Miss. Senator, Colleagues File Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Lift Bump Stock Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) on Thursday joined U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and others in filing an amici curiae brief that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the Biden administration’s assault on the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

The brief, filed in the case Garland v. Cargill, asserts that a Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) ban on bump stocks under the National Firearms Act not only violates the constitutional right to bear arms but also represents a dangerous new frontier of federal bureaucrats interpreting federal law in expansive ways, including by weaponizing the Chevron doctrine, to create federal crimes out of thin air.

“Biden’s Justice Department and ATF have demonstrated again and again that the law, congressional intent, and the Constitution don’t matter when it comes to their goal to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.  In this brief, we make the case that these actions are clearly unconstitutional and that the anti-gun administrative state needs to have its wings clipped,” Hyde-Smith said.

“The ATF’s job is to interpret existing laws passed by Congress, not grant itself sweeping authority to confiscate firearms from law-abiding Wyoming gun-owners as is the case with the bump stock ban,” said Lummis.  “Garland v. Cargill represents a true fork-in-the-road moment for gun rights in America.  The people of Wyoming have a long history of responsible gun ownership to protect their family and property, and I will not allow gun grabbers in Washington to change that.” 

The case involves Michael Cargill, who bought two bump stocks in April 2018 but surrendered them in March 2019 after a new ATF rule banned the devices and made possession a felony.  Cargill immediately filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Texas challenging the ban on numerous grounds.  The district court sided with the federal government and upheld the ban.

A Fifth Circuit three-judge appeals court panel agreed with the district court conclusion that bump stocks qualify as machineguns under federal law, and were subject to a 1986 ban under the National Firearms Act.  However, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the lower court’s decision.  Following the Fifth Circuit ruling, the Biden administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

In addition to Hyde-Smith, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) also joined Lummis in filing the brief.  The senators were also joined by University of Wyoming Law Professor George A. Mocsary, Independence Institute Counsel David B. Kopel, and the leading professors of Second Amendment and firearms law in the United States.

Read the Senators' brief here.