Lawsuit against the ATF over the federal machine gun ban

A new plaintiff has filed a lawsuit against the ATF over the Hughes Amendment (federal machine gun ban). In the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Ryan S. Watson and his family Trust is suing the ATF for enforcing the federal law, and administering “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.”

Attorney David R. Scott is joined in the lawsuit by Stephen D. Stamboulieh, the Mississippi attorney who filed a similar action in Texas last October in the case of Hollis v. Holder. The Watson case differs from the Hollis case in that Watson is subject to an actual taking resulting from actions performed under authorization of the ATF, for which approval was later revoked.

Attorneys for the DOJ/ATF declined a federal judge’s order allowing them to file a response to the plaintiff’s sur-reply (an additional reply to a motion after it has been briefed) in the Hollis case. The response, filed Wednesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division, was due March 11.

“I was a bit disappointed reading the sur-reply,” Stamboulieh told Gun Rights Examiner. “Apparently the government thinks its case is very strong, even in light of a longer standing portion of the Gun Control Act being struck down a few weeks ago. Additionally, the government continues to ignore evidence that is included in the Appendix to Hollis‘ Response (App.069) in that the government has in fact allowed post 1986 machineguns to be transferred and possessed by non-governmental entities. “We look forward to the next step and we are hopeful the Court grants our request for oral argument and ultimately denies the government’s motion to dismiss so we can start discovery on the issues of post 1986 approvals.”

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