Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal Against Maryland Bump Stock Ban

The Supreme Court decided this morning not to take up a challenge to Maryland’s ban on bump stocks and other devices that help guns fire faster.

The ruling in the case, Maryland Shall Issue Inc. v. Hogan, court file 20-855, came in an unsigned order May 3. In line with its custom, the court did not explain why it denied the petition for certiorari, or review.

The decision came after the court decided April 26 to take up the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett, court file 20-843, billed as the court’s first major gun rights case in a decade. In that case lower courts upheld a state law requiring individuals to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon outside the home.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, signed the law known as SB 707 into law on April 24, 2018.

SB707 provides that a person may not “manufacture, possess, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, or receive a rapid fire trigger activator” in Maryland, according to the group’s petition. Breaking this law is a criminal misdemeanor subject to a term of imprisonment up to three years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Maryland Shall Issue, a nonprofit headquartered in Baltimore, did not challenge the power of the state to ban “rapid fire trigger activators,” but demanded “just compensation” for the forced dispossession of previously legal private property which Marylanders had lawfully purchased and possessed prior to the enactment of SB 707.

The statute bans a “bump stock, trigger crank, hellfire trigger, binary trigger system, burst trigger system, or a copy or a similar device, regardless of the producer or manufacturer,” as well as any “rapid fire trigger activator,” which is defined to mean “any device” that, when installed in or attached to a firearm, “increases” the “rate at which a trigger is activated” “or” “the rate of fire increases.”

The ban came after a high-prolife mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017 in which gunman Stephen Paddock attached bump stocks to semiautomatic rifles he used to shoot Route 91 Harvest music festival attendees from his hotel room on the Las Vegas Strip. Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds were injured.

“The use of bump stocks enabled the gunman to fire more than a thousand rounds of ammunition in just ten minutes, a rate of fire comparable to that of machine guns banned by federal law,” Maryland stated in a brief filed with the Supreme Court.

“In response to the Las Vegas shooting, Maryland, like many other States, exercised its police powers to outlaw bump stocks and other devices that mimic the firepower of a machine gun.”

The Trump administration banned the sale and possession of bump stocks in 2019 and the Supreme Court refused to block the government at that time from enforcing the prohibition.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.

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Matthew Vadum
Author: Matthew Vadum

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