A case against the ban was filed in the United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division, on December 26, 2018 — the same day that the ATF’s bump stock rule was put forward. Plaintiffs contended the ATF could not declare bump stocks to be machine guns and sought a preliminary injunction against the ATF rule.
The District Court ruled in favor of the ATF, finding that the agency was entitled to Chevron deference and thereby able to classify bump stocks as machine guns.
The case was then appealed to the Sixth Circuit and, on Thursday, Judge Alice M. Batchelder, a well-respected originalist judge in the mold of Justice Clarence Thomas, handed down a majority opinion against the ATF’s interpretive powers.
The Sixth Circuit’s decision was two t0 one.
Batchelder noted how important Chevron deference was to the District Court decision:
After finding that the ATF’s interpretation was entitled to Chevron deference, the district court held that the Final Rule’s classification of bump stocks as machine guns was “a permissible interpretation” of § 5845(b). Accordingly, the court concluded that Plaintiffs-Appellants were unlikely to succeed on the merits and denied the preliminary injunction.