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Amicus Briefs

Gun Owners of America v. Garland

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has promulgated a Final Rule classifying bump stocks as “machineguns” without authority from Congress to redefine that term. Gun Owners of America and several other organizations and individuals filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, asking the Supreme Court to settle a widespread lower-court disagreement over (1) whether the definition of “machinegun” found in the relevant statute is clear, unambiguous and encompasses bump stocks; (2) whether Chevron deference applies to statutes with criminal penalties; and (3) whether courts may apply Chevron deference to an agency interpretation of federal law when the federal government declines to invoke it.

NCLA filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the cert petition that raises the same Chevron­-related questions that NCLA’s August 2021 cert petition presented in Aposhian v. Garland. The lower court’s decision to defer to an agency’s interpretation of a statute with criminal applications raises serious constitutional concerns and warrants review. The district court, whose judgment was affirmed by an equally divided Sixth Circuit (8-8), held that ATF’s construction of the statute in question was entitled to Chevron deference without pausing to consider that virtually all the statute’s applications are criminal in nature. That holding directly conflicted with decisions from the Second and Ninth Circuits, which have held that federal agencies’ interpretations of criminal statutes may not receive judicial deference.

Mark Chenoweth
President and Chief Legal Officer

Brief Amicus Curiae of the New Civil Liberties Alliance in Support of Petitioners

April 7, 2022 | Read More

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

August 2, 2021 | Read More


NCLA Amicus Brief Supports SCOTUS Cert Petition Targeting Lower Court Split on Chevron Deference

April 8, 2022 | Read More



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