Gun Owners of America Challenging Federal Machine Gun Ban

Machine Gun
Machine Gun
Gun Owners of America
Gun Owners of America

Washington, DC –  -( On November 2 2015, Gun Owners of America (and its foundation) joined forces with Dick Heller — the very one who beat DC’s gun ban before the Supreme Court in 2008.

Working in tandem, Gun Owners filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in support of a challenge to the federal machine gun ban, which was stuck on at the last minute to an otherwise pro-gun bill in 1986.

First and foremost, Gun Owners argues that the “arms” protected by the Second Amendment include fully automatic weapons, and that Supreme Court opinions have bolstered this view.

Our brief explains that the Second Amendment is not about hunting or target shooting, but about the preservation of liberty.

You can read an analysis of the GOA brief in Hollis v. Lynch — or view the GOA brief in its entirety here.

Go here to financially help support the GOA brief in this case.

Since its founding, Gun Owners of America has built its reputation as the “no compromise” gun lobby.

We want to repeal any restriction that violates the “shall not be infringed” language of the Second Amendment — going all the way back to 1934.

So GOA is not only working on the above machine gun case.  We also want to file another brief supporting this same proposition — that a machine gun ban is inconsistent with the protections afforded in the Bill of Rights.

But we need your help to file it.

We have always taken the position that the “arms” mentioned in the Second Amendment are the type of weapons that an infantryman in current military service would be issued.  These are, in the words of an old Supreme Court case, “part of ordinary military equipment.”

One Court of Appeals judge has explained that the Second Amendment protects the “lineal descendants” of the arms brought to muster on the village green in revolutionary times.

Second Amendment helps erect a bulwark against tyranny

If the purpose of the Second Amendment is to preserve a “free State,” then the people comprising the militia need to have the same type of “arms” that are available to the military.

We think you will like the arguments we made in our first brief to explain this important principle to the court.

Among other things, we quote Justice Joseph Story’s explanation regarding the true purpose of the Second Amendment:

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.  [Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, Volume III, p. 646.]

If the arms owned by the people are profoundly inferior to those of their “rulers,” the ability of the people “to resist” will be diminished, and the “strong moral check” on those rulers will be lost.  Of course, that is what Diane Feinstein and her ilk want.

GOA is unique among pro-gun groups

Sadly, other pro-gun groups have run the other way when fully automatic weapons are mentioned.

In fact, a lawyer for one of these other “pro-gun” groups took the position before the U.S. Supreme Court that it was completely reasonable for the federal government to prohibit private ownership of fully automatic weapons.

But when David Olofson’s AR-15 malfunctioned and he was charged with owning a machinegun, it was GOA that came to his aid — not any other gun group.

No one thinks that the First Amendment should be limited to pamphlets produced one at a time, as in revolutionary days.  No one disputes that the First Amendment also protects radio and TV stations and the Internet.

Likewise, no one should think that the Second Amendment should be limited to Brown Bess muzzle-loading smoothbore muskets and Pennsylvania rifles.  At all times, the Second Amendment was designed to protect the infantry “arms” of the times.

Help GOA win these machine gun cases

If you agree with me about fully automatic weapons, we could certainly use your help.

By making a special contribution to Gun Owners of America, you will help fund the Hollis brief we just filed, and to make possible the next brief that we would like to file, if we raise enough support.

The second case is U.S. v. Watson in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (in Pennsylvania).  GOA plans to make similar arguments to those we made in Hollis — and by bringing several cases in multiple districts, we hope to force the Supreme Court to decide this issue in favor of Second Amendment rights.

Again, please consider making a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or more to help support these two cases.

Thank you for your defense of liberty!

Erich Pratt
Director of Communications
Gun Owners of America

About:Gun Owners of America (GOA) is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue. `The only no comprise gun lobby in Washington’ – Ron Paul Visit: to Join.

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VT Patriot

Thank you sir, please keep us informed.


I’m the attorney that filed Hollis v holder (now Hollis v Lynch). Our third circuit brief will be filed on 12/2/2015 in Watson v Lynch. I am happy GOA stood beside us in the 5Th Circuit and their brief was fantastic. True patriots.

George Washington Jr.

Careful reading of US v. Miller 1939 helds that ONLY weapons suitable for the militia and use in war are protected by the 2nd Amendment. This was the position taken by the Department of Justice. It involved an untaxed short barreled shotgun. See &
SBS’s were considered to be only used by civilians and therefore not protected. I guess the Court and the lawyers did not know about WW1 trench guns and J.E.B Stuarts Cavalry in the Civil War using SBS’s carried under their cloaks to keep their powder dry.

david Solo

Why was my comment taken down? Paul above suggests a “tampon change” for those who disagree and apparently that is ok and yet my post (which did not name call of use foul language) but attempted to make a valid point (that a challenge automatic weapon ownership ban is in my view stupid) is not allowed. Is it that opposing viewpoints are simply not appropriate here? Can one not be a responsible gun owner and disagree that we do not need to possess full auto weapons is a bad idea?

david Solo

How dare the Government keep us under heal of their jack-boots! Our right to possess fully automatic weapons is enshrined in the Constitution. Hamilton and Adams would both certainly been in favor had such weapons existed in the 18th century. Think of how much easier we could have thrown off the yoke of the British oppressors had our Minutemen been able to draw upon fully automatic weapons! Once this battle is fought and WON we need to fight for the right to possess grenade launchers and surface to air missiles too.


I hope they are successful in restoring taken rights.

