A second machine gun suit has been filed in Pennsylvania. The previous one was reported from Texas.
This complaint for declarative and injunctive relief was filed last week in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Plaintiff Ryan S. Watson, acting individually and as trustee of the Watson Family Gun Trust, is suing Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and ATF Director B. Todd Jones in their official capacities for administering, executing and enforcing “statutory and regulatory provisions [that] generally act as an unlawful de facto ban on the transfer or possession of a machine gun manufactured after May 19, 1986.”
The complaint asks for judgment along several grounds, including that existing statutes barring private ownership of machine guns exceed the authority of Congress and violate the Second Amendment. It also seeks declarations that such statutes cannot be applied individually or against trustees, that the defendants are enjoined from enforcement and that they have no authority to revoke tax stamps. Alternatively, the complaint asks that “unincorporated trusts are not prohibited from manufacturing or possessing machine guns.”
My understanding of this suit is that it differs from the Texas case because Plaintiff Watson is subject to an actual taking resulting from actions performed under authorization of the ATF, for which approval was later revoked. Mississippi attorney Stephen D. Stamboulieh, who filed the Texas case, also joined this case.