gun serial number removed defaces pistol revolver
This photo shows the defaced serial number on a Smith & Wesson .38 Special in Mountainside, N.J. Stored for the past 50 years in attics, closets and a bank safe-deposit box in New Jersey, the gun belonging to former IRS criminal investigations agent Michael Malone _ and possibly used by members of Al Capone's gang. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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By LKB

When the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision was issued, even I was pleasantly surprised at the breadth of Justice Thomas’ opinion and its probable implications. By focusing strictly on whether particular limits on Second Amendment rights were historically recognized (and invalidating those that are not), the table was set for potential wholesale invalidations of many gun control laws.

In the short time that Bruen has been the law of the land, it is already bearing tangible results. Courts have struck down bans on the carrying of guns by 18 to 21-year-olds and local laws on the possession of firearms. More recently, New York’s petulant legislative response to losing in Bruen is being eviscerated.

Now another shoe has dropped. In United States v. Price, a district court in West Virginia considered whether bans on firearm possession by felons and possession of firearms with obliterated serial numbers were constitutional. While finding that the law barring convicted felons from possessing guns was justified under Bruen, the court found that the laws against removing the serial number on a firearm, or possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number were not.

As Judge Joseph R. Goodwin wrote . . .

Firearms with no serial number are just as “bearable” as the same firearm with a serial number, and there is no “common use” issue here as the presence or lack of a serial number makes no difference with respect to whether the type of weapon is commonly used. Finally, I can find no authority for the idea that a firearm without a serial number would meet the historical definition of a dangerous or unusual firearm.

The opinion applies Bruen in a straightforward manner. Noting that serial numbers on firearms were essentially unknown until the era of mass production, and laws requiring them and prohibiting their removal dated only to the 1968 Gun Control Act, the court ruled that 18 U.S.C. § 922(k) unconstitutionally infringes on Second Amendment rights.

While not before the court, the court seems to indicate that requiring a manufacturer to serialize the guns it puts into commerce was acceptable, as such did not infringe any right to keep or bear arms.

The court gave the following examples:

Assume, for example, that a law-abiding citizen purchases a firearm from a sporting goods store. At the time of the sale, that firearm complies with the commercial regulation that it bear a serial number. The law-abiding citizen takes the firearm home and removes the serial number. He has no ill intent and never takes any otherwise unlawful action with the firearm. Contrary to the Government’s argument that Section 922(k) does not amount to an “infringement” on the lawabiding citizen’s Second Amendment right, the practical application is that while the law-abiding citizen’s possession of the firearm was originally legal, it became illegal only because the serial number was removed. He could be prosecuted federally for his possession of it. That is the definition of an infringement on one’s right to possess a firearm.

Now, assume that the law-abiding citizen dies and leaves his gun collection to his law-abiding daughter. The daughter takes the firearms, the one with the removed serial number among them, to her home and displays them in her father’s memory. As it stands, Section 922(k) also makes her possession of the firearm illegal, despite the fact that it was legally purchased by her father and despite the fact that she was not the person who removed the serial number. These scenarios make clear that Section 922(k) is far more than the mere commercial regulation the Government claims it to be. Rather, it is a blatant prohibition on possession. The conduct prohibited by Section 922(k) falls squarely within the Second Amendment’s plain text.

Before you break out your Dremel tool and start de-identifying your gats, remember that this case isn’t over. While the decision may (and should) be upheld, until it is final and the feds formally acknowledge that Section 922(k) is kaput, you must recognize that it might not be – and once you’ve removed a serial number, you can’t put it back on.

Similarly, there are various state laws that prohibit removal of serial numbers or possession of unserialized guns. While these should eventually be struck down for the same reason, until they are, you would be playing with fire.

I read the court’s opinion as potentially blessing laws enhancing the criminal penalties for committing a crime with a firearm that has had its serial number removed . . . which would give a zealous prosecutor additional ammunition were you to use such a firearm in a Zimmerman or Rittenhouse type self-defense situation.

What are the implications of this ruling? If its logic and reasoning are followed by other courts – again, they should be, as it’s a straightforward application of Bruen  – then “ghost gun” bans, serialization requirements for homemade firearms, microstamping requirements, “smart gun” laws, and other recent ideas from the Shannon Wattses of the worlds should be toast.

So too should be things like magazine capacity limits and just about everything the California politicians have come up with in the past couple of decades.

80% percent arms GST-9: MOD1 pistol
Look Ma, no serial numbers! (JWT for TTAG)

Could it similarly be used to invalidate NFA regulations on suppressors, SBR’s, and SBS’s?  Perhaps, although the argument will be made that the NFA is just a tax. The NFA was structured that way because FDR’s DOJ was concerned that straightforward bans on those items would violate the Second Amendment. That issue should be addressed soon by Judge Pittman in the test case on the “Made in Texas” suppressor law.

