NCLA client, Clark Aposhian is challenging ATFs ban on bumpstocks in the case Aposhian v. Barr. May a federal agency rewrite a federal statute?
May that rewrite turn otherwise innocent Americans into criminals? Those questions are what this case is about.
A federal statute bars Americans from owning machine guns but does not preclude them from owning bump stocks. Firearms instructor Clark Aposhian lawfully purchased a bump stock, but on March 26, 2019, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives adopted a regulation changing the statutory definition of “machine gun” to include bump stocks. By rewriting the statute, ATF turned Mr. Aposhian and more than 500-thousand other law-abiding Americans into felons, subject to a 10-year prison sentence if they did not destroy or divest themselves of possession, even though owning a bump stock was lawful under the federal statute at the time of purchase.
NCLA represents Mr. Aposhian in challenging this unconstitutional rewriting of a federal statute. The case is not about whether bump stocks should be banned. Instead, it is about whether ATF acted lawfully in how it banned them. NCLA contends that agencies may not rewrite any statutes, let alone federal criminal statutes.