Federal Court Rules: Federal Law Making
Serialized Guns a Crime Unconstitutional

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By F Riehl. Oct 25, 2022

Tennessee – On October 12, 2022, a federal district court in West Virginia ruled that a federal law that makes it a crime to possess a firearm with an altered, obliterated or removed serial number is unconstitutional under prohibition contained in the Second Amendment. The decision was entered in United States of America v. Randy Price, No: 2:22-cr-00097.

In July 2019, local law enforcement in Charleston, West Virginia, made a traffic stop on Mr. Price's vehicle based on an alleged improper registration display. During the stop, a local law enforcement officer discovered that there was a handgun in Mr. Price's vehicle, which had an obliterated serial number. One of the federal criminal charges that arose from this traffic stop is that the federal government charged Mr. Price with a felony under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(k) and 924(a)(1)(B). for possession of a firearm with an altered, obliterated or removed serial number.

In its analysis, the federal judge relied on the United States Supreme Court's decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. In doing so the judge noted that "the Supreme Court of the United States determined that all of the lower courts had been incorrect in applying means-end scrutiny" which standard likely would have found the federal prohibition on possession of firearms with obliterated serial numbers to be a valid, constitutional government determination. Id, at p. 2

Instead, the judge followed the clear instructions from the Supreme Court in its Bruen decision. It stated, "Rather than balancing any government interest, no matter how important the interest may be in our modern society", the Supreme Court reaffirmed what it said in Heller: "Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them. Id. (quoting District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 634–35 (2008)) (emphasis in original). Because the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, only those regulations that would have been considered constitutional then can be constitutional now." Price at pp. 2-3. .....


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