Could the West Virginia ruling be used to attack the Hughes Amendment? Most definitely.

In the mean time, pass the popcorn. The Bruen show is still just getting started.

 

Disclaimer: While I am a lawyer, I’m not your lawyer. This essay is journalistic, and neither I, my firm, or TTAG is providing legal advice. Consult your own attorney if you have specific questions.

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111 COMMENTS

  1. Per the examples, I don’t know why anyone would want to remove a serial number but it certainly shouldn’t be a crime to do so. Seems that leaving it in place could both prove ownership and help with recovering lost or stolen firearms.

    • Government that doesn’t know who is armed is more afraid of it’s people. As a government worker I strongly recommend making damn sure we are afraid of you and understanding that we work to serve you and be useful.

      • “As a government worker I strongly recommend making damn sure we are afraid of you and understanding that we work to serve you and be useful.”

        Exactly.

        If it stands, (and I *really* hope it does), it destroys the ability for a tyrannical government to be able to register guns in the first place.

        Holy. Fvcking. Shit. The implications for freedom are mind-melting *staggering*. 🙂

        (I’m literally giggling as I type that out.)

        I can see 2 downsides.

        1 – Proving ownership in theft, since it will be the default action of thieves to destroy the numbers on guns they have stolen.

        2 – Warranty work on guns by a manufacturer.

        Having been in the pawn and gun business, i could see pawn shops offering very little money for guns with no numbers, so there’s a financial incentive for an owner to leave them on.

        It’s gonna be real interesting to see how the Texas “Made in Texas” suppressor law pans out, because that will get in the express line for the SCotUS.

        The Leftist Scum ™ are gonna actually flip the fvck out with what’s about to happen to their little Nazi state they were building… 🙂

        • “i could see pawn shops offering very little money for guns with no numbers“

          Why? If there’s no criminal liability for possessing a gun with obliterated serial numbers, then there would be no way to link it with any crime.

          Guns with no serial numbers would actually be more valuable, no tracing, no threat of liability because the gun was later identified as stolen.

          It will be a safer investment for the pawnshops, they would know that there was no way some owner would come in and claim his stolen property without identifying serial numbers.

          Pawnshops are required to record serial number and photo ID of those who come in to pawn firearms, and they report these numbers and names to the police department at the end of each day. That’s how many stolen guns are recovered, when people pawn a stolen gun, later that evening they get a visit from LEO.

          But not now, no way to claim your stolen guns from a pawnshop, and even if you thought it was yours sitting there in that glass case, no way to prove ownership to recover it from the owner.

          But really, go ahead with this particular brand of freedom.

          Obviously, those with large gun collections of expensive firearms have the most to lose from this situation, and now there’s a much greater incentive for thieves and burglars to look for an opportunity to clean you out. A few hours with a Dremel tool, a little acid etch, and all those MSRs will fetch a high price on the black market.

          Enjoy!

        • Voided warranty = less inherent value. Stolen property = less resale value. Unless pawn shops have changed in the last 10 years.

        • “Stolen property = less resale value“

          Correct, that’s exactly why the burglars and thieves will be drilling those numbers out as soon as they steal the gun from your car or home.

          No way to identify stolen guns means no recovery to the unfortunate owner, and no charge of receiving stolen property much less closing the burglary or robbery case regarding the firearm.

          Brilliant move to advance ‘law and order’.

        • Right and pawn shops totally love dealing with property without serial numbers. Fake Minor learn from fake Dacian.

        • MajorStupidity,

          Are you retarded???? You certainly sound like it. The ruling has NOTHING to do with the obligation of the manufacturer to serialized their firearms. NOTHING. It merely permits a gun OWNER, who chooses to do so, to deface or remove the serial number. OF COURSE a person with a large collection of expensive guns will not deface the serial numbers. As others have pointed out, the serial number is still necessary to obtain service or warranty work from the manufacturer. What it prevents is (i) tracing stolen guns (so you take that risk IF you choose to remove the serial number, and (ii) prevents the f***ing government from tracing or requiring registration of guns (hooray!!!).

          You seem to aspire to new heights of idiotic, Leftist/fascist @$$holery with every comment. You are a pathetic @$$clown of a fascist propagandist. Please go roger yourself, vigorously, you lying s***weasel.

        • Just sign your name with an engraving tool on your weapon and its parts to verify ownership. Easy peasy. Serial numbers on guns are for registration and confiscation.

