Gun Violence Prevention Groups File Amicus Brief in Garland V. Cargill.

Washington DC — Today, four of the nation’s leading gun violence prevention organizations—GIFFORDS Law Center, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, and March For Our Lives—filed an amicus brief before the US Supreme Court urging the Court to uphold the federal bump stock ban in Garland v. Cargill. O’Melveny & Myers LLP served as counsel to the coalition of gun violence prevention organizations.

The brief calls on the Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s dangerous and misguided decision invalidating a rule issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that prohibited the production, sale, and possession of bump stocks—devices whose sole purpose is to enable semiautomatic firearms to fire like machine guns.

In 2019, following the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival where a gunman using fourteen rifles equipped with bump stocks opened fire—firing more than 1,000 bullets, injuring nearly 500 people, and killing 60 people—ATF issued a rule categorizing bump stocks as machine guns under the federal Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act. The devices harness the recoil of a semiautomatic firearm to enable continuous fire with a single pull of the trigger. Civilian ownership of newly manufactured machine guns has been illegal since 1986.

Last year, the US Supreme Court refused to hear a failed challenge to the bump stock rule, allowing a decision upholding the rule to stay in place.

The amicus brief can be found here.

Douglas Letter, Chief Legal Officer, Brady:

“Bump stocks pose a unique, pernicious threat to our society. The threat these deadly devices pose can turn any American gathering, whether it be a concert, a parade, or a community festival, into a warzone. With a bump stock, a civilian can have access to what is essentially a machine gun, exponentially increasing the lethality of already dangerous firearms. The gun industry created bump stocks to intentionally circumvent the restrictions on fully automatic weapons that have been in place for nearly 90 years. We hope the Justices will review the Fifth Circuit’s decision with the safety of the American people and their right to life, free from the threat of gun violence, at the forefront of their minds.”

Esther Sanchez-Gomes, Litigation Director, GIFFORDS Law Center:

“We tragically saw the violence bump stocks can enable at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. ATF was right to categorize bump stocks as machine guns under federal law, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’s misguided decision to overturn the ATF bump stock rule is dangerous. The Supreme Court must correct the decision and reaffirm ATF’s rulemaking authority, especially where failing to regulate poses a grave danger to public safety across the country.”

Eric Tirschwell, Executive Director of Everytown Law:

“Machine guns have been strictly regulated by the federal government for decades, and for good reason. When a gunman armed with several rifles equipped with bump stocks opened fire at the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival, we saw how this deadly accessory can turn a music festival into a warzone. For far too long, the gun industry was able to skirt federal law by producing and selling bump stocks, despite the deadly impact on our communities, and ATF was absolutely right to categorize bump stocks for what they are: machine guns. The Supreme Court must correct the Fifth Circuit’s reckless and potentially deadly decision by confirming that ATF has the authority to regulate these dangerous devices and keep them off of our streets."

Ciara Malone, Legal Director, March For Our Lives:

“The Fifth Circuit has once again proven to be the most radical and far-right court in the country by overturning a Trump-era ban on bump stocks. If the Supreme Court upholds their decision, then more of our public spaces and events will turn into war zones and mass graves. Bump stocks enable shooters to mimic the rapid-firing capability of automatic weapons, essentially turning semi-automatic weapons into machine guns—which have been illegal since 1986. The ATF banned bump stocks following the deadliest mass shooting in American history, where the shooter used bump stocks to kill over 60 people and injure more than 400, at a musical festival in Las Vegas in 2017. March For Our Lives is urging the Supreme Court to reduce the potential for mass death and protect our lives by overturning the Fifth Circuit’s dangerous decision.”

Ian Simmons, Partner and Co-Chair Global Antitrust and Competition Group, O'Melveny & Myers LLP:

“It was a privilege to represent Giffords, Brady, Everytown for Gun Safety, and March For Our Lives in this important matter. Congress has spoken clearly in banning machine guns and forbidding efforts to evade that ban with technical contrivances. We appreciate the opportunity to show that bump stocks convert single fire weapons into machine guns and are therefore illegal.”

Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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