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Published on June 16, 2024
Supreme Court Rules with Austin Gun Store Owner, Axes Bump Stock BanSource: Michael McConville, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a major legal showdown touching on the contentious issue of gun control, the U.S. Supreme Court has sided with an Austin gun store owner, Michael Cargill, overturning a ban on bump stocks. This decision effectively annulled the Trump-era rule that had classified the contested firearm accessories as machine guns. As reported by CBS Austin, the Court's 6-3 ruling, as articulated by Justice Clarence Thomas, concluded that the addition of a bump stock does not necessarily convert a semiautomatic firearm into a machine gun.

Bump stocks gained infamy following their use in the 2017 Las Vegas massacre, leading to the implementation of the ban. However, in a statement, Cargill expressed a sentiment of vindication, saying, "It's amazing to have a case that actually makes it all the way up to the highest court of the land with your name on it, and to come out on top and actually win," as per an interview by FOX 7 Austin. In the same breath, Cargill was sure to voice his sympathy for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting but maintained that the ban did not follow federal law.

The Court's ruling has brought to center stage the technical interpretation of what constitutes a machine gun, relying heavily on the mechanics and physics associated with a firearm's operation with a bump stock attached. However, the decision has sparked concern among gun control advocates. Nicole Golden, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, stated to CBS Austin, "If today’s an example of what we can expect, then we should be deeply, deeply concerned... This individual brought a case that has all the way gone up to the Supreme Court in a decision today that is going to cost lives."

This latest chapter in America's ongoing encounter with gun rights and regulatory efforts reflects the judiciary's power to quickly reshape the landscape of firearm legality. It underscores the significance of each lawsuit, no matter how seemingly minute, in potentially shifting national policy. Demonstrating a belief in the power of such legal challenges, Cargil mentioned, "The bump stock case is going to be the case that saves everything. It’s going to stop the ATF from coming after your brace, triggers, all different parts and pieces that they’re trying to ban,” a sentiment reflective of the larger implications surrounding this ruling.