Cargill v. Garland, No. 20-51016 (5th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
In the wake of a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, interpreted existing regulations on machineguns as extending to bump stocks. Plaintiff relinquished several bump stocks and then filed this case, seeking to invalidate ATF's interpretation.
The district court found in favor of the ATF, as did a panel of Fifth Circuit judges. However, on rehearing en banc, the Eleventh Circuit reversed, finding that "a plain reading of the statutory language, paired with close consideration of the mechanics of a semi-automatic firearm, reveals that a bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of 'machinegun' set forth in the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act."
The court went on to explain that, even if it determine the language to be ambiguous, it would apply the rule of lenity to interpret the statute against imposing criminal liability. Notably, three judges concurred with the court's opinion on lenity grounds, and the opinion also garnered a three-judge dissent.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on December 14, 2021.