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hoffmang
11-06-2008, 10:49 AM
There is a very interesting Supreme Court case from 1994 entitled Staples v. US (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/92-1441.ZO.html) that has gone somewhat unnoticed . I picked up on it from this excellent scholarly article (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1287405) that Dave Hardy (http://armsandthelaw.com/) linked to.

The quick summary is that when ATF charged Mr. Staples with possessing a "firearm" as that term is defined in the NFA (aka FA) it had to prove he knew his AR-15 was more than just a common semiautomatic rifle. The majority opinion was written by Thomas and joined by Kennedy. That tends to lead strong credence to two points.

1. AR-15's are common and not "dangerous and unusual."

2. Kennedy doesn't seem to have a problem with the black rifle.

-Gene

pnkssbtz
11-06-2008, 11:09 AM
Wow... pretty awesome finding!

The comparison to an automobile was a perfect one. Who would of thought judges would have such common sense?

Also wouldn't this case support the guy who recently got convicted when his AR that he loaned someone malfunctioned?

yellowfin
11-06-2008, 11:10 AM
Any cosmetic features mention?

CCWFacts
11-06-2008, 12:08 PM
2. Kennedy doesn't seem to have a problem with the black rifle.

We should send that man some vitamins, maybe send him on some spa treatments to keep him healthy for the next 8 years.

Speaking of black rifles...

One of the factors that allowed the 1994 AWB to pass was that the things they were banning (AR-15s, full-capacity Glocks) were exotic and scary at the time. Now those same things are ho-hum and anything but unusual. Even Remington is selling AR-15s as hunting rifles now. Meanwhile all the major manufacturers are selling large capacity handguns. So the whole exotic factor is long gone, and there are millions more of these things out there in circulation now. All of that makes a renewed ban both politically and legally a lot harder than it was in 1994.

aileron
11-07-2008, 6:15 AM
I'm glad he wrote that article. So true, the militia is getting the short end of the stick in this battle. They need to acknowledge the individual right as well as the right to form a militia and all it entails.

sierratangofoxtrotunion
11-07-2008, 10:59 AM
I must admit, reading this was a bit dry. I prefer reading Gura, he keeps me entertained.

ptoguy2002
11-07-2008, 4:49 PM
Great.
Heller plus Nordyke plus this case means no more Cali AWB, right?

hoffmang
11-08-2008, 12:34 PM
Great.
Heller plus Nordyke plus this case means no more Cali AWB, right?

In the right timing/order, yes. There may be a way to make things better in CA short term and focus on worse problems first. Either way, this is a key argument that SCOTUS has taken judicial notice that AR-15's are common Heller protected arms.

-Gene

Cali-V
11-08-2008, 1:09 PM
This is also interesting...
from Justice Stevens Dissent

These are not guns "of some sort" that can be found in almost "50 percent of American homes."

In 94' you had a very low % of AR ownership... I'm sure that todays AR ownership has not reached the 50% level; But it's increase in ownership has definitely taken AR's out of the exotic realm...

Patriot
11-08-2008, 1:34 PM
This is also interesting...
from Justice Stevens Dissent



In 94' you had a very low % of AR ownership... I'm sure that todays AR ownership has not reached the 50% level; But it's increase in ownership has definitely taken AR's out of the exotic realm...

Your point is interesting. I dislike where Stevens appears to be taking the "50 percent" language in his dissent.

I assume he is alluding to Thomas' language in the majority opinion:

Moreover, despite the overlay of legal restrictions on gun ownership, we question whether regulations on guns are sufficiently intrusive that they impinge upon the common experience that owning a gun is usually licit and blameless conduct. Roughly 50 per cent of American homes contain at least one firearm of some sort, [n.8] and in the vast majority of States, buying a shotgun or rifle is a simple transaction that would not alert a person to regulation any more than would buying a car.

Thomas based this off of US DOJ statistics (referenced in endnote n.8). Perhaps this figure was brought up in a brief or oral arguments?

Anyway, it seems that Thomas says "50% of American homes contain at least one firearm" to illustrate that gun ownership is ordinary, commonplace, and generally law-abiding.

Stevens, however, seems to be trying to introduce some sort of distinction between 'ordinary' guns and 'extra dangerous weapons' based on popularity and/or dangerousness by saying that

This case, however, involves a semiautomatic weapon that was readily convertible into a machinegun--a weapon that the jury found to be " `a dangerous device of a type as would alert one to the likelihood of regulation.' " Ante, at 3. These are not guns "of some sort" that can be found in almost "50 percent of American homes." Ante, at 13. [n.1] They are particularly dangerous--indeed,a substantial percentage of the unregistered machineguns now in circulation are converted semiautomatic weapons.

Max-the-Silent
11-08-2008, 2:24 PM
This is also interesting...
from Justice Stevens Dissent



In 94' you had a very low % of AR ownership... I'm sure that todays AR ownership has not reached the 50% level; But it's increase in ownership has definitely taken AR's out of the exotic realm...

I'm not so sure about that.

I remember that in the late 60's AR's or any military type semi-auto other than a Garand was pretty exotic stuff, but by the mid-late 70's black rifles were everywhere. By 94 we already had RR here in Ca.

I think that the numbers (rifles in circulation) might support your theory, but I doubt that anywhere near 50% of the gun owner demo has black rifles in their safes.

Most everybody I know that's suffers from BRD has multiple examples (over 50 in acute cases) and the guys I know that aren't interested far outnumber the BRD group.

CCWFacts
11-08-2008, 2:42 PM
I'm sure that black rifles were much rarer in '94 than they are today. There are only about three manufacturers back in '94: expensive Colts, Bushmasters, and maybe one other. Today there are about 50 of them, together with hundreds of vendors of parts and accessories.

Remington is selling them as hunting rifles. That's a huge change from them being niche guns owned by a few survivalists to being commonplace guns sold by Remington and used all over the place. S&W is selling them. Who isn't selling them these days?

It's a big change, in our favor. If AR-15s weren't "unusual" back in '94, then today they are "boring, show me something I haven't seen a hundreds times every time I go to the range".

Max-the-Silent
11-08-2008, 2:48 PM
IIRC, in 1994, we had Colt, Bushmaster, Oly. Arms, Frankford, Palmetto and I'm sure I'm leaving more than one out.

JohnJW
11-08-2008, 3:14 PM
This is also interesting...
from Justice Stevens Dissent



In 94' you had a very low % of AR ownership... I'm sure that todays AR ownership has not reached the 50% level; But it's increase in ownership has definitely taken AR's out of the exotic realm...

AR does not reach 50% level, but what about semi-automatic firearms with detachable magazines? Do they reach the 50% level. After all, AR is just one of a certain type of firearms that functionally runs the gamut from AR to M1A to mini14 to Browning BAR.