LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that, if left intact, inappropriately permits federal regulators to outlaw a popular firearm accessory and potentially imprison those who fail to comply with the new mandate. Arkansas joined a 20-state coalition arguing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not have regulatory authority to criminalize the possession of bump stocks – a longtime legal accessory for semiautomatic rifles designed for those with limited hand mobility.
“ATF has overstepped its authority and as Arkansans’ last line of defense, I will do everything in my power to ensure our Second Amendment rights are protected,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I have never stopped fighting to defend our fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”
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.
The coalition argues a federal appeals court should have exercised greater judicial independence in weighing 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.
In addition to Rutledge signing the West Virginia-led brief, attorneys general from the following states signed on: Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.