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The U.S. Supreme Court once again will weigh in on Second Amendment-related cases after agreeing to hear challenges to the Biden administration’s ban on so-called “bump stocks” as well as New York state’s “blacklisting” of the National Rifle Association.
Fox News reported on Friday that the bump stock challenge involves a firearms accessory added to certain guns, while the NRA case involves a free speech challenge by the organization.
“The high court will hear arguments in the case National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo, which questions whether a government regulator threatening regulated entities with adverse regulatory actions if they do business with a controversial speaker, allegedly because of the government’s own hostility to the speaker’s viewpoint, violates the First Amendment,” the outlet reported.
“The former Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), Maria T. Vullo, at the behest of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, allegedly wielded DFS’s regulatory power to financially blacklist the NRA – coercing banks and insurers to cut ties with the association, in an effort, the group says, to suppress its speech,” Fox added.
In addition, the NRA suit claimed that Vullo also made “backroom threats” against regulated firms that were coupled with offers of leniency for unrelated violations if the regulated entities agreed to blacklist the gun rights organization.
“This is a historic step forward for the NRA, its millions of members, and all who believe in the freedom of speech,” said NRA CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre. “The NRA’s fight continues – this time in the highest court in the land. At a time when free speech is under attack as never before, we believe the Supreme Court will send a message to government officials that they cannot use intimidation tactics to silence those with whom they disagree.”
The second case, Garland v. Cargill, presents to the high court the question of whether a bump stock device actually transforms certain weapons into a “machine gun” as defined under federal law because it is designed to convert rifles into weapons that fire “automatically more than one shot … by a single function of the trigger.”
The bump stocks were actually banned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during the Trump administration, following a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 60 people dead and 500 more wounded.
Fox News added:
Semi-automatic rifles with bump stocks could fire hundreds of rounds per minute, according to experts.
They were originally created to make it easier for people with disabilities to fire a gun. The device essentially replaces the gun’s stock and pistol grip and causes the weapon to buck back and forth, repeatedly “bumping” the trigger against the shooter’s finger.
Michael Cargill, Owner of Central Texas Gun Works, sued the government after he was forced to surrender several bump stocks under the ATF’s rule.
Cargill argued in his petition that the Supreme Court should take up the case because the question presented “has sharply divided the federal courts of appeals.”
According to the outlet, three federal appeals courts agree with the ATF’s pre-2018 ban that the devices do not turn the rifles into machine guns, while two other appeals courts agree with the agency’s ban.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) is arguing the case on behalf of Cargill, Fox News noted. Mark Chenoweth, NCLA president and general counsel, told the outlet that “this is not a case about gun rights. It is a case about administrative power.”
“Congress never gave ATF the power to rewrite federal criminal statutes pertaining to machine guns—nor could it. Writing federal criminal laws is the sole preserve of Congress, and the Trump and Biden Administrations committed grievous constitutional error by trying to ban bump stocks without involving Congress. We are confident the U.S. Supreme Court will right this wrong for Michael Cargill and all Americans,” he said.
Oral arguments will be held next year, and rulings are expected in June, Fox News noted.