The “federal courts will protect our rights!” crowd just got another pie in the face with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision refusing to hear a lawsuit involving President Donald Trump’s unconstitutional 2018 bump stock ban.

The lawsuit in question concerned whether or not bump stock owners should be financially compensated for having to turn them in after they were decreed “illegal.” The plaintiffs argued that the Trump order violated the Fifth Amendment “takings clause” by forcing them to give up their property without compensation. By refusing to hear the case, the SCOTUS upheld a lower court decision that dismissed the case and denied compensation to bump stock owners.

The decision demonstrates why the courts are an unreliable place for gun rights to be protected. SCOTUS has previously dismissed two other cases involving challenges to the bump stock ban.

Occasionally, federal courts issue opinions favorable to the right to keep and bear arms. But even then, the high court often oversteps the powers of the federal government over state’s rights. The Second Amendment does not give the feds authority to “enforce” gun rights in the states; rather, it says the feds have no right to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. The Tenth Amendment makes it obvious the feds only have authority expressly delegated to them.

The further irony is that Trump’s 2019 rule put him to the left of the Obama Administration. During that time, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had concluded bump stocks were not machine guns and shouldn’t be prohibited.

The bump stock ban was also not an act of Congress or a bill proposed by the president but done through the bureaucracy. There is no reasonable argument to be made that the executive branch can simply prohibit things by decree.

In the bump stock case, the plaintiffs demonstrate what not to do; surrender their bump stocks and then sue after the fact. They should have refused to turn them in to anyone and fought for legislation prohibiting local law enforcement from actively assisting any federal authorities on the matter.

A combination of civil disobedience, anti-commandeering, and nullification is the correct path toward restoring gun rights and preventing further violations in the future.

TJ Martinell

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