    • It doesn’t matter that you don’t know why anyone would want to do that. The question at hand is whether it is unconstitutional to criminalize those that do.

      For the record, the feds have (even recently) charged civilians for cerakoting or painting over the serial number on their firearms. When this occurs, the serial number may no longer meet the statutory “depth” requirement, and thus is “obliterated”. It also speaks to home-made firearms as to whether they should require serial numbers.

    • EricB,

      There are multiple reasons why a person, who has no malicious intent and never uses their firearm maliciously, would want a firearm which has no serial number.

    • “I don’t know why anyone would want to remove a serial number but it certainly shouldn’t be a crime to do so.”

      Really? No shit?

      So if someone breaks in and cleans out all your guns, all they need to do is remove the serial numbers and they are good to go. No crime, no way to prove theft or possession of stolen property, nothing.

      That should really free up the black market gun supply… Brilliant!

      The POTG on TTAG are ncm.

        • Under the current development, there is no way to identify a stolen gun.

          So any criminal can possess a stolen gun, all he needs to do is make sure the serial numbers are obliterated.

          No more risk of getting caught with a stolen gun and charged with receiving stolen property. No more chance of getting caught with a stolen gun and having a burglary/robbery charge hung on your neck, just take the time to obliterate the number and you are good.

          This should really expand the market for stolen firearms, that should help the blackmarket economy significantly.

          Brilliant.

        • Finger prints, DNA, X-ray crystallography (super fancy fingerprints) distinctive cerakote/paint job, combination of known aftermarket parts, pictures kept by owner, inventory of what was stolen and see if combinations of recovered items are close. At this point I am pretty sure you are a fake Minor as this is absolutely pathetic as far as forced narratives go.

        • “Finger prints, DNA, X-ray crystallography (super fancy fingerprints) distinctive cerakote/paint job”

          Ephemera easily removed/altered.

          “combination of known aftermarket parts”

          Easily removed, ever seen somebody part out a hot rod or Harley?

          “pictures kept by owner”

          Hilarious, you claim they are pictures of ‘your’ guns…. And a quick change of stock, hand grips, accessories, etc. and it’s a totally different firearm.

          “inventory of what was stolen and see if combinations of recovered items are close.“

          Sorry, there’s no way that would fly in a court of law as proof of ownership.

          At this point I am pretty sure you are a fake SAFEupskirtFML as this is absolutely pathetic as far as forced narratives go.

        • LOL ok fake Minor if all you have left in the face of reality is contrarianism then you are on the right track but you need more cherry picked exceptions to the rule and contrived misrepresented situations to present as facts to fully encapsulate a Minor post. Getting better though 🙂

        • miner, miner, miner. We keep our serial numbers and all the ss/antifa
          trooper that steals them has to do is remove the numbers himself. Either way the numbers are gone. As for insentive to steal a collection? Valuable items are always under threat of theft.

          You’re just freaking out because you’ve realized your side has lost.

        • MajorStupidity,

          And you CONTINUE to be a stupid @$$clown, you dolt. CRIMINALS ALREADY deface the serial numbers on guns, for exactly that reason. Do you HONESTLY contend that a clown willing to commit burglary and grand theft by stealing a firearm is suddenly going to go, “OH, NOES!!! i can’t remove the serial number, that would be illegal!” Are you REALLY that stupid?????

          Rhetorical question – you’re stupid enough to be a Leftist/fascist, so nothing is too stupid for you. Did your parents have any children that lived?

        • “CRIMINALS ALREADY deface the serial numbers on guns, for exactly that reason“

          Criminals are removing the serial number in order to not be charged with whatever crimes were associated with the acquisition of that firearm.

          Many on this list claim they’re going to remove all their serial numbers, please do.

          The criminals realize you will be saving them the time and trouble of doing so.

          “OH, NOES!!!“

          “NOES“?

          So English isn’t your first language, interesting.

        • miner? Before they actually break into a place the criminals will know that guns with no serial numbers are there?

          You really have gone off the tracks. does your responsible adult/caregiver/social worker realize you’ve had a break with reality?

        • “Before they actually break into a place the criminals will know that guns with no serial numbers are there?“

          Of course not.

          They will just be pleasantly surprised when they discover the Trump Tacticool patriot prayer warrior has already obliterated the gun’s serial numbers after they steal them.

        • “Under the current development, there is no way to identify a stolen gun.”

          Every gun not handled with kid gloves collects dings and scrapes in use.

          Pictures showing those marks is proof of ownership, provided the owner took those pics.

          You really are a special kind of stupid, ‘minor’… 🙂

        • MajorStupidity,

          “So English isn’t your first language, interesting.”

