A US Military court ruled on Sept 9 that bump stocks do not meet the definition of a machine gun. The case stemmed from the arrest of Ali Alkazahg for “possession of a machine gun” [Articles 83, 107, and 134 of the UCMJ] which, in fact, were two bump stocks. The military court directed the ATF to correct their definition which had been in place since 2018. The unanimous ruling came from the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, which is like a Federal Appeals Court, one step below the Supreme Court.
US Military court ruled that bump stocks do not meet the legal definition of a machine gun
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Let’s take a peek at the case. Private Ali Akazahg was in Hawaii on the Marine Corps base in Kaneohe Bay. While there, he was convicted of possessing two machine guns in violation of the UCMJ or Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although, these “Machine Guns” were, in fact, bump stocks. Akazahg’s defense argued that bump stocks did not meet the legal definition of a machine gun…
“In 1986, Congress passed the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act [FOPA], banning possession of machine guns not owned before 1986. FOPA also banned any parts, to include frames and receivers, which were part of a machine gun or were designed for converting a weapon into a machine gun. The current statute at issue is 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b), which defines what a machine gun is. Due to having a bump stock, Appellant was charged under the statute which states that a machine gun is “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically, more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”
The court explains that the bump stock not only does not meet that definition, but similar situations have already been litigated in Civilian courts as well. They cite Gun Owners of America v. Garland, which took place in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In GOA v. Garland, the Sixth Circuit agreed that bump stocks did not meet the definition of a machine gun.
The military court ruling suggested that the ATF bypassed Congress in their interpretation of the 1930’s era law against private ownership of machine guns.
“This Executive-Branch change in statutory interpretation aimed to outlaw bump stocks prospectively, without a change in existing statutes,” the court ruled, suggesting that the ATF bypassed Congress by creating a law when only Congress has that power under the Constitution.
In March of 2021, a civilian appeals court also ruled that bump stocks didn’t meet the definition of a machine gun, yet the ATF still posts the statement that they fall under the rule. Why do you care? The ATF cannot create laws by amending their definitions to fit their narrative. Several court rulings have stated this, yet they continue to do as they please. The Second Amendment is what differentiates the United States from every other nation in the world. If we are to keep it, rulings such as this are vital – IF the ATF and Biden Administration will comply with them.
- Bump Stock Court Ruling: ATF Can’t Call Them Machine Guns
- Feds publish final rule banning bump stocks
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