SCOTUS Refuses to Hear NFA Challenge in Suppressor Case
Washington, D.C. –-(Ammoland.com)-The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected the appeal of two Kansas men charged with various violations of the Nation Firearms Act of 1934. SCOTUS will not hear their case, Kettler V. United States.
The justices did not offer a reason to why they will not hear the appeal of the men who acted within Kansas law, but outside federal regulations. Attorney Generals of seven states joined the men in urging SCOTUS to hear the case.
Jeremy Kettler, who is a disabled Army veteran, purchased a suppressor from a military surplus store run by Shane Cox to protect his hearing. Kettler damaged his hearing while fighting for the US in the military. He wanted to prevent further damage to his eardrums.
Cox assembled and sold the suppressors in Kansas. Cox believed what he was doing was legal since the suppressors were not sold to out of state residents and marked as “Made In Kansas.” He assured Kettler that was not a violation of the law to own the unserialized suppressors as long as it did not leave the state.
The men believed the Kansas law known as the Second Amendment Protection Act protected them from the National Firearms Act, much like states have been making their own immigration and drug laws that run afoul of federal law. Kettler uploaded a Facebook video on the device which caught the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms and Tobacco (BATF).
The ATF raided Cox’s store and charged him with illegal manufacturing and selling of unregistered suppressors. Federal authorities charged Kettler with possession of an unregistered suppressor. The courts convicted both men. Kettler was looking at ten years in federal prison but received one-year probation.
They would appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of The United States. The court would uphold the conviction. The men appealed because the lower court did not allow them to use the Second Amendment Protection Act as a defense. They also argued that the Second Amendment applied to suppressors and other gun accessories.
Another issue in the case was the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) itself. To own a suppressor in compliance with the NFA, gun owners must pay a $200 tax stamp fee. Legal scholars have argued that it is direct taxation on the right to bear arms.
In Murdock v. Pennsylvania SCOTUS ruled that Pennsylvania could not tax a right. In the case, a Jehovah’s Witness was soliciting donations for literature door to door. The state imposed a licensing fee on the missionary which SCOTUS ruled was unconstitutional since it was a direct taxation of a right.
Gun Owners of America (GOA) back up the Kettler going as far as setting up a legal fund for the disabled vet. Erich Pratt, the executive director of GOA, expressed disappointment in the court’s decisions.
“The decision by the Supreme Court to deny cert in the Kettler case is deeply disappointing,” Pratt said in a released statement. “Jeremy Kettler was a victim of Eric Holder’s Justice Department, who prosecuted a disabled veteran for a ‘crime’ where no one was hurt, injured or killed.”
SCOTUS has been hesitant on taking up gun cases since the landmark Heller decision against Washington D.C.’s DeFacto on handguns. The court ruled that the right to bear arms is an individual right, and D.C. was violating the Constitution.
Since that decision, SCOTUS has only taken up one firearms case. In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. The city of New York, the NYSRPA is suing the city over their firearms travel ban that prevents residents of NYC from taking their guns outside the city even if it is to a second residence. The court is expected to hear oral arguments in the fall.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.