Jay Hollis wanted to convert his perfectly legal semi-auto AR into a bullet-hosing, full-auto font of fun. But as you probably know, under the 1986 machine gun ban — AKA the Firearm Owners Protection Act — that’s illegal. So he sued, claiming FOPA’s machine gun ban is unconstitutional. This week, as HuffPo reports, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals told him no dice.
In a unanimous ruling issued Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit rejected Hollis’ arguments, categorically noting that “machine guns are not protected arms under the Second Amendment.”
The court explained that the leading Supreme Court precedent on the right to keep and bear arms, 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, only protected individual handgun possession for “defense of hearth and home.”
A long gun with a giggle switch is unfit for home (and hearth) defense? We know a lot of people who’d beg to differ.
“Today … ordinary military weaponry is far more advanced than the weapons typically found at home and used for (self)-defense,” the court said, adding that machine guns are “dangerous and unusual,” and nothing like what militias might have used at the founding of the republic.
So the court went with the but the Founding Fathers couldn’t possibly have imagined modern weaponry argument so often relied upon by our civilian disarming friends.
Hold on though. Wouldn’t a weapon like a fully automatic rifle be an effective tool in defending the country and the Constitution against potential enemies both foreign and domestic?
“Heller rejected a functionalist interpretation of the Second Amendment premised on the effectiveness of militia service,” the court of appeals said.
Aided by a number of gun rights groups, Hollis had pressed a number of other arguments — that anything that is “ordinary military equipment” is protected, that the Second Amendment really exists to allow a rebellion against the government, and that machine guns aren’t really “dangerous and unusual.”
The 5th Circuit was largely unimpressed, calling the last argument “tantamount to asking us to overrule the Supreme Court.”
So there’s no lawful bullet hose in Jay Hollis’s future. Or yours. Or mine. And so it goes.