          OOOH!!! Sick burn, bro!!! . . . not.

          “The criminals realize you will be saving them the time and trouble of doing so.”

          Save them five minutes and the use of a borrowed or stolen Dremel tool – wow, I bet that part is a HUGE impediment to thieves. “I’m not going to break in and burgle that house; I hear he doesn’t remove the serial numbers from his guns!! ”

          Your (already below-room-temperature) IQ continues to lose points by the day. Get back to us in a few weeks, and let us know if you have achieved negative IQ. We believe in you; you can do it!!

          Oh, even better!!! Wait until after Nov. 8, and then you can tell us how stupid you are AND how butthurt you are, all at the same time.

          You remain too stupid to insult.

      • Dear miner,

        I would rather risk criminals stealing my firearms, removing the serial numbers, and getting good prices at the pawn shop than have the Democrats/government have a giant list of guns owners and their firearms to do with whatever they please.

  2. Owning and carrying a firearm is not the crime. Nobody should ever be charged with a crime concerning simply carrying a gun. Police should not even have the right to interact with you if all you’re doing is carrying a gun. Simple possession of a firearm is not a crime. It is a human and civil right.

    Murder is illegal. Robbery is illegal. Me having a wrench on me does not make me a mechanic. Having a gun does not make me a criminal.

    • True enough.
      There are some folks “out there” who carry a big wrench and use it as a lethal weapon, thus becoming felons, so does my carrying one and using it to fix cars and equipment make ME a felon, too?
      Its never the tool, whatever it is, its always the guy who has it in his hands.

      Never the hardware, always the software.

        • Geoff:
          “A 7-D-cell MagLight makes a dandy billy-club…”
          There were three cops in Detroit in November of 1992 who got significant prison time for using one of those on a miscreant. The one cop said that the miscreant was reaching for his pistol. The guy’s name was Malice Green (no kidding), and he died from the blow to his head.
          Well, that’s the way I remember it after all these years, but this article claims otherwise.
          https://allthatsinteresting.com/malice-green
          My point is that getting hit on the head with a blunt instrument can get you dead despite the way it’s depicted in the movies.

    • Motor vehicles are involved in deaths just as often as firearms. If we’re going to stop everyone with a firearm to check their papers because of the potential deaths then we should also be stopping every driver to check their papers. Constant checkpoints at every intersection. How else would we know if the driver is prohibited or unstable or intoxicated?

      I wish we could all be rigidly consistent for just one day to experience the full scope of our irrational logic and selective enforcement schemes.

      • Selective enforcement of the laws by police is the means for ALL political corruption. Police could change this overnight, but they won’t. Because they’re cowardly, corrupt oath breakers that only want power and to be above the law. Yes, ALL police. Disagree? Show me 1 cop willing to enforce ALL laws on his buddies and bosses. You can’t, none exist.

        • You have a good point. I was related to 2 of them so I know how the system works at least where these guys worked.

  3. The prohibition against felons owning firearms is going to go down in flames too. Do the crime, serve the time, upon release, your rights are restored. That’s how it should be.

    • I foresee a lot of arguments that probation/parole supervision = still no guns and a lot of long term felonies on such release to test that (pretty much already the case here in NY)

      • Then 2A is still a second class right.

        If these prior felons, reinserted back into society, can run for office, vote, practice religion, have the presumption of innocence on any future charge, as well as their ability to be secure in their possessions, etc, then explain, dear Government, why not the ability to Keep and Bear Arms, For Any (presumptively) Lawful Purposes?

    • I respectfully disagree. Just because society doesn’t believe that all and every crime is deserving of life imprisonment it does not follow that the released offender is miraculously a changed person that is entitled to the same level of trust and privilege as non felons. Society has learned to its regret about the criminal’s character defects and it’s stupidity to expect it to throw that knowledge out the window on the hope that the felon has been rehabilitated.

      The observation about the constitution not being a suicide pact comes to mind.

      • I agree with everything you wrote here except the “suicide pact” quote.

        Ancient Roman philosophers espoused the opposite mindset, “Fiat justitia, pereat mundus” (let justice be done, though the world should perish / do what’s right even if there are negative consequences).

        During the Enlightenment, a wise man said “The world will not perish for the want of rogues” – i.e. true justice has no [undeserved] negative consequences.

        Constitutional rights are absolute in the context the Founders understood and intended i.e. until and unless forfeited by violating just laws / the rights of others. Absolute justice (treating everyone as he deserves to be treated according to his choices) only becomes suicidal when revisionists attempt to combine it with the absolute falsehood of “equality” (treating everyone the same regardless of choices).

