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Federal judge upholds Trump administration's ban on rapid-fire bump stocks

NBC News logo NBC News 2/26/2019 Tim Stelloh
a hand holding a gun: A bump stock that attaches to an semi-automatic assault rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, on Oct. 4, 2017. © George Frey A bump stock that attaches to an semi-automatic assault rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, on Oct. 4, 2017.

A federal judge in Washington state on Monday rejected a challenge to the Trump administration’s ban on so-called bump stocks, the device used to kill 58 people and injure nearly 900 people in Las Vegas in 2017.

In a 64-page decision, U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich said the plaintiffs who brought the challenge failed to prove their case.

The ban, issued on Dec. 18 by the Justice Department, is set to go into effect on March 26.

Individuals will be barred from selling bump stocks or similarly designed devices, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to work like a machine gun.

People still in possession of the devices will be required to destroy or turn them over to a local office of the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In court documents filed on Dec. 26, Damian Guedes, the Firearm Policy Foundation and other plaintiffs argued that the new rule “smacks of agency abuse” and was the “product of serious, multi-dimensional legal violations.”

They also said that then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker did not have the authority to issue the ban.

But Friedrich dismissed the case, saying it did not show that the government had done anything wrong in developing the new rule.

Nor does federal law bar Whitaker from enforcing the rule, Friedrich wrote.

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