Attorney General Todd Rokita is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that, if left intact, could threaten the Second Amendment rights of Hoosiers and all Americans.
The lower court decision inappropriately permits federal regulators to outlaw a popular firearm accessory and potentially imprison those who fail to comply with the new mandate.
As part of a 20-state coalition, Attorney General Rokita argues in an amicus brief that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was afforded too much deference in using the regulatory process to criminalize the possession of bump stocks — a longtime legal accessory for semiautomatic rifles designed for those with limited hand mobility.
“Hoosiers have learned over many years to beware the tendencies of entrenched federal powers to incrementally infringe on our constitutional liberties,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Few rights are so precious as the freedom to possess firearms for the defense of our lives, families, homes and property. We must always stay alert to threats against these rights, and we must stand up to preserve them when they come under attack.”
The coalition estimates that potentially as many as 520,000 legally purchased bump stocks are in circulation. The new rule would require owners to either surrender or destroy their devices or otherwise face serious fines and imprisonment.
A federal appeals court should have exercised greater judicial independence, the coalition argues, in weighing the ATF’s regulation against congressional intent and the Constitution, especially the Second Amendment.
The brief contends the need for independent judicial review grows even stronger in instances where the challenged regulation would impose criminal sanctions. Without further review, the coalition argues, the lower court ruling would potentially expose nearly every American to the risk of criminal liability without proper legislative and judicial safeguards.