Hollis, Again

July 7th, 2016

Less than two years ago, a guy named Jay Hollis brought a case to the Texas District Court challenging several aspects of the 1934 National Firearms Act and 1968 Gun Control Act. Long story short, he wanted to build a machine gun for personal use, and the ATF said no. He then filed a rambling, poorly argued case, despite knowing that his actions were illegal before he began this whole endeavor.

I predicted then that it would fail on the District level.  I was correct.  I predicted he would appeal to the 5th Circuit, where he would also lose.  …

Hollis v. Holder

November 8th, 2014

A guy named Jay Aubrey Isaac Hollis has started a crowdfunding campaign. His goal is to bring litigation against Attorney General Holder on the grounds that the National Firearms Act and 1986 Hughes Amendment are unconstitutional.

In short, he submitted a Form 1 to the BATFE for approval to build a machine gun for personal use, even though it's illegal for him to do so. Somewhere along the line, somebody got their wires crossed, and it was approved. The BATFE recognized the error and revoked their approval the same day.

Mr. Hollis seems to think this is his big Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment, and he's presenting a batch of Hail Mary passes to the Northern District court in Texas. Seriously, this is what he asks for in the opening pages:

overturning Wickard v. Filburn
declaring "unjust taking" under the 5th Amendment because an erroneous approval was reversed
applying strict scrutiny to all matters involving the 2nd Amendment, despite the fact that most Circuit courts have rejected the idea
revisiting the legislative process behind the passage of the Hughes Amendment

This guy is going to crash and burn in oral arguments, and we'll all suffer for it. Whatever you do, don't encourage him.

ATF Pushing Ahead with 41P

September 15th, 2014

A year ago, the President advanced a number of regulatory proposals on gun control. One of the more esoteric ones involved changing the way trusts are handled in regards to NFA firearms.

The original action date was to have been last June, but the BATFE was deluged with comments. While action appeared to have been pushed back to 2015, the Bureau has recently published a draft form [pdf].

Essentially, any "responsible party" of a trust or corporation must now file this form and seek approval from local law enforcement. That approval is impossible to obtain in many areas.

The …

41P on Hold for Now

January 15th, 2014

The American Silencer Association met with the ATF yesterday, and this is what we know about the proposed rule change:

There were 9500 comments, 1000 of which were rejected for "vulgarity, anonymity, or non-applicability." (Thanks for the Obama Kenya Nazi thing, Joe Bob)
The ATF has to respond to every comment in writing. This means, even if they decide to go ahead with the rule change, it will be at least six months to a year before it takes effect.
We don't know if Forms 1 and 4 already in process will be affected. Based on history, the ASA …

Solvent Traps

September 20th, 2013

Over the last few months, folks have been selling so-called "solvent trap adapters" on the internet. They're threaded dongles that allow the user to attach a commercial oil filter to the barrel of a gun. They're all over Amazon and eBay.

The folks marketing them claim they're for cleaning. The rest of us know they're a way of making improvised silencers. They're really only solvent traps if you say the phrase while making those air quotes with your fingers.

Sure, they can certainly be used to catch errant patches and other funk while cleaning, but so can a Ziploc bag and rubber bands. The …

Proposed Changes to NFA Rules

September 8th, 2013

One of the "executive actions" the President proposed last month has been submitted to the Federal Register as a rules change proposal. It involves changing the way NFA items are registered to trusts.

When paying the tax and registering an NFA weapon, one can register it to himself as an individual. However, if he wants to grant possession to someone else, it has to be transferred again, thus incurring another round of paperwork, delay, and remuneration to the ATF. He also has to secure approval from his local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO), usually a sheriff or police chief. Such approval is at the discretion of the officer, and many choose not to grant it.

The alternative is to register the weapon to a trust. In that case, local law enforcement need not be involved, and other parties may be granted access to the weapon by simply adding them as trustees. Recently, we've been expected to believe that this is an easy and surefire method for felons to gain access to such weapons.

This makes little sense. By the administration's logic, felons are inclined and motivated to,

seek out an attorney and pay hundreds of dollars to establish a trust,
pay significant premiums for heavily regulated weapons,
submit the proper paperwork for approval,
pay a $200 tax, and
wait 6-8 months for processing.

If this ever happens, I submit that those who propose making things harder prove it. I don't expect a response.

On to the specifics. The actual petition is here. I'll warn that it's not an easy read.

Papiere, Bitte

March 10th, 2013

Owning NFA items such as suppressors and machine guns can be a tricky proposition. They're expensive, they're subject to a $200 tax and a long approval process, and they're illegal in Georgia unless you can prove otherwise.

Both the Form 4 and the ATF's own opinion imply that proof of registration must be provided to an officer of the ATF upon request. No other parties are mentioned, so many owners assume the ATF are the only folks who have a right to demand it.

However, most states have their own spin on this. According to Georgia Code …

Wallet Holsters

May 27th, 2012

NFA Wallet Holster

Somebody at the local gun shows has been selling these things, and it could create a potential problem for the unwary buyer. You see, that's not an ordinary pocket holster. Thanks to the National Firearms Act of 1934, it's been imbued with special powers necessitating registration and taxation.

What makes it different? It's designed so that the gun can be fired without removing it from the holster. As such, it falls under the same restrictions as cane guns, Stinger pens, and the infamous H&K MP5 briefcase. Walking around with your gun in one of these is treated with the same gravity as owning an unregistered machine gun.

I'm not being snarky here. True, you've known me to be facetious in the past. It's a personality quirk of mine, but I am not being a snickerpuss here.

Time for another amnesty?

May 16th, 2009

So, the debate around Coburn's amendment to the Credit Card Holder's Bill of Rights brings up several possibilities.

The one I've heard most of is reversing the Hughes Amendment to the FOPA. If you're unfamiliar with it, I suggest reading up here. It's a long but enlightening read.

The Hughes Amendment made it "unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun except in the case of a machinegun that was lawfully possessed before the date of enactment." In plain terms, civilians cannot procure machineguns made after 1986.

The primary effect was to reduce the supply to a pre-existing pool of weapons, therefore raising prices through the roof. You want a machinegun? Find someone who already owns one and convince them to sell it to you. They can ask pretty much whatever they want.

Like many people, I'd like to see the Hughes Amendment repealed, but I know that the chances of such a thing are pretty much nil.

I'll defer to Alan Gura on this one:

The solution to 922(o) will have to be political in the end. The fact is, outside the gun community, the concept of privately owned machine guns is intolerable to American society and 100% of all federal judges. If I had suggested in any way — including, by being evasive and indirect and fudging the answer — that machine guns are the next case and this is the path to dumping 922(o) — I'd have instantly lost all 9 justices. Even Scalia.

In short, it ain't gonna happen.

Some days, I'm proud of my government.

February 17th, 2009

Georgia has joined Arizona, California, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Washington in reaffirming her sovereignty. As many as 29 states are expected to pass similar resolutions this year.

Why is this such a big deal? Because the Federal government has trampled all over the Tenth Amendment and forgotten its place. In case you slept through civics class (or if they don't teach it anymore), the Tenth Amendment reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The whole purpose of the this amendment was to structure Federalism with a slant towards the States. The Federal government is supposed to be the agent of the States, and therefore subordinate to them.

Of course, it doesn't seem to work that way anymore, does it?