Illinois Attorney General Logo

Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

Illinois Attorney General Logo


December 27, 2023

CHICAGO – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with 22 attorneys general, filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a federal rule banning bump stocks, devices that effectively convert semiautomatic firearms into illegal and dangerous automatic weapons.

In their brief filed in Garland v. Cargill, Raoul and the coalition urge the Supreme Court to validate a 2018 regulation that clarified that the federal law banning machine guns also bans bump stock devices. Raoul and the coalition assert that the rule aligns with longstanding policies prohibiting automatic weapons and argue that overturning it would pose a threat to public safety and the safety of law enforcement officers.

“Military-style weapons and their accessories have no place in our society and are intended to inflict mass carnage, as seen by the horrific 2017 shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas,” Raoul said. “I will continue to advocate for common sense gun safety measures to make our neighborhoods safe for all Illinois families.”

Federal law has strictly regulated fully automatic, military-grade weapons since 1934 and has banned civilian ownership of new automatic weapons since 1986. Bump stocks – devices that allow a user to fire multiple rounds in seconds with just one pull of a trigger – were created to evade federal regulations and are marketed as workarounds to the ban on automatic weapons. In 2017, the dangers of bump stocks became tragically clear when a man using weapons fitted with bump stocks murdered 58 people in Las Vegas. In response to that massacre, the federal government issued a regulation clarifying that a 1986 law making it a crime to own a machine gun also applies to bump stocks.

The 2018 regulation banning bump stocks has faced multiple court challenges, with three federal circuit courts of appeal declining to invalidate it. In a challenge before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the court, by a three-judge panel, also initially upheld the rule. However, the full court reversed that decision. The case is now before the Supreme Court.

Raoul and the coalition are urging the Supreme Court to uphold the 2018 rule. They argue that overturning the rule would undermine the U.S.’s nearly century-long effort to restrict civilian use of machine guns and would endanger both the public and law enforcement officers. Additionally, they highlight that at least eighteen jurisdictions have banned or regulated bump stocks, and that the 2018 rule is critical to fill gaps in state-by-state regulation of these extremely dangerous devices.

The brief is Attorney General Raoul’s most recent action to address gun violence throughout Illinois and across the nation. The Attorney General’s office works with state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to increase awareness of Illinois’ red flag law and to address gaps in Illinois’ firearms licensing system.

Raoul successfully filed and resolved a lawsuit to revoke the federal firearm license of an unscrupulous arms manufacturer. Raoul also proposed the Firearms Industry Responsibility Act in Illinois to hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable, which Governor JB Pritzker signed into law in August.

Nationally, Attorney General Raoul led coalitions of attorneys general in filing briefs supporting state laws in New Jersey and New York that similarly hold gun industry members accountable for their own, unlawful actions. Raoul has also led coalitions of attorneys general supporting state and federal firearm restrictions for people under the age of 21 and in support of bans on carrying firearms in sensitive areas such as in schools, on public transit and in places of worship.

In addition to supporting law enforcement, the Attorney General’s office supports victims service providers around Illinois that offer trauma-informed services for crime victims and their families. Raoul’s Crime Victims Services Division administers a host of programs and services to assist survivors of violent crime. More information is available on the Attorney General’s website.

Joining Raoul in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.