P1060128

Filed yesterday in Dallas, the lawsuit of Hollis v. Holder is suing the U.S. Department of Justice to allow legal entities such as trusts and corporations to legally register new machine guns. As you probably know, machine guns are regulated under the National Firearms Act, and in most states (as well as on the federal level) possession of an item regulated under that act is a felony unless it is properly registered. However, starting in 1986 the U.S. Government declared that they would no longer approve new registration applications for machine guns — they “closed” the registry. The newly filed lawsuit is seeking to change that.

It all started with a ruling by the ATF that declared trusts and legal corporations were not people. Previously it was possible for someone to use a trust or other legal entity to purchase firearms, and because there was no one to perform a background check on there was no need to perform a NICS check or do most of the paperwork for the ATF form 4473. The ATF wanted to force people to go through the NICS check, but they made a mistake.

When the feds “closed” the registry, they didn’t do a very good job. The specific regulation stated that no person could register a new machine gun. But trusts, as the ATF just declared, are not people.

Following the discovery of that possible wrinkle in the bureaucratic fabric of the NFA, there were a flood of people sending in applications to make and register new machine guns. One person momentarily succeeded — they were issued a proper and valid registration for a brand new machine gun — but the ATF quickly reversed itself and issued a revocation of the registration.

This latest legal action stems from that incident. The person involved is suing the ATF to issue the registration for their machine gun, and in the complaint filed yesterday they threw the book at the ATF. Starting with an attack on the NFA process in general and ending with using the Heller decision to point out that “commonly used” firearms cannot be banned (like the select fire M4 that the Army uses), they’re pulling out all the stops to make sure that the judge sees the ridiculousness of the ATF’s position in this matter.

As the eternal pessimist, I doubt that we will see much (if any) movement on this issue. But the arguments are solid, and hope springs eternal that things will turn out better than they did in the 1930’s.

78 Responses to BREAKING: Lawsuit Filed to Allow Registration of New Machine Guns

    • Dude, he lied on the form. I understand all the details behind his argument and agree with them except when comes back to the fact that he understood he was not the actual buyer and checked that he was. It was a gotcha’ question the knowingly gave a false answer that he assumed wouldn’t bite him but it did.

      This case is completely different as it makes clear and factual statements that show the current law is bullshit and unconstitutional. At the very least the registry being closed should and perhaps may be overturned.

  1. Sh!t, I got $100 bucks I’ll donate to such a worthy cause. Where’s the link to their crowdfunding site?

    • I’d suspect those that can afford to pay for those as eell as their feeding understand the bigger picture and have the income which makes the loss somewhat minimal.

    • Actually, I think they would be. For the most part they are exceedingly wealthy and if this goes through they’ll get access to top class equipment for that same amount. The fact is that unclogging and making the system proper may devalue the limited pool now by several decimals only bodes well for machine guns and the gunners as a whole. As they become easier to repair, create and select from.

      • It doesn’t take being exceedingly wealthy to buy an M-16.

        It just takes not pissing your money away or choosing not to buy a new car for 20 years.

        I have not had a car payment ever in my life, and in addition to not having kids, I’ve been able to afford man toys even when I was relatively poor.

        Most people just have crap money management.

        • I don’t think a full-auto M16 is a good example of not pissing one’s money away. Practice what you preach.

        • His responsibilities to others is minimal (no kids) and he exercised fiscal discipline to save for his toy.

          It’s somewhat usual for folks like him to have toys like a motorcycle, sports car, truck, high-end stereo, airplane, etc. Those toys can easily cost 25 thou. plus.

          Personally, I’d consider none of those to be ‘pissing away’ his money as his toys don’t negatively impact others.

          It falls under ‘It’s a free country (somewhat), ‘Merica!’

        • I am currently waiting on my form to come in for my UC9 submachine gun. I am not rich, and bought this by paying it off in increments and scrimping everywhere possible. I am very torn on this as I am not happy about losing +$13k in an investment, (this is the most expensive thing I own) but it would be a gain in freedom, right?

        • I am very pro 2nd Amendment supporter, but I personally think that spending $13,000 on any fully automatic gun is pissing off money. When the Govt. SS knocks on your door and says they are there to take your weapons, you will do one of two things, one hand them over, or lie and say you don’t have any, at which time they will arrest you and your family, trash your house until they find them and you will be out. Those who say that they will fight are only lying to themselves, look at how many fought having their homes searched in Boston.

