Attorney General Alan Wilson joins 20-state push to protect 2nd Amendment

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(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that, if left intact, inappropriately permits federal regulators to outlaw a popular firearm accessory and potentially imprison those who fail to comply with the new mandate.

Attorney General Wilson joined a 20-state coalition Friday. Its brief argues the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was afforded too much deference in using the regulatory process to criminalize the possession of bump stocks – a longtime legal accessory for semiautomatic rifles designed for those with limited hand mobility.

“This case is about the fundamental right to keep and bear arms and is also a clear case of bureaucratic overreach,” Attorney General Wilson said. “In this case, unelected bureaucrats are criminalizing possession of a device that Americans use while exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

The coalition estimates that potentially as many as 520,000 legally purchased bump stocks are in circulation. The new rule would require owners to either surrender or destroy their devices or otherwise face serious fines and imprisonment.


The coalition argues a federal appeals court should have exercised greater judicial independence in weighing ATF’s regulation against congressional intent and the Constitution, especially the Second Amendment.

The brief contends the need for independent judicial review grows even stronger in instances where the challenged regulation would impose criminal sanctions. Without further review, the coalition argues the lower court ruling would potentially expose nearly every American to the risk of criminal liability without proper legislative and judicial safeguards.

In addition to South Carolina, the West Virginia-led brief received support from attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Read the brief here.