The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas held a session on the federal bump stock ban lawsuit filed by an Austin resident. Michael Cargill sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for ordering him to surrender or destroy his device or face criminal charges.
The Central Gun Works owner claimed that the order violated his constitutional rights. Cargill argues that only Congress has the authority to make laws. He argues that the DOJ and the ATF had no right to rewrite laws because of the separation of powers clause, which imposes various checks and balances. Cargill, therefore, argues that the ATF orders violated the constitution.
Cargill’s case originated from the fact that although Congress had banned machine guns, no existing ban covered bump stocks. The ATF had tried to include bump stocks in the machine gun ban definition in December 2018. The agency advised owners to destroy or surrender them before March 26, 2019, when the ban took effect. Cargill complied before filing the lawsuit.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican, you’re a Democrat, you’re a Libertarian. It’s the fact that the federal government — an agency — actually walks into your house and says, ‘There’s something that you own, that you possess, that you legally purchased, it is now illegal. It’s banned. If you keep it, you’re a felon and we’re not going to reimburse you for it,” Cargill said.
Cargill’s lawsuit does not intend to roll back the bump stock ban. It attempts to clarify which government body has the power to change the laws.
Cargill is represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance. The organization’s executive director, Mark Chenoweth, blamed the ATF for changing the laws after Cargill had already legally acquired the device.
“This agency explicitly said that this device was approved. It was legally approved before Michael purchased it, and then after he owned it, they came and took it away and said that it’s now illegal,” Chenoweth said.
All parties will submit written arguments by next month to allow the determination of the case in the next few months.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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