GOA/GOF Comments to ATF on Proposed Changes to Form 7

Michael Harless Firearms Law

Today, our firm filed comments with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”) in response to the ATF’s proposal to combine the federal application to be a firearms dealer (“Form 7”) with the application to be a Collector of Curios and Relics.  As our comments pointed out, ATF’s proposed new combined form is an attempt to combine apples and oranges.  Dealers (businesses) are nothing like collectors (private persons).  The proposed form is complicated and unclear as to which sections apply to which license.  Moreover, the proposed form eliminates current language which is helpful to a person knowing whether or not he needs to apply for a license.  Our comments were filed on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation. Read More

GOA/GOF Comments to ATF on Proposed Changes to Form 4473

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Firearms Law

Today our firm filed comments on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation opposing the proposed changes to the Form 4473, a form ATF claims continues to be necessary, though it is not required by any federal law.

Our comments explain how the proposed additions to the Form 4473 are unnecessarily confusing and often unauthorized.  The form is already complex, presenting a legal hurdle for law-abiding Americans wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right.  If ATF does not eliminate the Form 4473, it should, at a minimum, seek to simplify rather than further complicate the form. Read More

GOA/GOF Comments to ATF on Secure Gun Storage

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Firearms Law

Today our firm filed comments on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation opposing proposed regulations issued by ATF to require not only firearms dealers, but also manufacturers and importers, to certify that secure gun storage or safety devices are maintained anywhere firearms are sold.

Our comments explain how ATF’s proposed regulations would purportedly “implement” provisions of federal law; however, the regulations would actually rewrite federal law to further the goals of ATF. Read More

Grace v. District of Columbia

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Today, we filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in support of a challenge to the D.C. Concealed Carry statute which was brought by Matthew Grace and others.  Our brief argues that the District of Columbia Council based its argument on the notion of hidden exceptions to the Bill of Rights, and a flawed understanding of the difference between the restricted nature of firearms rights in England versus the unrestricted nature of firearms rights in the Colonies.  Our brief also argues that it is illegitimate for the Court to engage in judicial balancing tests of any type, as they were barred by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller.  Lastly, we argued that the government does not have the authority to make predictive judgments as to who may violate the law and restrict liberties to prevent crimes that it fears may someday occur. Read More

Comments: Gun Owners of America & Gun Owners Foundation File Comments Opposing Social Security Administration Efforts to Disarm the Disabled

Michael Harless Administrative Law

Today our firm filed comments on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation opposing proposed regulations issued by the Obama Social Security Administration to add more names to the NICS system which would prevent many persons with disabilities from buying firearms.

Our comments explain how the Social Security Administration proposal goes well beyond the limitation that firearm ownership is barred to anyone “who has been adjudicated as a mental defective.”  Here, there is no adjudication — but merely a box being checked by a bureaucrat or government contractor.  And, there is no determination in no way relates to  being a “mental defective.”  Lastly, the SSA regulations are at odds with the views of federal courts which have considered the question. Read More

Wrenn v. District of Columbia

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Today, our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in support of a challenge to the District of Columbia’s requirement that a person must demonstrate a “good reason” in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.  Our brief noted that before Heller, the federal courts perpetuated the charade that the right of “the People” was a collective rather than an individual right.  Now, we argued, the lower courts are perpetuating a new charade — that rights which “shall not be infringed” can indeed be infringed so long as the government strongly desires to do so, and judges believe the regulations are reasonable.  Our brief argued that use of such “interest-balancing” tests permits judges to come to whatever result they prefer, as this case uniquely indicates. Read More

Hamilton v. Pallozzi

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit supporting the right of a Maryland resident to purchase and possess firearms despite a prior conviction. Hamilton had been convicted of a non-violent felony in Virginia and served his sentence. Later, Virginia restored his civil rights, and then a Virginia Court specifically restored his firearms rights.

Now living in Maryland, Hamilton has been told that Maryland will not recognize the restoration of his firearms rights by a Virginia Court.  Our brief explains that under the U.S. Constitution’s “Full Faith & Credit Clause,” Maryland may not refuse to give recognition to the Virginia court’s restoration of rights, and argument that had not been made by Hamilton. Read More

Colorado Appellate Court Reverses Trial Court as to Some Colorado Gun Restrictions

Michael Harless Litigation

Our firm has been pleased to be co-counsel on a state constitutional challenge to the 2013 Colorado firearms gun control laws restricting possession of “high capacity” magazines and requiring background checks for private sales.  The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, holding that we were entitled to a hearing on the magazine issue, but affirmed the background check issue.  Notably, one of the judges filed an important dissent.  Judge Graham’s opinion adopted our arguments that the Second Amendment is to be analyzed by a “text, history, tradition” analysis, not according to interest balancing tests such as in a pre-Heller Colorado case that used a “reasonableness” analysis. Read More

Voisine v. United States

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we made our 10th filing in 10 years opposing various applications of what is known as the so-called “Lautenberg Amendment,” which purports to impose a lifetime ban on firearms ownership on those who commit certain misdemeanors. The anti-gun lobby seeks to strip gun ownership from as many persons as possible, even if the misdemeanor was a minor matter, involving neither firearms nor violence. Read More

Hollis v. Lynch — Amicus Brief

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

Today, our firm filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit an amicus brief in support of a challenge to the federal machine gun ban, ironically passed as part of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act.

Under the Gun Control Act (“GCA”), “persons” are generally prohibited from possessing machineguns. A “person” is defined to include entities such a corporation and partnership – but the definition does not include a trust. Moreover, in 2014, ATF took the position that “unincorporated trusts are not ‘persons’ under the GCA.” Based on that understanding that trusts are not persons, the Jay Aubrey Isaac Hollis Revocable Living Trust applied to the ATF for approval to manufacture and register an M-16 machinegun. When ATF eventually revoked the application, the Trust sued, but the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed the case. Read More

United States v. Robert G. Arwady and Richard P. Medrano
Verdict in — Both defendants Not Guilty on all counts

Michael Harless Firearms Law, Litigation, U. S. District Court, Southern District of Texas

Rob Olson has called in to report that after two hours of deliberation, the jury has come back with a Not Guilty verdict on all counts.

Bob Arwardy and Richard Medrano were accused of participating in a “straw purchase” of firearms on February 27, 2014 and other firearms offenses in an eight count indictment.   After significant motions practice, including work by both Rob Olson and Herb Titus of our firm, the government dropped six of the eight counts, pressing the other two counts against both defendants.  Obviously, the jury was not persuaded.  This case required four trips to Houston, Texas by Rob Olson, for motions practice, trial preparation, pretrial, and trial. Read More

Gun Owners of America — Comments Filed With State Department Opposing New ITAR Regulations

Michael Harless Firearms Law

Today, our firm filed comments with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy, on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation, regarding proposed revisions to the State Department’s International Traffic In Arms Regulations (“ITAR”).  Pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, the State Department regulates the export of “defense articles and services.”  Typically, these regulations apply to businesses which manufacture weapons of war such as tanks and bombs, and there generally was no need for ordinary Americans to worry about this incredibly complex and convoluted area of the law. Read More