(The Center Square) – Twenty-two state attorneys general, led by AGs from Montana and West Virginia, have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court over a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rule they argue would immediately transform hundreds of thousands of law-abiding gun owners into criminals.
Through its rulemaking, the ATF is attempting to regulate bump-stock accessories by claiming that they transform the firearms they attach to into machine guns as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934.
The AGs filed an amicus brief in support of Gun Owners of America, Inc., which sued U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, and are asking the court to hear the case after the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was evenly split on the issue.
The ATF’s rule is a way for the federal agency to circumvent Congress and rewrite law that only Congress has the authority to do, the AGs argue.
“The Final Rule effectively transforms commonly owned firearms into banned machine guns simply because of the use of non-mechanical bump-stock accessories. This interpretation categorically expands the text of the criminal statute in a way that Congress couldn’t possibly have intended,” they argue in their brief. “And it expands criminal liability at the expense of Second Amendment rights, diminishing the latter absent a sufficient and compelling justification. When the ATF – or any agency – invades protected rights by interpreting statutes too broadly, this Court should step in.”