Democratic lawmaker slams bump stock ruling: 'Incredibly troubling'

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Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) did not mince words with how he felt about the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to strike down a ban on bump stocks.

During an interview on CNN, Heinrich claimed that Justice Clarence Thomas was not being honest about the components of bump stocks — a modification that gives the shooter the ability to easily fire multiple rounds quickly.

In his written opinion, Thomas said the stock “does not convert a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun, any more than a shooter with a lightning-fast trigger finger does.”

CNN host Brianna Keilar played a segment from a YouTube video that showed an AR-15 rifle being fired both with and without a bump stock. It also pointed out differences in how the gun performed in both cases.

She then asked the senator for his reaction to Thomas’ statement.

“It’s just not honest. I know these mechanisms. I’ve seen not just the videos, but I’ve used some of these weapons,” he said. “He’s not being honest about what this does, and it is incredibly dangerous.”

Heinrich added that “there’s no legitimate use,” for the bump stocks.

“Who is going to use these bump stocks? It’s going to be street gangs and cartels and mass shooters,” Heinrich said. “And innocent Americans are going to die because of this decision. I find it incredibly troubling.”

His comments come after the high court ruled against the regulation, which was implemented by former President Trump in the wake of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, considered the deadliest in U.S. history. In that incident, the shooter used a bump stock to kill 60 people and wound hundreds of others.

The Biden administration has long argued for the ban, after pressing Congress multiple times to pass legislation to ban all semi-automatic weapons.

But, in a 6-3 ruling along ideological lines, the Supreme Court found the categorization stretched the law too far, ruling in favor of a Texas gun store owner who challenged the ban after surrendering his two bump stocks. 

Following the decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a harsh dissent, claiming the decision “eviscerates” regulations on machine guns.

“Today, the Court puts bump stocks back in civilian hands,” Sotomayor, who was joined by liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, wrote. “To do so, it casts aside Congress’s definition of ‘machinegun’ and seizes upon one that is inconsistent with the ordinary meaning of the statutory text and unsupported by context or purpose.”

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