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Wapiti Man’s Lawsuit to Make His Own Machine Gun Is Dismissed

A Wapiti man’s lawsuit against the U.S. Attorney General claiming that the Second Amendment grants citizens the right to make machine guns has been dismissed by Wyoming’s chief federal judge. 

Jake DeWilde sued U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives back in January for denying his permit request to craft his own M16 machine gun. DeWilde claimed the rejection violated the Second Amendment of the United States and is therefore unconstitutional. 

Because the M16 is a common firearm in the military, DeWilde argued that its manufacture and possession should be permitted in order to uphold their militia right. 

Scott Skavadahl, Wyoming’s Chief U.S. District Court Judge, claimed that the reason he couldn’t permit DeWilde’s agreement is because it opposes former U.S. Supreme Court rulings. 

In the past, courts have held that most weapons normally in use by law-abiding citizens are supported by the Second Amendment, but weapons that are considered “dangerous and unusual” must have a boundary line. In this case, the M16, would fall under the latter category.

“The Second Amendment is not a second-class right, but it also is not without limits,” wrote Skavdahl.  

Skavadahl dismissed DeWilde’s lawsuit from the federal court on Monday, writing “Plaintiff’s argument logically would demand that the entire law-abiding citizenry is permitted to possess the same weapons our armed forces use. Where is the limit? Tanks, bombs, nuclear weapons.” He continues “This is beyond outlandish, yet it is the logical result of the Plaintiff’s argument that provides no limit. The Court declines to permit such an astonishing result.”

There was another reason that Skavdahl dismissed DeWilde’s suit. DeWilde applied for the permit to craft the M16 with his trust, but when he sued the federal government, he did so as an individual without including the trust in the lawsuit. When he originally attempted to sue with his trust, the federal government told him that he could not represent his trust since he is not an attorney. 

With the denial of the permit to DeWilde’s trust’s machine gun no longer a key component in the suit, Skavadahl made his final decision. He concluded that DeWilde’s claim to having the right to make a machine gun was not solid enough to warrant standing in a federal case.

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