    • I’ll bet they are already donating. They didn’t buy their guns as investments, they can afford to shoot full-auto all they want, they shoot the things!

      • Why should we have to buy a stamp anymore? Furthermore, I believe there are oodles and oodles of perfectly good M-16’s being sent to police departments that don’t even want them, they’d be great additions to a revitalized CMP.

    • Are you serious? Those guys would be ecstatic.

      M134 : transferrable via form 4 : $215,000
      M134 : Post Dealer Sample : $45,000

      Burn a $25K M-16 for a crack at those or a GAU-19? SOLD.

    • The funny part is that the original Colt M-16 in full-auto are selling for around 1,000 Euros ($1,250) in Luxembourg… but unfortunately citizen have only to collect them or request their gunsmith to convert them in semi-auto to be able to use it at the range. But there’s plenty of it… plenty enough that doesn’t justify the $25,000 price 😉

  2. The kourts are too corrupt. They will ignore all the arguments and proof and in the end cite neoconservative “justice” Scalia that they are “dangerous and unusual.” Never mind the absurdity of such a statement, something only a neocon could come up with: All guns are dangerous and certainly guns that are essentially illegal will be unusual for the law abiding citizen to see in individual hands. There are only about 250,000 legal machine guns. And as always, truly dangerous people will not register any machine guns they have.

  3. Well, this much is sure- the NFA would’ve had a much harder time being passed in today’s highly divided Congress. Most Republicans, RINO or otherwise, wouldn’t be caught dead voting for anything with “firearms act” in the name.

    • Much to learn you have, disthunder. The law that banned new machine guns was the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act. Voted for by Republicans and signed into law by California gun banner Ronald Reagan (he turned Ca from Constitutional carry to restrictive may issue concealed as governor). The law did do some good things, but still shouldn’t have been brought forth with the Hughes amendment.

      • “IN TODAY’S HIGHLY DIVIDED CONGRESS”

        Yes, it was added to FOPA by an anti-gun cunt Representative named Huges by an unrecorded voice vote which clearly lost but was declared good by another anti-gun cunt Representative named Rangel.

        It was intended as a poison pill amendment but the NRA decided to throw the NFA people under the bus to get everything else in the law passed. The assumed it would be thrown out in court. SURPRISE! It wasn’t. Now there is a double standard where by post ’86 Machine-guns have been arbitrarily declared ‘dangerous and unusual’ as an excuse not to apply the 2nd Amendment, meanwhile the hundreds of thousands of pre-ban Machine-guns are just fine and dandy.

    • Yeah, all I could say was “dammit, dammit, dammit!” The paperwork is in for another silencer, my state just made SBRs legal so that paperwork is in the queue and now machine guns. The older I get the more expensive the hobbies…

  4. Forget Heller for a second… it sounds like the ATF is deciding on its own to go beyond the Firearm Owners Protection Act that banned transfer by persons (not corporations). That should be reversed on its face alone. I suspect the court battle is a delay so new language can be added into a bill as a rider to close the loophole.

    Me? I just want suppressors to be off that stupid list.

  5. Specifically addressing lionsfan54’s concerns, I happen to be one of the lucky POOR guys who knows quite a few people who OWN those 25k M-16s, (amongst other really neat giggle-switch equipped toys), and to a man (and in one case woman) NONE of them were purchased as “investments”. They had the disposable income to enable them to enjoy something quite a few of us drool about, a fully automatic firearm. They ALL wish they could buy MORE, again not as “investments”, but because automatic firearms are amazing devices, so again, to a person, they’re all FOR the ability to create new ones.

    Hell, I’ve had personal opportunities to buy a registered DIAS, several times – I just can’t sink the 6-8k into one – but you know what, if it becomes LEGAL to build new ones, I’ll be cranking them out for about what Tac-Con peddles one of their “almost-giggle-switch” trigger groups for, inside of a month!

    Does ANYONE here know someone who bought an automatic weapon as an “investment”, or who would truly be bent out of shape if it were possible to buy NEW ones? Seriously?

    • I agree with you to a point, but typically the investment guys aren’t the guys who have the cash to buy one 25k gun, we’re talking about the people who have rooms – large rooms – full of 25k guns. And they don’t shoot them.

