on burst shooting accessory

Photo: George Frey Archives Getty Images via Agence France-Presse “Bump stocks”, devices that increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles, an example of which we see here next to an AK-47, are no longer prohibited.

France Media Agency in Washington

Published yesterday at 11:09 a.m. Updated at 12:37 a.m.

  • United States

The US Supreme Court dealt a blow to efforts for increased gun control by overturning a ban on “bump stocks”, a device that increases the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles, which de facto converts them into machine guns.

Calls immediately grew for Congressional intervention to change the law.

< p>The backdrop to this affair is the Las Vegas massacre (west), the worst in modern American history, in which 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured on October 1, 2017. Most of the 22 rifles of the The author of the carnage was equipped with these removable stocks and he was thus able to fire up to nine bullets per second.

The six conservative judges of the Court, against the opinions of the three progressives, concluded that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a federal agency, had exceeded its authority by reclassifying “bump stocks” in 2018 as submachine guns, banned by a 1934 law.

“We hold that a semi-automatic rifle equipped with a bump stock is not a 'machine gun' because it cannot fire more than one shot with 'a single pull of the trigger,'” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, referring to the letter of the law, which was passed during the Prohibition era, long before the device was invented.

“Deadly Consequences”

The Las Vegas massacre “demonstrated that a semi-automatic rifle equipped with a bump stock can have the same lethal effect as a machine gun and thus strengthened the case for revising the law,” conservative Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged.

“But an event that underscores the “The need to amend the law does not, by itself, change the meaning of the law,” he adds, suggesting that Congress intervene to correct the inconsistency.

Expressing her disagreement, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by the two other progressives, criticizes the majority for “rejecting the commonly accepted definition” of machine guns. The move “will have deadly consequences” by “hindering government efforts to prevent shooters like the one in Las Vegas from gaining access,” she warns.

The Giffords association, which campaigns for strengthening control of individual weapons, deplored a “reckless and dangerous” decision, nevertheless recalling that “bump stocks” remained prohibited in at least 16 states”.

“Congress must act to repair the damage and clearly establish that all automatic weapon conversion devices are illegal under federal law,” she says.

“Saving lives”

Democratic President Joe Biden also urged “Congress to ban “bump stocks”, adopt a ban on assault weapons and act to save lives”, assuring that he would “immediately” sign any text to this effect.

The campaign of his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, whose administration was behind the ban on “bump stocks”, welcomed the decision, ensuring that in the face of crime, “the right to bear arms has never been so vital.”

The influential gun lobby, the NRA, including Donald Trump received support against Joe Biden, was also grateful to the Court for having “rightly confined the agencies of the executive branch to their role of enforcing the law, and not of drafting it”.

The ATF had begun to review its position on these detachable stocks following the Las Vegas tragedy.

Then in February 2018, a few days after a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people died, the Trump administration committed to banning them. Coincidentally, the American authorities began demolishing a building at this high school on Friday.

In December 2018, the ATF announced that it would now consider “bump stocks” as machine guns , ordering the holders to destroy them or hand them over to the authorities within 90 days.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116