Saturday, July 22, 2023

TFA Allies with GOA in Supreme Court Battle Over Bump-Stock Prohibition


The Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) united with Gun Owners of America, Inc., among other groups, on July 20, 2023, presenting an amicus brief ("friend of the court") endorsing a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari (a request for the Court to accept the appeal) in the case of Guedes et al. vs. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, et al., Supreme Court No: 22-1222. (The TFA's brief can be found in the comprehensive report on their website)

Following the tragic shooting event in Las Vegas in 2017, then President Donald Trump urged the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to impose a ban on a firearm accessory popularly known as a "bump-stock". Even though the ATF had previously consistently ruled that these accessories did not transform a semi-automatic firearm into a machine gun, in the aftermath of this incident, the ATF deviated from its prior stance and declared that these devices do indeed convert semi-automatic firearms into machineguns. Notwithstanding, the Congressional definition of a machine gun remains unchanged since it was first defined in the National Firearms Act in 1934.

At the crux of this case lies the interpretation of the term "machinegun", as established by Congress in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b). In 2018, the ATF issued regulations that expanded the interpretation of "machinegun" to include, for the first time, accessories referred to as non-mechanical bump stocks. When this interpretation was contested nationwide in federal courts, the ruling often received approval from the district and appellate courts. Therefore, the Supreme Court faces the following questions in the petition:

(1) Does the "machinegun" definition in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b) encompass non-mechanical bump stocks?

(2) If the "machinegun" definition in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b) is ambiguous, should the ambiguity be interpreted against the Government?

In the GOA/TFA amicus brief, we contend that the Congressional definition of a machinegun cannot include bump stocks and, as a result, the ATF's Rule contradicts constitutional and statutory language. We also highlight that currently, the ATF's bump stock rule is unenforceable in the Sixth Circuit, which includes Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan.

The Tennessee Firearms Association recognizes the regrettable necessity of investing in lawsuits and appellate advocacy as Tennessee isn't ardently defending our constitutional rights, especially when faced with a governor advocating for proposed Red Flag laws. Moreover, this legal action is imperative because even with Republicans in control of Congress, they have consistently failed to restrain the ATF, cut its funding or simply uphold the Second Amendment’s “shall not be infringed” clause and abolish any federal agency’s authority to regulate the rights of Americans to purchase, own, possess, make, use, sell or practice with firearms.

If you're a TFA member and back this legal action, please consider contributing voluntary donations to support the work. If you're not yet a member but agree with our cause, join us today and we will also invite you to consider voluntary donations for litigation.

Your participation is crucial in opposing Bill Lee’s proposed Red Flag legislation.

Act now and assist the TFALAC (a state political action committee) in raising funds for its #RedFlagDown initiative to create radio ads, social media campaigns, and other promotional efforts to oppose Bill Lee’s assertion that the state of Tennessee should disarm law-abiding gun owners in violation of the Constitution.

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