Wyoming Man Sues For Right To Make His Own M16 Machine Gun

in U.S. District Court for Wyoming/Guns/News

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By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter

A Wapiti man who wants to make a machine gun is suing the U.S. government for denying his application to do so, saying a federal anti-machine gun law violates his Second Amendment right.  

Jake Stanley DeWilde filed a federal complaint in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming last week, asking for the court to issue a declaration against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  

The Argument

DeWilde’s complaint says that on Dec. 8, 2022, he submitted an ATF form asking to make and register an M16 machine gun. But 12 days later, the ATF denied his application, citing federal law that forbids both the transfer and possession of machine guns.  

The statute doesn’t apply to U.S. government and military forces or machine guns owned before 1986.  

The lawsuit relies on case law from 2008, District of Columbia vs. Heller, and 2022 case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. vs. Bruen. 

These cases together indicate that guns cannot be considered “dangerous and unusual,” and therefore legitimately unlawful if the guns are in “common use,” DeWilde says in his complaint.   

DeWilde argues that because the M16 is in “common use” by the U.S. military, it should be made legal for the nation’s citizenry. He also argues that his Second Amendment right has been violated.  

“Plaintiff desires to own an M16 machine gun for all lawful purposes, including defense of hearth and home and militia functions,” reads the complaint, which then asks the U.S. District Court for Wyoming to proclaim the ATF and the nation’s attorney general in violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  

DeWilde filed the lawsuit on his own behalf without legal counsel.  

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