'It causes harm': Houston residents react to Supreme Court's decision to reverse bump stock ban

Chaz Miller Image
Friday, June 14, 2024
How does the Supreme Court's bump stock reversal affect us in Houston?
Houston residents react to the Supreme Court's decision to reverse a 2019 ban on bump stocks used to modify firearms into semiautomatic weapons.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While the Supreme Court's decision to reverse the ban on bump stocks is a significant development, you've been able to purchase them here since last year.

This decision came after a 2023 decision from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which made them available again in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

The big issue is whether or not a bump stock turns a semiautomatic weapon into a machine gun. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the court's opinion, said it does not.

Kyle Harrison, the general manager at Top Gun Range in West Houston, concurs.

RELATED: How bump stocks change the way semi-automatic weapons are fired

"It was a very good response," Harrison said of Thomas' opinion. "He obviously knows what he is talking about."

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a bump stock as a replacement stock for a semiautomatic rifle that enables it to fire much more rapidly.

The Trump Administration determined that bump stocks turned semiautomatic guns into machine guns in 2018, but Harrison said this is why that isn't the case.

"You have to pull the trigger every single time," he said, using a bump stock. "It's not an automatic gun like an M16 where you could pull the trigger, hold it, and it would continue to fire."

In her dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor disagreed.

"When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck," she said.

ABC13 spoke to some Houston residents on Friday who feel similarly to Sotomayor.

"If we already know it causes harm, I don't understand what you'd need to be doing with it," Nicole Lavrack said.

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Vice President Kamala Harris said the Biden Administration will urge Congress to re-ban bump stocks due to the decision.

The changes were previously made by the Justice Department, altering the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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