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Updated Jun 14, 2024, 5:06pm EDT
politicsNorth America
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US Supreme Court overturns Trump’s ban on bump stocks, devices that make mass shootings deadlier

A bump fire stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah.
George Frey/REUTERS
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The US Supreme Court Friday struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, devices that allow semiautomatic rifles to fire hundreds of bullets per minute, essentially turning them into machine guns.

The Trump administration had issued the ban after a gunman in Las Vegas used a bump stock in 2017 to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history; 58 were killed and hundreds more injured.

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In the 6-3 decision along ideological lines, the majority disagreed with the Biden administration’s stance that bump stocks fit the legal definition of machine guns, which have been banned since 1986.

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Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Court opinion reflects ‘political dysfunction’ in gun legislation

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Sources:  
The Trace, CNN, The Washington Post

While the ruling could curtail some of the powers of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to regulate guns, the Supreme Court could have dealt a far bigger blow to agency, law professor Eric Ruben told The Trace, a nonprofit that reports on gun violence. The decision still leaves in place bump stock bans in 17 states and the District of Columbia, meaning Congress could act quickly to implement nationwide bans. Conservative efforts to overturn firearm restrictions have “resulted in a messy, unsettled landscape for gun regulations,” The Washington Post reported, and this ruling, Ruben said, reflects the “political dysfunction when it comes to gun law.”

Decisions underscores conservative effort to rein in federal agencies

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Sources:  
The Independent, Politico

This decision “highlights the Supreme Court’s skepticism of administrative agencies,” law professor Adam Winkler said, a theme across cases before the court in recent years. However, the court’s pending decision in a case challenging a legal doctrine that has long empowered federal regulators and angered conservatives has the “potential of being one of the most destabilizing decisions that this court has issued,” argued James Goodwin, an analyst at leftwing think tank Center for Progressive Reform. If the court strikes down the precedent known as the Chevron deference, it could severely stunt the power of federal agencies, Politico wrote.

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