Jay Hollis Vs. Eric Holder

    When we say no politics here on TFB we mean that we guarantee when you come here, rather than be bombarded with political opinions or propaganda you will get nothing but firearm related information and the best media coverage we can provide. However, what we will do is follow interesting developments in  litigation and legal questions that are pertinent to our great pastime.

    We live in an interesting time. While machine guns are not illegal in the USA and never have been, the registry has been closed since 1986. The United States government has approved a form 1 (application to make and register a new NFA firearm) by a gentlemen submitting through a trust and he is now filing suit and accepting donations (now with over $40,000!).

    Anyways, Mr. Hollis has now issued his complaint and the litigation process begins. You may read the complaint here. A summons has also been issued to Attorney General Eric Holder.

    As a machine gun enthusiast I have been following all of this pretty closely in hopes that someday we can all compete in subgun matches and purchase/build fully automatic firearms at reasonable a cost.

    I read through the 28 page complaint this weekend and here are the cliffs:

    • Hollis and his legal team assert that there is a de facto ban on machine guns in the USA
    • The argument made includes violating the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and the United States Constitution’s principles by arbitrarily “disapproving” an already approved Form 1
    • The case revolves around the assertion that the “ban” on machine guns is unconstitutional under the Second, Ninth and Tenth amendments
    • The complaint lists the supreme court cases of Heller and McDonald as precedent
    • Interestingly, the Miller decision in 1939 which convicted a man for the illegal possession of a short barreled shotgun is listed a precedent; At the time Miller was convicted because short barreled shotguns were not “part of ordinary military equipment”
      • The Hollis camp are asserting that machine guns like the one he intended to create are part of current military equipment and under this previous decision must be legal
    • The BATFE acknowledges that the NFA’s “underlying purpose was to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions in NFA firearms”
      • Since Congress lacks/lacked the authority to ban NFA weapons outright, it instead imposed a large tax (in 1934 dollars) on their manufacture and transfer which few individuals could pay
    • Past BATFE Director Stephen E. Higgins stated during congressional hearings that “machineguns which are involved in crimes are so minimal so as not to be considered a law enforcement problem”
    • The complaint declares how similar the AR15 rifle is to the select fire M16
    • Another argument hinges on how a machinegun made in the State of Texas and that has not traveled in interstate commerce cannot be regulated by the Federal Government under the interstate commerce clause

    We will continue to provide coverage on this case as information trickles our way.

    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.