MSLF Won’t Quietly Walk Away From Pivotal Gun Rights Case

Denver — December 23, 2020 — California and its anti-gun allies are attempting to block Mountain States Legal Foundation’s clients from intervening in California v. ATF, a case that could force the federal government to redefine what constitutes a “firearm.” But the pro-liberty law firm isn’t going quietly. And it argued this week that its clients have much more to lose than the federal government does if the case is wrongly decided.     

In rebutting the plaintiff’s motion to deny it intervenor status, MSLF argued that the federal agencies named as defendants, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, are primarily interested in protecting their bureaucratic and institutional interests, not the interests of individuals and businesses who will be directly and adversely impacted if the plaintiffs prevail.  

MSLF represents individuals fighting for their right to construct firearms for personal use free from federal surveillance and meddling; 80% Arms, a well-known producer of non-firearm objects — sometimes colloquially referred to as “receiver or frame blanks,” “partially-manufactured receivers or frames,” or “80% receivers or frames,” — that can be personally manufactured into firearm components by individuals with the equipment and know-how to do so; and Firearms Policy Coalition, a firearms advocacy organization helping lead the charge against unconstitutional government overreach. 

These objects vary widely but what they all have in common is that they are not “firearms” as defined by the Gun Control Act, nor can they be readily converted into firearms. Because they are not firearms, the ATF and the federal government lack any authority to regulate them as such. The plaintiffs in the case, however, want to force the ATF to regulate raw materials of all kinds simply because individuals, through their own knowledge, skill, and ingenuity, can manufacture them into firearms for personal use.  

A “win” for plaintiffs in this case would allow the state of California and private anti-gun groups to impose a national definition of what constitutes a “firearm” on every city and state in the U.S. And it would deny Americans the ability to self-craft firearms free from governor interference, effectively banning a right that dates back before earliest days of the republic.  

“Individuals have been hand-crafting firearms since before the right to keep and bear those arms was protected by the U.S. Constitution in the Second Amendment,” notes MSLF Attorney Cody J. Wisniewski, who heads up the foundation’s recently -launched Center to Keep and Bear Arms. “The mass production of guns that came later meant that fewer Americans needed to build their own arms, but technological developments don’t change the rights of all Americans.”   

“Americans have always valued ingenuity and self-sufficiency over the culture of control,” added Wisniewski, “and preserving that tradition of self-reliance is what we’re fighting for here.” 

Follow this link to see this filing.  

Follow this link to see a case summary.