United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upholds bump stock regulations on Chevron Deference grounds


First of all, I will start by quoting the applicable statute:

26 USC §5845. Definitions

(b) Machinegun The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

Link to the rule as issued by the DoJ, banning bump stocks.

Link to the Opinion of the Court and Dissent from the Tenth Circuit.

This opinion arises from an interlocutory appeal from the ruling of the District Court denying a preliminary injunction of the bump stock rule. The Tenth Circuit upheld the denial of relief, stating that the Plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on the merits.

I concur with the Opinion of the Court (but not the full reasoning) and disagree with the Dissent (though the dissenter makes a valid observation). Like it or not, Congress has very broadly defined what constitutes a machinegun, including defining the parts thereof. There is absolutely zero doubt that bump stocks fit within the definition provided in the statute.

The Tenth Circuit refers to Chevron Deference in upholding the rule, but frankly Chevron Deference is not required here, the rule is clearly within the bounds of the statute.

The statute is unambiguous, though the majority reasons otherwise. Because the statute is unambiguous, it is clear that bump stocks fall within that portion of the statute which I bolded. Therefore, it was completely unnecessary to raise Chevron Deference at all.

Rather than the approach the majority took, I would have ruled that the Bump Stock Rule was facially valid under the statute.

The Second Amendment has NOT been raised as an issue in this case and any Second Amendment challenge to the Bump Stock Rule would clearly fail. It is beyond question that machineguns are beyond the scope of the Second Amendment and thus Bump Stocks are also beyond the scope of the Second Amendment.

This will NOT go to the Supreme Court, as the underlying case at the District Court has not yet reached final judgement. Pretty much 100% certainty that the District Court upholds the Bump Stock Rule at final judgement. As for the 10th Circuit, depends on the composition of the three judge panel that considers the case after final judgement.

Summary of my view on this:

  1. The Second Amendment is NOT violated by the Bump Stock Rule.

  2. The Bump Stock Rule is facially valid under the statute.

The 10th Circuit ruled correctly, even though their path to the Opinion was flawed.

(Note: I am speaking ONLY to the legalities of the Bump Stock Rule. I am not speaking as to whether this is a beneficial or necessary rule. I personally have no objection to it, though I am also not a proponent of it.)



The Supreme Court and every Court of Appeals, from the time that machine guns were invented, have ruled that they are dangerous and unusual weapons and beyond the scope of the Second Amendment.

That ain’t going to change, even if you put 9 strict constructionist conservatives on the Supreme Court.

Well, I don’t think that’s true. Since they used machine guns, I can get a bump stock with a Class III license and paying the fee?

They are wrong about the mechanics. A bump stock does not change the trigger mechanics.

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When using a bump stock, when you pull the trigger on the first round and then maintain your finger in position over the trigger, the recoil of the weapon pushes the weapon trigger back against your finger, firing the second and subsequent rounds without necessity to physically squeeze the trigger. A firing chain is thus started which does not terminate until either you remove your finger or the ammo is exhausted.

It is the recoil of the weapon, not the conscious operation of the trigger, that fires the second and subsequent rounds. Thus, only one conscious pull of the trigger is required to fire multiple rounds sequentially. The entire chain of operation of the firearm must be considered, not just the trigger mechanism in isolation.

That capability establishes that it is a part capable of converting a weapon to machine gun as defined by the statute.


Bad ruling. They’re making up laws as they go.


With a bump stock, the trigger is still reset after each shot.

Well, this one deserves a meme.


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To be honest, if it weren’t for the muddy, icy, 89° slope, I wouldn’t care about this.

In the end, this case is outside Second Amendment jurisprudence and will have zero effect on Second Amendment issues unrelated to bump stocks. The Supreme Court will likely be taking a new Second Amendment case that will likely greatly strengthen Second Amendment protections.

The reasoning is based on emotion. On Phobus, not Themis.

More authoritarianism. More laws that cannot prevent anything.

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You don’t need a bump stock to do that. It’s a bad ruling and a perfect example of why people that don’t know jack about firearms have no business passing laws or ruling on the constitutionality of firearms regulations.

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That’s ridiculous…then that would go for anything covered by a law or regulations. That would mean lawmakers and judges would have to be an expert in anything and everything that has a law attached to it…

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Where did he say “expert”.
Do you not think it makes sense to have a working knowledge of something you wish to regulate?

Which part of the second amendment states “except weapons we the government rule unusual or dangerous”?

It’s time we stop ignoring the requirements to amend the constitution when there’s parts that need changed rather than just ignore the parts in question.

And no, a bump stock does not cause the trigger to fire more than one bullet per trigger pull.


And with a standard(?) machine gun, the firing pin is reset after each shot. The statue doesn’t go into mechanical engineering, the statue is “one finger pull = lots of bullets”.

It tries to. The statute is ■■■■■

How can one have a working knowledge of everything thats covered by law/regulation? Pesticides, automotive safety, mining, fishing, chemical industry, environmental issues etc…no one can be expected to have working knowledge of every topic.

One admits one doesn’t know everything, then listens to expert testimony. Not soccer moms.