      Two sides of that coin. The good side is that those guys are few in number. The bad side is they have deep pockets and connections.

    • I know someone who bought a belt-fed as an investment, but I think he enjoys shooting it very much also. I can’t speak to which direction he’d bend if they re-opened the registry and cut the value of his gun significantly. I doubt he’d write his congresscritter to oppose such a thing.

    • If I bought one as an investment and found out the registry was opened up again, I wouldn’t be mad. My initial thought would be “Hell Yeah! Now I can have more fun switches!” While I’m not holding my breath on this going through I’d still be happy. I’ll be even more happy when suppressors and SBRs are taken off.

    • I just bought a registered receiver M16. Was it an “investment”, not in that I’m counting on it for my retirement. But it was purchased because in part that it would, absent government intervention, be a way to own something that I would use and would most likely become more valuable over time, it beats the hell out of owning say a painting by a famous artist in my opinion. If it happened in the next 6 months before I was ever able to shoot it and I could just F1 a new billet MG, I’d be pretty salty, taking a 5 figure hit when you are not the “rich old guy” demographic would suck. Everyone chooses how to spend their money differently, it might be a classic car, a truck for mudding, a boat, a RV for taking vacations, these can all be in the 5 figures and no one would thing that buying them would be strange, or you would have to be “rich” to do so.

      I understand and used to think if they opened the registry that would be great think of all the new stuff! I still feel that way after owning a couple of them, but there is now the “ugly” reality that there would be a substantial dollar value hit to be taken if it were to happen.

      • I think the expensive part would be buying enough ammo to have enough fun to justify owning a select fire weapon, especially when you factor in that unlike the used weapon, the used ammo can’t be resold later for as much or even more than you paid for it.

        As long as we’re having a fantasy legislation thread, I say that as soon as the NFA is overturned there should be a class action lawsuit against the US government to compensate individuals who paid too much for a pre-1986 select fire weapon or a machine gun because of the government’s unjust ban on the sale of new ones. If you are someone who was prevented from buying one because of the high cost, you can join the suit as well. In order to save taxpayer dollars, the aim of the suit would be to obtain a settlement in surplus ammunition and weapons.

        Torches? Pitchforks? Who’s with me?

        • I’d consider select fire for home defense with semi by default, burst if the situation seems right, with 5.56.
          Having the burst option with a lighter round is certainly a beneficial attribute, as long as semi is still available.

    • I’d invest in one to be able to be able to shoot at people I’m wanting to shoot at with fully automatic fire.

    • Eight years ago I put about $6k down on an M2 carbine. Already had five M1 carbines but wanted the fun of full auto. Not bought as an investment at all. Fun as heck.

    • I have 2 “cheap” machine guns, I probably have <$10k into them. It would REALLY suck to lose that money, I'm not well off at all. I just budgeted to get something I really wanted. I drive an old crappy car. That being said, that's a trade I would make in a SECOND. I'll lose $10k in the name of freedom and enjoy the owning of many new machine guns. I would pump out conversion parts as fast as I could in case the door was closed in the future, which would probably happen..

  6. To expound a bit, what are the dangers here? Could this screw the whole NFA process as it exists now? For example, if this makes a lot of noise, the antis and MDA are going to yowl about people being able to legally purchase machine guns. Right now, your average non-POTG Joe thinks any machine gun in the hands of a civilian is illegal. I don’t own an MG but I’ve fired plenty of them at ranges and with private owners. I showed a video to my mom of me firing a suppressed M-16 (registered lower) that a friend of mine owns, and the first question was “Oh my god, aren’t those illegal to own?”

    Well, in Jersey where she lives, yeah, but in most of the rest of the country where NFA item possession is legal via trust and the rare CLEO sign-off, it’s legal. My mom isn’t anti-gun, she’s just uninformed.

    My worry is that the NFA process won’t get easier, it will get harder. However, sometimes good things come from taking a risk. If this becomes possible, I’ll gladly make a DIAS and go through the motions.

  7. I hope this goes through. I’d rather pay a lawyer $500 and wait 1-2 years to get a machine gun than pay $25,000.

  8. Not to be a killjoy, but couldn’t the ATF use the Citizens United
    ruling as an argument for continued denials?
    Seriously, we continually hear that due to Citizens United
    corporations are now “people”. I suspect that actual legal
    nuances would be considered irrelevant. I can still picture the
    ATF openly stating ‘now that corporations are people they
    can be denied firearms”.