  4. Perhaps I’m a bit more cynical than the author here.

    First, Goodwin is a Clinton appointee. That tells us a lot.

    Then, if you read through the opinion, there are hints that this may be more of a hyperbolic plea to his Democrat followers meant to inspire more drastic measures, such as court-packing, or at a minimum, to bolster support for the next Democrat nominee for President.

    Consider the language chosen here. These are not the words of a true supporter of the Second Amendment, these are word of someone desperately trying to convince an audience that Bruen “broke it,” and now it needs to be fixed!

    “Any modern regulation that does not comport with the historical understanding of the right is to be deemed unconstitutional, regardless of how desirable or important that regulation may be in our modern society.”

    “While I recognize there is an argument, not made by the Government here, that firearms with an obliterated serial number are likely to be used in violent crime and therefore a prohibition on their possession is desirable, that argument is the exact type of means-end reasoning the Supreme Court has forbidden me from considering.”

    We can celebrate the short win in this opinion, but have no doubt, despite the short term effect here, they are in this for the long haul. This ruling is just one more piece of their plan.

    • “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” It always has been so.

      Bruen didn’t magically convert anti-2A judges into true believers. All we can reasonably ask is that anti-2A judges *follow* Bruen. Expecting that they will *like* doing so is unrealistic.

      That Judge Goodwin did his job and followed the law honestly, despite the fact he doesn’t like it, it to be appreciated — there are plenty of Obama and Biden appointees who would have done all sorts of contortions to avoid doing so, and/or evaded the issue by sitting on the case for as long as possible. (The latter is the Ninth Circuit’s 2A dodge du jour.)

      • Agree. But we need to keep a constant eye out, and then call these activist judges out for their transparent attempts to ridicule Bruen.

        As I said, this is a plea for the gun-haters to rally to whatever cause they can contrive that will eventually overturn it.

        They know they lost this round, but they are right back in the game looking to win the next.

  5. I read that another part of a ruling that i believe was the N Y case states that where the public congregates is a public space even though it may be privately owned. This would be the mall or WalMart for example. This would help do away with these prohibitions against carrying.

  6. The ruling, if finalized, may help void restrictions placed on 80% receivers. And there are ways for some ground away numbers to be made visible. Serial numbers are not the go to for who done it, more important are witnesses, DNA, fingerprints, video, etc.

    Reality is…When it comes to the demise of the 1968 Gun Control Act the ruling amounts to a gnat fart in a gymnasium.

    • While I am no fan of 80% receiver laws, I’m not sure that the ruling (or Bruen, for that matter) really affects them. As the judge alluded to in his ruling, regulations on manufacturing and putting guns into commerce (so long as those laws are used as a pretext for effectively banning them) has a much more attenuated link to 2A rights.

      You’re not going to see the ’68 GCA declared unconstitutional in one go. It’s going to have to be chipped away bit by bit, with each chip removed making it easier to remove the next one.

      Getting rid of the ’68 GCA’s regulations on *commerce* (e.g., FFL licensure, non-exempt transfers having to go thru FFL’s, serialization requirements on manufacturers, recordkeeping requirements, etc.) are going to be an especially heavy lift. Some of them (e.g., the prohibition on FFL’s directly selling handguns to an individual who does not reside in the same state) likely will successfully challenged. But short of SCOTUS overruling Wickard I suspect most of them will survive.

      • I totally disagree…68 GCA will never be removed by chipping simply because every tit for tat chip gets plastered over. I.E. 16 Rinos recently plastered over gains made.

        A non finalized ruling concerning serial numbers doesn’t chip away anything especially what knee jerk Rinos helped to do and will do again and again.

        The only way to rid America of the 1968 Gun Control Act is to yank it out by its roots. Grounds for that is History clearly Confirms the roots of Gun Control are in racism and genocide. History shows to argue in the defense of Gun Control is to argue in defense of slave shacks, chains, whips, nooses, concentration camps, gas chambers, etc.

        History Confirms where Gun Control has been and where Gun Control leads to. Unless we heed the warning and go after the head of the snake history will repeat itself.

        • “The only way to rid America of the 1968 Gun Control Act is to yank it out by its roots“

          From Ronald Reagan signing the Mulford act, the precursor of the GCA 1968, to Richard Nixon’s attempts to ban all handguns, the roots of gun control are Republican.

          “I don’t know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house,” Nixon said in a taped conversation with aides. “The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth.” He asked why “can’t we go after handguns, period?”

          Nixon went on: “I know the rifle association will be against it, the gun makers will be against it.” But “people should not have handguns.” He laced his comments with obscenities, as was typical.“

          https://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/gun-control-richard-nixon-wished-for-total-handgun-ban-88686.html?_amp=true

        • miner. Gun control only started with Ray gun and Nixon? None of that stuff in the south by the dems counts?

