Bump stock ban struck down by Supreme Court

A Trump-era ban on bump stocks, a gun accessory that helps semi-automatic weapons fire like machine guns, has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court

In a 6-3 decision, the high court ruled that the Trump administration failed to follow federal law when it enacted the restrictions. The ban was challenged by the owner of a Texas gun store

In the 35 states without a ban on bump stocks, the accessories will now be legal. 

The Trump administration banned bump stocks in December 2018, more than a year after a gunman attacked a country music festival in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. He fired more than 1,000 rounds in the crowd in 11 minutes, killing 60 people and injuring hundreds more. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms changed its mind on bump stocks after doing a more in-depth examination spurred by the Las Vegas massacre.

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The Biden administration supported the ban, calling it the right choice for an accessory that allows weapons to fire hundreds of rounds a minute. 

There were about 520,000 bump stocks in circulation when the ban went into effect in 2019, requiring people to either surrender or destroy them, at a combined estimated loss of $100 million, the plaintiffs said in court documents.

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The court’s conservative supermajority has ruled in favor of gun rights before, including a landmark decision in 2022 that expanded gun rights nationwide. The bump stocks case, however, was about whether the ATF had overstepped its authority by enacting the ban .


Exterior view of the U.S. Supreme Court building on June 11, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Court Accountability)

Conservative justices questioned in the ruling why Congress had not passed any laws banning bump stocks, while the liberal justices said it’s "common sense" to restrict accessories that can produce a "torrent of bullets."

What are bump stocks? 


Senior Sales Staff Mark Warner shows a bump stock installed on an AR-15 rifle at Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Virgina, on October 6, 2017. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Bump stocks are gun accessories that replace a rifle’s stock, the part that rests against the shoulder. They harness the gun’s recoil energy so that the trigger bumps against the shooter’s stationary finger, allowing the gun to fire at a rate comparable to a traditional machine gun. 

Fifteen states and Washington, D.C., have their own bans on bump stocks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.