WASHINGTON – Chief Justice John Roberts refused to halt a new federal ban on ownership of bump stocks, the attachments that can make a semiautomatic rifle fire more rapidly, like a machine gun.
The ban went into effect Tuesday. Two separate groups of challengers filed papers at the high court Monday, seeking emergency intervention to stop the prohibition while the legal fight goes forward.
In the other challenge, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked the other side to file a response to the challenge by 4 p.m. Washington time.
The lawsuits contend that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives improperly expanded the government's longstanding definition of machine guns to include bump stocks. Machine guns have been heavily regulated in the U.S. since 1934 and virtually banned since 1986.
Bump stocks, previously an obscure gun accessory, became infamous after they were linked to the Las Vegas concert massacre on Oct. 1, 2017. The gunman owned multiple such devices, law enforcement authorities said. Fifty-eight people were killed in the attack, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Gun-rights advocates say U.S. residents possess 500,000 bump stocks, valued at more than $100 million.