          You really are losing your mind.

        • jwm,

          MajorStupidity has no mind to lose. I once believed he was semi-intelligent, just completely wrong-headed. That’s what I get for extending the benefit of the doubt. He’s a complete @$$clown of a brainless Leftist/fascist idiot. He is a living embodiment of Ronnie’s observation that “It’s not that our liberal friends are ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” 95% of what MajorStupidity THINKS he knows is utter horseshit.

        • jwm,

          Miner vacillates between claiming that gun control is good and everyone should support Dems because they’re the party doing the gun control…. to claiming that Republicans don’t know that all gun control comes from Republicans.

          Miner is a mentally handicapped child who is literally incapable of understanding his own hypocrisy, double standards, and contradictory statements. Or he’s actually a pro gun guy who’s just pretending to be the dumbest person alive to drive gun owners together. I haven’t decided which.

    • {Gun serial numbers}

      “And there are ways for some ground away numbers to be made visible.”

      If you keep drilling “until you see daylight”, IE, all the way through the metal to the other side, you cannot recover the numbers. They are *gone* forever.

      What that also means is, if they stamp the numbers on the barrel, you will destroy the integrity of barrel to contain the pressure needed to push the bullet down and out of the barrel before you can destroy the number…

      • Geoff,

        Absolutely untrue. The process of inscribing the numbers is done several ways, but ANY of them alter the crystal structure of the underlying metal, in the shape of the number inscribed. A good crime lab can “extract” that pattern with various tools. It is certainly not 100%, but the FBI has had a pretty good track record of “recovering” serial numbers that have been defaced or removed. Hey, as bad as the Fibbies are, credit where credit is due, their crime lab is pretty good.

        • When there is still metal to be tested all kinds of fun things can be done. If I am reading Geoff correctly I think he means dremeling/drilling all the way through the metal leaving a empty slot where there used to be a serial number which depending on location can have a detriment on structural stability or just be a lightening cut. Either way if there is no metal present under where the serial number used to be any longer any method relying on the crystal structure of the metal altered by a press/stamp is simply no longer present to be tested. Not to say there couldn’t be secondary serial numbers that are not meant to be seen without equipment but I doubt that would be cost effective outside of oddball government/military contracts.

        • “…but ANY of them alter the crystal structure of the underlying metal, in the shape of the number inscribed.”

          If there is no metal remaining below the number (drilling until daylight is showing), there is nothing to be recovered.

          It’s a literal example of the concept of “You can’t get blood from a rock”.

          Are you aware of a method to reconstitute metal shavings to the point a number can be seen again?

          Especially if they were most likely swept onto a floor or vacuumed up an indefinite period of time in the past?

        • Geoff,

          Since most serial numbers are on the slide, frame, and/of backstrap, that is a . . . suboptimal solution. Any “solution” that requires removal of an entire section of the metal frame of a gun is something that would only be essayed by either a particularly stupid thief, or dacian the demented.

          Few guns, even ones recovered from arrested criminals, are subjected to that level of crime lab work. Most “defaced” serial numbers are just that, defaced. Scratched, filed, or Dremel tooled until they cannot be deciphered by visual means. And that works for most cases. If the cops really get their shorts in a bunch, of if the Fibbies get involved, there are many tools that allow the metal to be analyzed – X-ray, fluoroscope, some staining procedures, “Magnaflux”, I’ve read about experiments with MRI. A defaced or “removed” serial number is NOT gone, short of (as you suggested) removing that entire section of metal . . . which exactly no one does. Find me a published report of a defaced or “removed” serial number that involved the complete removal of the metal section the serial number was imprinted on, because I’ve never seen such a report.

      • Damn the idea has come a long way from dripping some acid on the area and having a camera ready to get as many pictures as you could to try figuring out the number from what you see in the foam. Do those methods work with the laser engraved serials as well or just the stamped/pressed?

        • If the crystalline structure of the metal was never physically altered by being impacted, hit, or stamped, I seriously doubt a number could be recovered.

          That being said, if it could, a serious crime lab like the FBI has would likely know of a method…

  7. While this has a long way to go I think it is a great start.
    I am also happy this may cause the forced serialization of home built firearms to be blown away pin intended, since home built firearms have no numbers to begin with and are not commercially produced.
    The CA magazine ban is already on the appeal route and I hope we get another freedom week with the tossing of the bribery list errr I mean safe handgun roster.
    We also need to take head on the assault weapons bans. Those should be easy to overturn if strict scrutiny is applied.

