FederalGunsJudicialTexas Federal Court Closes Case on Bump Stocks, Leaving Open Questions of Legality

Despite a federal appeals court declaring a federal ban on bump stocks illegal, the ATF indicated it is still enforcing the ban.
March 9, 2023
After Austin-area gun store owner Michael Cargill prevailed with a 13 to 3 ruling before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a Trump-era rule banning bump stocks, the appeals court remanded the case to a federal district judge to issue a new ruling in accordance with their findings in favor of Cargill.

A district judge this week has issued the final order in the case, which has left Cargill and his attorneys scratching their heads.

In four sentences, Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra issued a one-page order declaring Cargill the victor in the case and ordered the case closed, stopping short of offering any explanation regarding what type of relief Cargill was entitled to.

“In the phrase of Bill Clinton, what does it mean?” Cargill said jokingly in an interview with The Texan. “We won it, but what did we win?”

Cargill said he has talked to attorneys around the country who have never seen anything like the judge’s final order that avoided going into detail granting relief.

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In the initial lawsuit, Cargill asked for the bump stock rule to be set aside nationwide, injunctions to be put in place, a declaratory judgment in his favor, and to be awarded attorney’s fees and court costs.

Cargill added his legal fight is far from over, and he is “in it for the long haul.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had previously declined to comment regarding its enforcement policies on bump stocks, citing the potential to appeal the Fifth Circuit’s decision.

Despite the Cargill case now being officially closed, the ATF still declined to comment but directed The Texan to the agency’s enforcement policies on its website implying the agency is still enforcing the ban and treating the stocks as unregistered machine guns.

This case comes as other similar challenges are being mounted to a Biden administration rule banning pistol braces, with several lawsuits underway in federal district courts across Texas.


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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy. He graduated from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.