U.S. Machine Gun Ban Upheld by 3rd Circuit

     (CN) — Tossing a challenge Wednesday over one man’s homemade M-16, the Third Circuit said the Second Amendment does not protect possession of machine guns.
     Ryan Watson formed the Watson Family Gun trust to win government permission to make and register an M-16-style machine gun.
     Though the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives initially approved Watson’s 2014 application, and accepted his $200 tax, it changed its mind a month later.
     Watson says William Boyle III, head of the National Firearms Act Branch of the ATF, wrote to Watson the trust Watson had formed did not shield him from the ban against machine guns under the Gun Control Act.
     Though Watson surrendered his weapon to the government, he filed a federal complaint that November, contesting the ATF’s application of the Gun Control Act, which bans the sale and manufacture of any machine gun made after May 19, 1986.
     Noting that the statute makes no mention of “unincorporated trusts,” Watson said since the law does not apply to his weapon.
     The ATF’s Boyle had shot this theory down, as did a federal judge who dismissed Watson’s suit.
     A three-judge panel of the Third Circuit in Philadelphia affirmed Wednesday.
     “The Second Amendment does not protect the possession of machine guns,” said U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson, sitting by designation from the District of New Jersey.
     Thompson emphasized the Supreme Court’s clear finding in Heller v. District of Columbia that the government may ban the possession of certain kinds of “dangerous and unusual” weapons.
     “Since the Supreme Court’s opinion in Heller, courts nationwide have debated the parameters of that decision, and the extent to which government regulation may be reconciled with the Second Amendment,” Thompson wrote. “However, on at least one issue the courts are in agreement: governments may restrict the possession of machine guns. This finding follows from prior caselaw and the plain language provided by the Supreme Court. We decline to depart from this standard today.”

%d bloggers like this: