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Supreme Court declines to block national bump stock ban

By Danielle Haynes
The gunman in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting used bump stocks in order to shoot at a rapid pace. File Photo by Ronda Churchill/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4fbf93193da7bba8cd081220f932a13e/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The gunman in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting used bump stocks in order to shoot at a rapid pace. File Photo by Ronda Churchill/UPI | License Photo

March 28 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to block the Trump administration's ban on bump stocks while lawsuits against the measure make their way through lower courts.

The high court denied the request by a group of plaintiffs led by gun advocacy group Gun Owners of America.

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Bump stocks increase a gun's rate of fire by using the recoil to have the gun fire continuously, nearly converting a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic machine gun. With a bump stock, some guns can fire between 400 and 500 rounds per minute.

The devices have been opposed by lawmakers and President Donald Trump since the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, in which Stephen Paddock used one to fire more than 1,000 rounds at concertgoers. He killed 58 people.

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Since the Las Vegas shooting, the Justice Department has evaluated existing laws against automatic weapons and in December interpreted the law to also ban bump stocks. A ban on the devices went into effect earlier this week.

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"We still feel that the regulation is a factual misreading of the statute, and that ultimately we will be vindicated on it," Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, said of the challenge.

Gun Owners of America has led the charge against bump stock ban with lawsuits in Washington state, Ohio, Utah and Michigan. The organization estimates more than 500,000 Americans own bump stocks. A federal court in Cincinnati also denied the group's request for a preliminary injunction.

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The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court not to block the bump stock ban.

"Every Court to rule on a request to preliminarily enjoin the rule has determined that a preliminary injunction is unwarranted," Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in a filing.

Nicholas Sakelaris contributed to this report.

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