BREAKING: CRPA & Allies File SCOTUS Amicus Brief in Garland v. Cargill

January 26, 2024

CRPA has joined with several other pro 2A organizations and filed a friend of the court “amicus” legal brief in Garland v. Cargill. The case is set for argument before the Supreme Court on February 28, 2024.

The Cargill case will decide whether a bump stock device is a “machinegun” as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b) because it is designed and intended for use in converting a rifle into a machinegun, i.e., into a weapon that fires “automatically more than one shot … by a single function of the trigger.”

The case is primarily about the scope of the ATF’s regulatory authority and whether it can freely change its positions and interpretations of federal law. It does not explicitly involve any Second Amendment claims. Nonetheless, our amicus brief advises the Court about the significant risk to Second Amendment rights if it rules in favor of the ATF. The ATF has shown an unfortunate willingness to reverse its opinion about the legality of a device whenever it suits the political whims of the Biden administration.

ATF did this on bump stocks, incomplete lower receivers, and pistol braces. So our amicus brief warns the Court that if it finds that a bump stock is a “machine gun,” the logical next step that ATF, or governments hostile to the Second Amendment, could pursue would be to reclassify most or all semiautomatic rifles as illegal fully-automatic machineguns because they could be converted (illegally) to fully automatic. There is support for that position in the Seventh Circuit’s recent absurd ruling upholding Illinois’s “assault weapon” ban, where it wrongly concluded that the semi-automatic AR-15 and the fully automatic M-16 were virtually indistinguishable so that semi-automatic rifles can be banned.

The amicus brief lays out a history demonstrating that Americans have always owned so-called “military” small arms, and expanding the ATF’s authority such that it believes it could regulate semiautomatic firearms would cause chaos and potentially millions of accidental criminals.

Joining CRPA on the brief are the Second Amendment Law Center, Second Amendment Defense and Education Coalition, Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, and Guns Save Life. Multiple additional briefs are expected to be filed in the next few days.

The brief urges the Supreme Court to affirm the 5th Circuit’s ruling in favor of Mr. Cargill, and to reaffirm that commonly possessed semiautomatic rifles cannot be banned.  You can read the brief HERE.

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