This photo shows the defaced serial number on a Smith & Wesson .38 Special in Mountainside, N.J. Stored for the past 50 years in attics, closets and a bank safe-deposit box in New Jersey, the gun belonging to former IRS criminal investigations agent Michael Malone _ and possibly used by members of Al Capone’s gang. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) By LKB
When the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision was issued, even I was pleasantly surprised at the breadth of Justice Thomas’ opinion and its probable implications. By focusing strictly on whether particular limits on Second Amendment rights were historically recognized (and invalidating those that are not), the table was set for potential wholesale invalidations of many gun control laws.
In the short time that Bruen has been the law of the land, it is already bearing tangible results. Courts have struck down bans on the carrying of guns by 18 to 21-year-olds and local laws on the possession of firearms. More recently, New York’s petulant legislative response to losing in Bruen is being eviscerated . Now another shoe has dropped. In United States v. Price , a district court in West Virginia considered whether bans on firearm possession by felons and possession of firearms with obliterated serial numbers were constitutional. While finding that the law barring convicted felons from possessing guns was justified under Bruen , the court found that the laws against removing the serial number on a firearm, or possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number were not .
As Judge Joseph R. Goodwin wrote . . .
Firearms with no serial number are just as “bearable” as the same firearm with a serial number, and there is no “common use” issue here as the presence or lack of a serial number makes no difference with respect to whether the type […]
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