    • Why do you think the ATF made the ruling that they did? I suspect that they were pushing back against Citizens United without thinking it through. Unintended consequences.

  9. So the question is, when is a “person” not a “person?” ATF’s answer seems to be “when we say so, even if we contradict ourselves.”

  10. Isn’t point 26 in the filing pretty well addressed by Wickard v. Filburn? Not that I agree with this decision, but it’s established law. Just because a commodity has avoided travelling in interstate commerce doesn’t mean it also avoided impacting interstate commerce. Wheat, man, wheat!

    • Just because something is the law doesn’t mean it’s “right.” Unjust laws need to be challenged every once in a while to try to get them overturned.

  11. Hey, I’m all for news coverage indicating that people are not, in fact, allowed to legally purchase new fully-automatic or select-fire weapons and that those that are currently registered are multiple tens of thousands of dollars.

    Suit won’t go anywhere, but hopefully the media clowns jump in with their “Look at these gun-nut wackjobs” and inadvertently educate some of the populace.

  12. I’ve been really busy, and this is the first post I’ve actually read through in about a week. I missed this place. Know what I didn’t miss? Immediately getting redirected to the Google Play store not once, not twice, but three times in quick succession. I’m so irritated that I forgot what I originally came down here to say.

      • If I was on my PC, I’d be using Chrome with a robust adblocker. However, I’m reading on a tablet using Dolphin (and occasionally Chrome), which is how I do 90% of my browsing lately. That means that the redirects are actually opening my Google Play store app, not sending me to the website. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse.

        • ^What Rambeast said, although I switched to Pale Moon since Eich was forced out. There are some good Greasemonkey scripts out there to get rid of rollover menus too.

        • Been using ABP on Firefox mobile, and most of the crap still gets through.

          I’m having a hard time believing TTAG staff when they claim to be working on their ads. How long does it take to change an ad provider?

  13. This isn’t a realistic goal for now, but getting the NFA short-barrel rifles, shotguns, AOWs and silencers de-regulated IS realistic and something we should push towards.

  14. But the arguments are solid, and hope springs eternal that things will turn out better than they did in the 1930’s.

    Nick, I think it’s irresponsible for you to print such things when in truth, you have no idea whether the arguments are solid or not. The lawsuit is being discussed elsewhere, and real, live lawyers aren’t nearly as impressed as you are. For instance:
    http://www.subguns.com/boards/mgmsg.cgi?read=833487

    No relation to the commenters in the link, but I prefer actual legal analysis more than the fluff quoted above.

  15. In general, NFA guns as a group are almost never involved in crimes. Since slide fire stocks and light weight triggers are legal, a full auto capacity doesn’t mean as much as it used to.

    Slide fire stocks even come with an ATF approval letter in case the owner is arrested by mistake!!

  16. It’s silly to think we will have lax machine gun laws coming when we don’t even know if we will have the right to bear the arms we already own next year. Don’t let your reach exceed your grasp people.

  17. One thing, but the SCOTUS never ruled that “corporations are people,” they ruled that they have some of the same rights as individuals, including the right to free speech. The left continually use the word corporation to make people think of big business. They don’t point out that many non-business entities, such as almost every civil rights organization in the country, are structured legally as corporations, and that these are one of the primary methods by which regular citizens can engage in free speech on issues that they care about.

    The NRA, for example, is a corporation. But allowing the censoring of corporate speech, the speech of regular people is censored. It would mean that only the rich like Michael Bloomberg could engage in speech freely where large amounts of money are required.

    The Left claim that Citizens United makes it where the voice of the average person will be drowned out, but in reality it does precisely the opposite, protecting one of the primary means by which regular people can pool their resources in order to engage in speech that takes money.

    This was actually the goal behind such legislation originally, as Democrats had said they wanted to be able to censor the NRA so that they could get more pro-gun control candidates elected.

  18. If/when economical automatic weapons are available, you choice is to but an M16/full auto AR15??? Really? Of all the options available that would not even be on my top 50 list.

    5.56 AR15 semi auto is the smart spot for the rifle. Not burst, not “giggles”/full auto.

  19. Man look at that disapproved form sent after the approved form… the X on the disapproved box looks furiously scribbled and practically etched in there. Pretty telling IMO.

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