Amicus briefs hope to save serial number requirement

Amicus briefs hope to save serial number requirement
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Earlier this year, following the Bruen decision, a federal court in West Virginia issued a ruling that stunned a lot of people. It found that the federal requirement that firearms have serial numbers was unconstitutional, particularly based on the text and history approach outlined in Bruen.


Needless to say, a lot of people freaked out over it.

Also needless to say, that was never going to be the end of it. It was going to go up the judicial system, and amicus briefs defending the ban have been filed.

In a previous article on AmmoLand, the West Virginia case was described where the federal ban on possession of a firearm with the serial number removed, was found to be unconstitutional. The case is USA v Randy Price.

Serial numbers were never designed as a means of confiscating firearms. They have been subverted for that purpose.

Demanding that firearms have serial numbers and that those numbers are not removed so that firearms can be linked to particular individuals is key to setting up a system for gun confiscation. Those who wish for an unarmed population understand this. They have marshaled vast resources to keep the federal ban on possessing firearms that have had the serial number removed.

The Biden administration has appealed the district court ruling to the Fourth Circuit. The defendant is represented by an attorney appointed by the court. It is unclear what defense of the district court ruling will be heard by the Fourth Circuit.

Amicus briefs have been filed to reverse the district court ruling by:

The amicus briefs may be viewed on the PACER system.

In the District Court opinion, no attention was paid to the direct and clear threat requiring firearms to have serial numbers and the prohibition on possessing firearms where the serial number has been removed to maintain an armed population.

A ban on firearms with serial numbers removed is a direct seizure of power over the ownership of arms, which the Second Amendment is designed to protect against.


Author Dean Weingarten makes a valid point. Without a serial number, gun registration simply isn’t a thing. Sure, they can register a Glock 19 to you, but do they know which Glock 19?

I’ll be honest, when I first heard about the West Virginia ruling, I was a bit uneasy. After all, when I think of serial numbers, I think of guns being recovered from thieves. Allow obliterated serial numbers, though, means stolen guns may well never return to their rightful owners.

But then I also thought about what Weingarten points out, that a serial number is a requirement for any kind of gun registration.

I don’t blame gun companies who will put serial numbers on guns no matter what. That whole “theft” thing is, in fact, a thing.

I blame the governments that pass these laws without comprehending that the Second Amendment doesn’t have exceptions.

Gun control groups will file their amicus briefs, but I can’t imagine that they really make a valid case in line with the text and history standard laid out by the Supreme Court in Bruen. The Court isn’t generally big on overturning established precedence as a general rule, though they will in some cases (see also: Dobson), but they’re damn sure not going to overturn the precedence they just established.


That doesn’t mean they won’t uphold the ban, necessarily, but it’ll be interesting to see the rationalization if they do.

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