Bump stock ban: District Court rules in favor of Cargill vs. ATF, but refuses relief
A federal district judge has issued a judgment for Michael Cargill in a case where Mr. Cargill challenged the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) bump stock ban (Cargill vs. Garland). However, District Judge David Ezra did not grant Cargill and gun owners relief.
The Trump-era bump stock ban came after a deranged man killed over 50 people in Las Vegas. According to the FBI, the gunman allegedly had an AR-15 equipped with a bump stock.
President Donald Trump ordered the ATF to issue a rule to ban bump stocks. The device did not meet the definition of a machine gun. The ATF changed the definition through Chevron deference. Under the new rule, the ATF designated bump stocks as machine guns.
District Judge David Ezra initially ruled against Cargill. The Judge is a Ronald Reagan appointee assigned to a Hawaiian District court before relocating to Texas. Even though a Republican appointed the judge, the judge has shown hostility towards gun rights.
Mr. Cargill appealed the judge’s decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming that the District Judge got it wrong. The Fifth Circuit agreed with Cargill finding that the ATF violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
They called out the ATF for trying to circumvent Congress by making a de facto law. The Circuit Court remanded the case back to the District Court to rule in favor of the plaintiff and issue the appropriate relief.
“Having determined that the judgment of the district court must be reversed, we remand this case to the district court to enter judgment for Cargill and to determine the proper scope of relief,” The Circuit Court’s decision read.
Judge Ezra received the case back, ruled in favor of Mr. Cargill, and ordered the case closed, but the judge did not grant any relief, leaving the issue of legality for bump stocks undecided.
The judge could have granted an injunction on the rule just for Cargill, for only the district, the circuit, or the nation. By not specifying an area, the judge created a massive gray area.
AmmoLand News spoke with Cargill about Judge Ezra issuing a decision for him and closing the case without giving any relief. Mr. Cargill was not surprised by the judge’s action.
“This is an activist judge, and he gave a middle finger to the Fifth Circuit,” Cargill said. “He basically took his toys and went home.”
Cargill’s lawyers could file a motion to amend the decision in the case or ask the Fifth Circuit to reopen the case and grant relief on an emergency basis. One thing is clear; Judge Ezra ignored the Fifth Circuit’s ruling by not granting relief.
The Justice Department has until April 6 to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Since there was an 8-8 split in the Sixth Circuit and the Tenth Circuit found for the Government, SCOTUS would almost be forced to take the case because of the circuit split.
Cargill states that he and his attorneys have a plan but are not ready to disclose the plan at this time.
John Crump is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He has written about firearms, interviewing people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at crumpy.com. Reprinted with permission of AmmoLand.