    • FPC and Cali filed their supplemental briefs yesterday in the AWB case pending before Judge Benitez. Responsive briefs are due Friday after next.

      At that point, I think Benitez will rule, “I already covered this — California didn’t prove any evidence of historical analogues at the trial, and they don’t get another bite at the apple. Judgement for plaintiff, injunction imposed, no stay pending appeal, and Bonta is sent to bed with no supper.”

      The other interesting development is that the FPC has filed a notice of related case, regarding its recently-filed challenge to CA’s post-Bruen petulance (same plaintiff and defendants). Normally, in federal court, when you have two cases in the same district between the same parties, the latter-filed case gets transferred to the docket of the judge handling the earlier-filed case (this prevents people playing games by trying to get around adverse rulings by filing new lawsuits and hoping a different judge will give you a better ruling). Needless to say, California DoJ is having kittens over the prospect of Benitez getting this second case as well.

      • “Normally, in federal court, when you have two cases in the same district between the same parties, the latter-filed case gets transferred to the docket of the judge handling the earlier-filed case (this prevents people playing games by trying to get around adverse rulings by filing new lawsuits and hoping a different judge will give you a better ruling)”

        You are absolutely correct, this is why the SCROTUS smacked down Donald Trump’s attempt to reverse the 11th circuit’s overruling of trump’s judge shopping expedition to Judge Cannon’s courtroom.

        This certainly is an interesting time for the legal profession…

        • Your knowledge of federal civil procedure appears to be about the same as your knowledge of guns — paltry and selective. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

          The “related case” practices ALLOW — not require — the judges assigned the related cases to confer and decide whether to put all the cases under the authority of the first -filed case. As a matter of custom, that usually occurs, but not always. The mere fact that cases are related doesn’t create any legal right or obligation to have everything under the judge in the first filed case.

        • LKB,

          Correct (of course, you’re disagreeing with MajorStupidity), but more can be said. Cases are “consolidated” for the convenience of the COURT, not be right of the parties (exception would be where two cases involve an overlapping factual basis, where the courts want to avoid disparate rulings on the underlying facts).

          MajorStupidity’s occasional forays into judicial analysis are always a hoot. He is a TRUE “sophomore” (a “wise fool” – otherwise known as an “educated” idiot) – so little of what he “knows” bears any relationship to reality. But, although he is often (always??) wrong, he is NEVER uncertain.

  8. Looks like what we are going to see is a bit by bit piecemeal destruction of all the crap the anti-gun leftists have foisted on us since FDR took office. Unfortunately it looks like it is going to take a decade to make it happen. Hopefully the Republicans can take back the Senate next month to prevent the meat puppet from appointing any more leftist judges.

    • It also means this only happens as long as we control the high Court.

      Just one Leftist Scum ™ SCotUS majority (potentially via a desperate court-packing) can *erase* these gains forever. (Well, at least as long as we’re alive, anyways)…

  9. It’s falling faster than their polling numbers. Democrats and their attempts at wholesale destruction of Americans right to Keep and Bare Arms is finally crumbling around them. Blatantly unconstitutional laws, written by people who should be in jail themselves can no longer proliferate under the Supreme Courts opinion. Next on the agenda is to dismantle the ATF, and their unconstitutional attacks on law abiding citizens to push their partisan agendas.

  10. Dremel was whirring at high speed in one hand and gunm in the other. Then I got to the paragraph “Before you break out your Dremel tool….” Powering down and slinking back into a hollow log.

  11. “invalidate NFA regulations on suppressors, SBR’s, and SBS’s”

    Okay, that was my next question. This is an important topic right now considering the coming crack down on pistol braces. The ATF is asking people to destroy their brace if they don’t register it.

    • “The ATF is asking people to destroy their brace if they don’t register it.”

      If made of plastic, it’s very difficult to sensed by a metal detector. Even more so if buried in the woods some distance away… 🙂

  12. Could [Bruen decision] similarly be used to invalidate NFA regulations on suppressors, SBR’s, and SBS’s? Perhaps, although the argument will be made that the NFA is just a tax.

    And that has to be considered the exact equivalent to a poll tax and, therefore, struck down.

    If we cannot be taxed on our right to vote–and surely we cannot be taxed on our right to exercise free speech–then we cannot be taxed on our Constitutionally enumerated and inalienable right to keep and bear arms.

    Speaking of, once a court case strikes down taxes on firearm sales, shouldn’t that also strike down Pittman-Robertson Act taxes as well?

  13. Come and get it, supper’s ready. Wow, just how much lead can you eat? Don’t worry I have a big plenty! Repent he’s coming soon!

