Amicus Brief: Gun Owners of America, Inc., et al., v. Merrick B. Garland, et al.


The district court upheld ATF’s 2018 determination that non-mechanical bump stocks are properly classified as machine guns, ruling that ATF’s construction of 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b) is entitled to deference under Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984). As Appellant Gun Owners of America, Inc. explained in its opening brief, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining LLP v. Renewable Fuels Ass’n, 141 S. Ct. 2172, 2180 (2021), conclusively demonstrates that Chevron is inapplicable when, as here, the federal government has affirmatively declined to invoke Chevron.

Amici write separately to focus on an independent reason why Chevron is inapplicable: the government’s interpretations of criminal statutes are not entitled to deference. When construed without placing a thumb on the scale in favor of either party, § 5845(b) does not include non-mechanical bump stocks within the definition of machine guns.

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CASE: Gun Owners of America, Inc., et al., v. Merrick B. Garland, et al.

COURT: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

DOCUMENT: No. 19-1298

COUNSEL FOR AMICUS CURIAE: Richard Samp, Caleb Kruckenberg

FILED: August 2, 2021


August 2, 2021 | Amicus Curiae Brief of W. Clark Aposhian, Michael Cargill, the New Civil Liberties Alliance, and Cato Institute in Support of Appellants and Reversal
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