On Friday, December 3rd, 2021, the 6th Circuit sitting en banc ruled in an 8-to-8 split in the bumpstock case, Gun Owners of America, et al. v. Garland, et al., which by procedural rule leaves the lower court’s decision intact. While the previous ruling from the 3-judge panel of the 6th Circuit had been favorable—striking down the ban as unlawful—that ruling was vacated upon the Court’s granting of en banc review. Accordingly, upon the deadlock of the en banc panel, the previous ruling to be left intact was that of the lower District Court. The District Court (Western District of Michigan) had previously ruled that the government’s ban of bumpstocks was lawful.
This is a major loss for the firearms industry and the cause for ATF accountability. Their unilaterally-promulgated regulation retroactively banning bumpstocks—after years of lawful sales and ownership—strikes in the face of the fundamental principles of accountable, transparent, and fair regulatory governance—the very A-T-F principles that ATF should be adhering to in all that they do. It is not yet known if GOA will petition the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari, but FRAC is closely following this case and will provide updates if and as it progresses any further.
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