July 20, 2023, America’s Future filed an Amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in Guedes, et al. v Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives, SCOTUS Dkt. 22-1222. The brief calls on the Court to reverse the judgment of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (USCA-DC) in this case, and strike down a regulation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) known as the “Bump Stock Rule”(Rule). Eight other nonprofits joined the filing in support of the petitioner. The SCOTUS docket in this case is located here.
As background, this case comes before SCOTUS from the USCA-DC court, which upheld ATF’s Rule, including the ATF’s new definition that any gun modified with bump stock is a machine gun, thus banned from use and possession by individuals. Essentially, the issue is that ATF jumped through statutory hoops to conjure up a whole new definition of bump stock to re-interpret the statute in a manner that contravenes ATF’s longstanding definition of bump stock and the ATF’s interpretation of the same statute. That the ATF’s moves had to be so choreographed to get done what they wanted, it is apparent this new interpretation is deceptive and came about as a pretext or means to an end. In reality, this unsavory tactic used by administrative agencies – in this case, the AFT – is an executive branch usurpation of the legislative branch powers.
Even more provocative, the ATF’s Rule criminalizes possession of bump stock-modified guns. By redefining machine gun in this manner, ownership or the use of these altered guns is classified as a felony. It is the Congress that creates law. Here, the ATF’s Rule illustrates an unscrupulous workaround that agencies employ to get the desired results that some bureaucratic group of unelected government employees and contractors demand.
The Rule came about in the aftermath of the 2017 Las Vegas outdoor concert mass shooting, which left at least 58 people dead and hundreds injured. The shooter had altered his semi-automatic rifle using bump stocks, which enhanced the rapidity of ammunition discharge although did not change the fact that each pull of the trigger produces only one shot fired.
Our brief calls upon the SCOTUS to strike down ATF’s Rule as an unreasonable infringement of the Second Amendment and unlawful overreach by the ATF, an Executive branch agency. The petitioner’s brief to SCOTUS highlights the clear need for SCOTUS to hear this case due to a circuit split about the Rule. In fact, the petitioner wrote, “at least 30 opinions authored or joined by 57 different federal judges, totaling over 400 reported pages, have addressed the bump stock rule]”
America’s Future defends the constitutional rights of Americans. Each American is endowed with an inalienable, God-given right to bear arms, embodied in the Bill of Rights Second Amendment. We urge SCOTUS to resolve the circuit split in favor of our Second Amendment rights. Our brief posits that SCOTUS should reverse the USCA-DC and strike the ATF’s bump stock rule as an unconstitutional infringement of our Second Amendment rights.