Updates in Multiple Bump-Stock Cases and One Supreme Court Case in Today's FPC Daily 2A Legal Update


In today's FPC legal update, we have filings from two separate lawsuits that challenge the federal bump-stock ban in federal court and a lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to New York's handgun license scheme.

Patrick v. Whitaker

Issue: Bump stocks

Court: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

Action: Court denied standing to plaintiff

Patrick v. Whitaker was filed shortly after the 2018 bumpstock ban. The plaintiff, Daniel Patrick, sued Acting Attorney General Whitaker in order to prevent the new bump stock rule from taking effect, arguing that the new rule was invalid because Whitaker’s designation as Acting Attorney General was unconstitutional. The case was initially filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina, and then appealed to a 3-judge panel at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals after the district court dismissed the lawsuit.

Today, that 3-judge panel found that Patrick, the plaintiff in the case, does not have standing to challenge the former Acting Attorney General's ratification of the bump stock ban. When standing is denied, it means that a case will not be decided by the court on its merits, but rather based on the fact that the plaintiff has not demonstrated a sufficient connection to, or harm from, a law or legal action. Now that the 3-judge panel has decided this case, Patrick's options are to either file a petition for a rehearing en banc (in front of the entire court), or a petition to the Supreme Court.

Cargill v. Garland

Issue: Bump stocks

Court: Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

Action: Reply brief filed

Cargill v. Garland is another bumpstock case that was also filed shortly after the bumpstock ban. In order to avoid committing a felony as a result of possessing a bumpstock, Cargill filed this lawsuit against then-Attorney General Barr (now Attorney General Garland) that sought to stop the new bumpstock rule from being implemented. 

Today, Cargill submitted a brief to the Fifth Circuit. The brief argues that the ATF "improperly seeks to alter what constitutes a machinegun, which is something that no agency can accomplish by regulation." In March, FPC also filed a brief in the case, which you can read more about here. Now that the case has been briefed, the next step is for the court to determine a date for oral arguments – something that may not occur for months.

Libertarian Party v. Cuomo

Issue: Handgun licenses

Court: Supreme Court

Action: Reply brief filed

Libertarian Party v. Cuomo is a lawsuit filed by the Libertarian Party of Erie County against multiple aspects of New York's handgun license scheme, such as the requirement for references and the standard in which licenses can be denied or revoked. This case was appealed to the Supreme Court after a 3-judge panel at the Second Circuit upheld the state's restrictions in a 51-page opinion.

Today, the organization filed a reply brief that responds to the opposition brief filed by New York on Tuesday. The reply brief urges the court to hear their case, arguing that it "makes more powerful arguments for the Second Amendment than were made in NYSRPA [v. Bruen]." The Supreme Court will consider whether to take this case at their conference on June 24th.

In addition to the legal updates, two new rules are set to be published on June 1st by the Departments of State and Commerce. The purpose of the two rules is to inform the public about last month's ruling in a lawsuit that challenged a federal rule that attempted to change how 3D-printed guns and files are regulated. The states sued the federal government to stop the change and won an injunction at the district court, but the Ninth Circuit ruled last month that the injunction should not have been issued. The states declined to appeal the lawsuit, and the court issued its mandate earlier this week, which allowed the ruling go to into effect.

Given the Memorial Day holiday, the next FPC Daily Legal Update will be on Tuesday, June 1st.