    • “Repent he’s coming soon!“

      No, I think he’s just breathing heavy because he’s shocked at the cruelty and anger of his followers.

      • How exactly is it supposed to be cruel to defend yourself? If you aren’t coming to leave me unarmed or to do me harm, you don’t get the hot lead entree.

  14. “Firearms with no serial number are just as “bearable”‘
    The left has been playing games with “militia” and “infringe” too long and it is refreshing to see their game turned on them via this judge’s definition of “bearable”.

  15. Good. If the government wants to put serial numbers on government guns, such as military or police firearms more power to them. No civilian should be required to put a serial number on any gun.

    The only purpose for the government to require a serial number, on a firearm is for tracking purposes that will eventually lead to the confiscation of weapons.

    • I would argue that we’d at least want lot #s on them for recalls. Almost all MFGs will want them for warranty purposes in modern times.

      Now then, paperwork on transactions of firearm SNs is another matter entirely.

  16. A lot of points have to changed as

    1.) Removing AOW, SBR/SBS, Silencer and (BigBore) Destructive Device from the nfa (next step remove the ATF complete)
    2.) Remove the Felony Flatrate Ban from 1965 and let s state choose on violence felons (non violence should always have full rights as voting too)
    3.) ReOpen the Full Auto Register (closed 1986)
    4.) Remove any goverment created mandatory “no gun zone” as the “gun free school zone act and always say it s legal to store an gun locked in your car, ebike ect compartment in a “no gun zone” parking place
    5.) Ban any State issued “Assault Weapon” Bans

    and and and

    lot of work too do

  17. Really starting to get annoyed by the amount of my posts that are getting black holed after posting.

    Especially those disproving certain scummy trolls wrong.

    • Bush league trolls at the moment as most of the skilled ones are busy pushing the Ukraine/nukes aint so bad/Vax isn’t a scam narratives on overdrive currently. Also may be an element of “fuck what now” as the rulings come in even less in their favor.

  18. I can have alphabet soup but I can’t have cereal numbers.
    I’ve three firegunms that were recovered from criminals thanx to their negligence in removing the serial numbers. Had the numbers been removed they would probably be in some policeman gunm collection.
    Besides the Supreme Court might say it’s okay but some big city will just tell the Supreme Court of The United States of America to take a flying fck because your laws don’t apply to us.

  19. The serial number thing is good news, though the felon thing is a problem. Requiring people be “peaceable” was in early drafts of the Second Amendment and intentionally, deliberately and explicitly removed from the final version. Under Gage, everyone from Private Martin to General Washington was a felon that needed to be disarmed.

  20. Perhaps this latest ruling, should it carry through the many appeals, will also torpedo the UN’s current attempt to create serial numbers on every ammunition projectile and casing via micro sampling. Led by Germany, this treaty proposal is gaining favor in the EU and South/Latin America.

    It seems these diplomats are applying the Mt Everest rule to ammo. Because it’s there, or in this case, because it’s possible. Taken to its logical conclusion, such an edict/treaty would mark the end of legal handloading.

    Again, I propose the best way to deal with these encroachments and usurpations is to toss all of the present regime. As the “Pro Choice” ilk are now discovering via Dobbs, a court ruling is not legislation. We must not line up or hide behind some black robed elitist or POTUS Executive Order. Our system allows for, and requires actual legislation by the Congress, as well as a signature by the President.

    • The reasoning on this opinion (straightforward application of the Bruen test) should indeed kill microstamping laws, smart gun edicts, and probably the CA roster of allowed guns.

      One picky law nerd nit: under Missouri v. Holland, Senate-ratified international treaties effectively amend the constitution, as many legal scholars have pointed out over the years. (Case involved the Migratory Waterfowl Treaty, which was challenged as violating state sovereignty under the constitution. SCOTUS ruled that under the treaty clause, once a treaty is ratified, neither it nor any implementing legislation can be challenged in court. Opinion (by Holmes) was also the source of the concept of a “Living Constitution.”)

      Thus, in theory, were the US to join such a goofball microstamping treaty (or a treaty requiring member nations to ban/severely restrict civilian possession of small arms) **and the Senate ratified it by 2/3ds vote,** the not-entirely-frivolous lawyers’ argument would be that the treaty effectively supersedes the 2A.

      Now, I suspect that the current Court would almost certainly say, “if that’s what Missouri v. Holland holds, it is overruled.” (An attempt to eviscerate a constitutional right via treaty would also likely provoke a constitutional crisis.) But know that the anti-2A forces are well-aware of this potential wire-around and have talked for years about using it, and so we always must watch for this maneuver.

      As I mentioned before, eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty.

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