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PsychGuy274
04-20-2011, 10:31 PM
So I'm doin' myself a bit o' research right now and I'm having an incredibly difficult time finding info on this case. While I read a lot of 'legalese' junk, for some reason this one is evading me.

Can someone give me the Idiot's Guide explanation of this case and it's implications concerning Cruikshanks, Presser and Miller?

Full case title is: Cases v. United States, 131 F.2d 916, 922-23 (1st Cir. 1942)

Thanks in advance.

hoffmang
04-21-2011, 12:22 AM
Cases was the first case to really attempt to undermine the 2A and officially adopt the "collective rights" model.

It's mooted by Heller.

-Gene

Librarian
04-21-2011, 1:15 AM
Cases (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=519643104089203704&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr)

I think a fair summary is 'US v Miller really doesn't mean anything, not even the implied position that a weapon suitable for militia service might be protected.'

But as Gene said, Heller moots Miller.

M. D. Van Norman
04-21-2011, 8:30 AM
You mean that Heller moots Cases. Miller hasnít been reversed, which is an important fact. :)

Gray Peterson
04-21-2011, 8:38 AM
From Cases:

In the case last cited the Supreme Court, after discussing the history of militia organizations in the United States, upheld the validity under the Second Amendment of the National Firearms Act of June 26, 1934, 48 Stat. 1236, in so far as it imposed limitations upon the use of a shotgun having a barrel less than eighteen inches long. It stated the reason for its result on page 178 of the opinion in 307 U.S., on page 818 of 59 S.Ct., 83 L.Ed. 1206, (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17128640835628801970&hl=en&as_sdt=2,44&as_vis=1) as follows: "In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a `shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense."
Apparently, then, under the Second Amendment, the federal government can limit the keeping and bearing of arms by a single individual as well as by a group of individuals, but it cannot prohibit the possession or use of any weapon which has any reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia. However, we do not feel that the Supreme Court in this case was attempting to formulate a general rule applicable to all cases. The rule which it laid down was adequate to dispose of the case before it and that we think was as far as the Supreme Court intended to go. At any rate the rule of the Miller (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17128640835628801970&hl=en&as_sdt=2,44&as_vis=1) case, if intended to be comprehensive and complete would seem to be already outdated, in spite of the fact that it was formulated only three and a half years ago, because of the well known fact that in the so called "Commando Units" some sort of military use seems to have been found for almost any modern lethal weapon. In view of this, if the rule of the Miller (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17128640835628801970&hl=en&as_sdt=2,44&as_vis=1) case is general and complete, the result would follow that, under present day conditions, the federal government would be empowered only to regulate the possession or use of weapons such as a flintlock musket or a matchlock harquebus. But to hold that the Second Amendment limits the federal government to regulations concerning only weapons which can be classed as antiques or curiosities, — almost any other might bear some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia unit of the present day, — is in effect to hold that the limitation of the Second Amendment is absolute. Another objection to the rule of the Miller (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17128640835628801970&hl=en&as_sdt=2,44&as_vis=1) case as a full and general statement is that according to it Congress would be prevented by the Second Amendment from regulating the possession or use by private persons not present or prospective members of any military unit, of distinctly military arms, such as machine guns, trench mortars, anti-tank or anti-aircraft guns, even though under the circumstances surrounding such possession or use it would be inconceivable that a private person could have any legitimate reason for having such a weapon. It seems to us unlikely that the framers of the Amendment intended any such result. Considering the many variable factors bearing upon the question it seems to us impossible to formulate any general test by which to determine the limits imposed by the Second Amendment but that each case under it, like cases under the due process clause, must be decided on its own facts and the line between what is and what is not a valid federal restriction *****ed out by decided cases falling on one side or the other of the line.

Librarian
04-21-2011, 11:14 AM
In Miller (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17128640835628801970&hl=en&as_sdt=2,44&as_vis=1), the lower court claimed *176 A duly interposed demurrer alleged: The National Firearms Act is not a revenue measure but an attempt to usurp police power reserved to the States, and is therefore unconstitutional. Also, it offends the inhibition of the Second Amendment to the Constitution ó "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

177*177 The District Court held that section eleven of the Act violates the Second Amendment. It accordingly sustained the demurrer and quashed the indictment. and McReynolds replied *183 We are unable to accept the conclusion of the court below and the challenged judgment must be reversed. The cause will be remanded for further proceedings. There's nothing to reverse.

SCOTUS said 'go have a trial'.

I rather like this analysis (http://www.law.nyu.edu/ecm_dlv/groups/public/@nyu_law_website__journals__journal_of_law_and_lib erty/documents/documents/ecm_pro_060964.pdf). This essay concludes that Miller is coherent, but largely ir- relevant to the contemporary debate over the meaning of the Sec- ond Amendment. Miller was a Second Amendment test case, teed up with a nominal defendant by a district judge sympathetic to New Deal gun control measures. But the Supreme Court issued a surprisingly narrow decision. Essentially, it held that the Second Amendment permits Congress to tax firearms used by criminals. While dicta suggest the Second Amendment guarantees an individ- ual right to possess and use a weapon suitable for militia service, dicta are not precedent.7 In other words, Miller did not adopt a the- ory of the Second Amendment guarantee, because it did not need one.

M. D. Van Norman
04-21-2011, 12:08 PM
I see, so we can completely disregard Miller in some future NFA challenge?

Librarian
04-21-2011, 12:49 PM
I'm sure it will be mentioned. :) But, from my non-lawyer's perspective, I doubt it will be controlling.

I don't foresee a serious challenge to NFA in my lifetime. I'll be happy if that prediction turns out to be wrong.

mdimeo
04-21-2011, 1:21 PM
I see, so we can completely disregard Miller in some future NFA challenge?

The good part of Miller, the part where militarily-useful weapons are protected, was effectively overturned by Heller. Weapons "in ordinary use at the time" was twisted to mean "in ordinary use at the time by civilians". Search the decision for M-16, and go up a paragraph.

socalblue
04-21-2011, 2:41 PM
The good part of Miller, the part where militarily-useful weapons are protected, was effectively overturned by Heller. Weapons "in ordinary use at the time" was twisted to mean "in ordinary use at the time by civilians". Search the decision for M-16, and go up a paragraph.

Doubtful, as one can purchase NFA weapons by paying a tax. I would think that state bans on NFA weapons that are over & above federal law may possibly be challenged at some point.

mdimeo
04-23-2011, 12:57 AM
Doubtful, as one can purchase NFA weapons by paying a tax. I would think that state bans on NFA weapons that are over & above federal law may possibly be challenged at some point.

What's doubtful? Suppressors and SBR/SBS's, sure. As of 1986 it's impossible for regular people to register a newly-manufactured automatic weapon. They're banned. Federally. And Heller says that's ok. It's dicta, but doesn't leave any room at all for a friendly lower court to overturn the 1986 ban, and signals clearly enough for me that the current supreme court wouldn't do so either.

hoffmang
04-23-2011, 12:02 PM
What's doubtful? Suppressors and SBR/SBS's, sure. As of 1986 it's impossible for regular people to register a newly-manufactured automatic weapon. They're banned. Federally. And Heller says that's ok. It's dicta, but doesn't leave any room at all for a friendly lower court to overturn the 1986 ban, and signals clearly enough for me that the current supreme court wouldn't do so either.

The real opportunity is that as we get past carry and AWs in the courts, the legislative environment may be conducive to putting FA back to it's 1985 status.

-Gene