Make no mistake no one is anti gun it’s where they want them concentrated. Tyrants want them concentrated in the forces they control.


The critics of this lawsuit are the same old fuddy duddys who who think that because they are content with a flintlock that we all should be satisfied with flintlocks. This mentality is dangerous to all who believe that the words of the 2nd Amendment should stand as the law, and not some twisted progressive judges interpetation of it. If full autos were were not NFA weapons and war surplus emma gees could be imported these machines would become affordable again and enable the less affluent to enjoy the once restricted boys club. Sadly, the NRA membership is mostly fuddy… Read more »


There are many things I cannot afford but I have the right to own them. I would love to have an M-60 to shoot on occasion, I have not shot one since being in Viet Nam. The M-60 and M-2 50 cal. were a highlight of my day, I gave training on both of these guns to new troops. I would also like to have a M 113 APC to truck around the mountains of Colorado in. Alas, I doubt these things won’t happen but I can dream. The idea though, of the RIGHT to own and possess the guns… Read more »


Just as modern communications are protected by our Constitution,
modern firearms are protected as well.

Grey Beard

Both the NFA act of 1934 and the further restriction on legal automatic weapons passed in 1986 need to be repealed en toto! Select fire arms, short barreled shotguns, grenades, and other personal defense weapons are the traditional arms issued to the military today and should be equally available to EVERY person NOT denied the right to go armed, i.e., convicted felons and those Adjudicated mentally ill. If someone uses ANY weapon, gun, knife, vehicle, etc., for a violent, illegal act, that person needs to go to prison. If they don’t, then leave them alone. As to ammunition, learn to… Read more »


Rich: Actually there has been one crime committed by the owner of a legal machine gun, he happened to be a police officer!


Machine guns legally owned by US citizens now are limited to those MFG before May of 1986. Since they have been registered by the DOJ since 1934 there has been no crimes involving such weapons. Its a proven fact that they can safely be owned by law abiding citizens’ What good is the 2nd Amendment if we can’t own full auto and government and police can?


Finally someone see’s this in its true light. This 86 ban was a second amendment violation plain and simple and for those of you who are clueless let me clue you in. From 1934 to 1986 thats 52 years that honest people could buy machineguns only one gun was used in a crime and that was a cop who murdered someone with a thompson. This type of gun control works an works well. Limit only bad folks and let the honest enjoy their lives. Who knows that honest machinegun owner may take out the ISIS zombie who would have killed… Read more »


You’re no smarter than that libturd, JohnC. It’s NOT about that actual weapon, it is about the government whittling away at our rights. “Machine guns”/ automatic weapons aren’t illegal now, you can own one if you can afford it, and are willing to pay the $200 federal tax. This lawsuit is an effort to show that the law is illegal, the tax is illegal, that it is a violation of individual rights as defined under the 2nd amendment, and this will help open the door to getting rid of many of the other illegal/unconstitutional laws and fees that the fed… Read more »


It’s stupid libturds like you that do not and will never understand the Constitution and the value of individual RIGHTS! I can explain it to you, but I cannot understand it for you!

Tom Tomovich

Anybody making negative comments about this lawsuit/challenge is either a troll or a secret anti-gunner (or owns tons of very high priced MG’s right now). This challenge/case, if successful, would be the best thing to happen in a long while. Prices in the machinegun marketplace would CRASH like oil prices are now because you would now be able to add new MG’s to the registry just like suppressors and make your own just like a supressor on a FORM 1 (or 4, I forget?) currently. No more deep pockets needed (except to buy more ammo). Time to join up again… Read more »


Well Jack;
Just because you have shallow pockets and the government isn’t supplying the ammunition you “think” (used loosely here) that NOBODY should have access to automatic weapons.
SO WHAT; I cant “afford” an M1 or an Mi Carbine at today’s prices so what I should be against anybody owning one?
I “think” that IF you drive a newer auto than me , YOU should have to give it up. SAME THING !!


Really, JohnC, how is Mr. Pratt’s views extremist ?


The globalist covert government that runs our puppet government and many others around the world want every single one of our guns. Has nothing to do with public safety and has everything to do with elitist wannabe’s safety. Each gun law they get passed is just another stepping stone on the path to complete disarmament.

Capn Jack

To me this is a waste of time and money. Even if fully automatic weapons were legalized, their use would be
limited to those few collectors with bottomless pockets. Granted, fully automatic weapons are fun to shot, but
I had to give it up when the government quit supplying my ammunition.


JohnC: Really? Please explain exactly what those extremist views are? That we should be able to own the same firearms as the police? Why not, are they the “chosen few”? Please explain, with facts, not hyperbole and “well it scares me” why law abiding citizens shouldn’t be allowed to own Class 111 firearms without paying the government a $200 tax and waiting nine months. Because of all the crimes committed? Well, let’s just take a look at “all” those crimes. Since 1934 there has been only ONE crime committed with a legally owned machine gun, by its owner, and that… Read more »


JohnC, you think that anti gunners even know that there is a ban on new manufacture of full auto weapons? It’s been so long that gun owners don’t even know how they got where they are and what they’ve been robbed of. I don’t think Mr Pratt’s approach makes a bit of difference in the opposition we currently face.

Extremism in the cause of Liberty…


Time for a tampon change. Who convinced you to be a slave?


Mr Pratt it is extremist positions such as this that limits your membership and polarizes anti-gunners against all guns.


but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. this appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist……Hamilton
Federalist papers #. 185