Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Second Amendment Serial Number Case Appealed to Fourth Circuit


The ground-breaking case of USA v. Randy Price has been appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The notice of appeal was filed on October 24, 2022. The appointment of a federal public defender was made on October 26, 2022.

The Fourth Circuit appointed the Federal Defender for the Southern District of West Virginia to represent Randy Price in this case.

Presumably, this is the same attorney who represented Price in the District Court, Wesley P. Page, Federal Public Defender s/Lex  A Coleman, WV Bar No. 10484.

The case was discussed  in a previous article on AmmoLand.

The potential for strengthening Second Amendment Protections in this case are notable and important. 

This case has few implications for criminal action in the United States. 

The law found unconsitutional in this case, 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(k), was not formed until 1990. It is late law, constitutionally, and has no significant historical precedence. 

The suspect in this case, Randy Price, may not be the person most sympathetic. Price is a convicted felon. He is prohibited from possessing firearms, by federal law.

The District Judge, Joseph R. Goodwin, found the arguments to declare the law prohibiting possession of a firearms whose serial number had been removed, to be unconstitutional, persuasive, given the guidance of the Bruen decision on the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court.

Judge Goodwin found the prohibition of a felon possessing firearms to be constitutional, under the Bruen decision.

Under this decision, a felon is barred from legally possessing firearms under federal law.  

People who may legally posses a firearm may not be prosecuted for possessing a firearm which has had the serial number altered or removed.

Federal law forbids the creation of a federal registration system.

No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s [Attorney General’s] authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.

Eight states forbid state level registration systems.

State registration systems are constitutional latecomers.

If the decision showing 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(k) is upheld. The ability of state and federal governments to use registration systems as a means of disarming the public, will be rendered toothless.

The reason universal gun registration is so dangerous that it is forbidden in federal law, is gun registration is gun confiscation, without the general pain and expense of door to door searches and confiscations required before registration systems were conceived.

If there is a general gun registrations scheme in existence, such as exists in Australia, and many European countries, all legal guns must be registered; any gun not registered is illegal. 

When a government decides to confiscates, whether individually or wholesale, it need only demand the guns which are registered, be turned in on pain of punishment. Punishment in a modern state can consist of anything from cancellation of drivers licenses, freezing of bank accounts, to turning off power and water services. This is much easier and less dangerous than house to house searches.

This becomes moot without serial numbers to connect an individual to an individual gun.

The United States has done well without a general registration system. Registration systems have virtually no effect on violent crime. They cost considerable police resources. They primarily victimize law abiding gun owners. Many such schemes attempt to pass most of the costs of the system to those who choose to exercise the right protected by the Second Amendment. Those costs, by their nature, suppress the legitimate use of Second Amendment rights.

It will be interesting to see if deep thinkers and Second Amendment strategists will be filing Amicus briefs in favor of upholding Judge Goodwin's decision.

Attorneys from the NRA, SAF, GOA, Calguns, and other state groups, should all be looking at this case closely.

If law abiding people cannot be prosecuted for possession of a firearm from which the serial number has been removed, the entire scheme of national gun registration falls apart.


©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch




ScienceABC123 said...

Strengthening of individual rights from federal government overreach? You can bet the federal government will spend an unlimited amount of taxpayer dollars to stop that!

Anonymous said...

Although Federal Law prohibits the establishment of a firearms registry, that is precisely what Oregon's latest law seeks to create with the recently passed Measure 114.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I just get too deep into this second amendment, But I am proud to say I claim to be an originalist. Define the word Infringe. If you are on the left you say it means well any thing you can come up with that allows any opinion to be passed into law, The right would say it means any thing related to the right to keep and bare. That factually includes laws that restrict any one for any reason not being able to own a fire arms or any other weapon used for self defense. So, you committed a felony, Did you serve your time and pay your debt to society? and now you are free to walk the street or go any where any one else is allowed to go. Then why are you not allowed to defend your self against any kind of an assault or attack.? Every see or hear any one step up and ask if your ever committed a felony so you are fair game for any thing they might want to do to you? Any one that can pull a trigger will be welcome on the front line if we are ever invaded. and that trigger will need to be in a weapon you bring with you. If you committed a capitol crime then why are you still living? If you are still living you need to be able to defend your self at any time. If the civilian Militia is ever called up Every trigger finger will be needed.. If you did not learn your lesson the first time behind bars you can always be returned. Shall Not be Infringed means No one can be denied the right of self defense. Self defense is an equal right.

Dean Weingarten said...

The federal law bans a federal registry, not state registries.

The Second Amendment bans all government registries of weapons, as there is no historical record of such being made mandatory by any government before 1893.

Anonymous said...

Fact: All states that have joined the union are required to have a state constitution, Fact; all State constitution can not conflict with the federal constitution. That is why we have a SUPREM COURT to keep federal and state laws constitutional. If there is no federal Registry why are there state registries? Fact: The SUPREME Court has no authority to delegate its power. It decided there is no right to murder an unborn baby it can not leave that decision up to the individual states There is no federal right to abortion and there can not be a state right to abortion. The very first right guaranteed by the federal constitution is the right to life with no age limit written. Abortion is the murdering of a developing human. I know because I have helped deliver over 500 babies. Not one of those mothers ever delivered an ear of corn or any thing other than a human. Two of those more than 500 were mine. When the SUPRENE COURT makes a ruling it has nation wide effect. Sorry I only studied law for about nine years and I am disgusted with how much damage liberals have done to the rule of law.

Anonymous said...

Dean: I think you have to look at the bigger Picture Why does the federal law prohibit registry. Because it is an identified infringement If it is a federal infringement it is also a state infringement, Why because there is a United states Supreme court ruling that says all federally guaranteed rights cross all state lines therefore if it is federally unconstitutional it is also state unconstitutional. The gun grabbers just make more work for the Supreme court to overturn unconstitutional state laws. If the federal government identified it as an unconstitutional infringement then it has to be a state unconstitutional infringement. I think they should start disbarring some of these attorney that file these cases. Maybe they have never taken a civics course like so many these days.

Anonymous said...

Maybe recalling some of the legislators that write these laws would help. You have to be under 70 years of age to have been required to pass a civics course to graduate high school. Civics may be a boring class but every one should understand what is in the constitution and why it worked so well to make this country great.