DOJ Files Brief Seeking to Overturn Mance v. Lynch 

U.S. Law Shield

U.S. Law Shield saw that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed its opening brief with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Mance v. Lynch. The case has caused remarkably little news coverage for the impact it could have.

The case was originally styled Mance v Holder, the latter name being former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. His replacement as AG is Loretta Lynch. The named plaintiff is Fredric Russell Mance, Jr., a federal firearms licensee (“FFL”) who retails firearms from his business in Arlington, Texas. Other plaintiffs suing the government are Andrew and Tracey Hanson, a husband and wife, who are residents of the District of Columbia and are legally eligible to purchase and possess firearms.U.S. Law Shield Mance, the Hansons, and co-plaintiff Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms sued because: On June 21, 2014, the Hansons met with Mance to purchase two handguns. Mance could not sell and deliver the handguns directly to the Hansons because it was illegal to do so under 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(3) and 27 C.F.R. § 478.99(a). Instead, the only option available to the Hansons and Mance was to transfer the handguns to the only FFL in the District of Columbia, Charles Sykes (“Sykes”), who would then complete the sale. The transfer to Sykes would require a $125-fee per transfer as well as shipping costs. Sykes does not carry his own inventory of firearms. In summary, the Hansons would pay Mance for the firearms in Texas, pay the costs associated with Mance shipping the firearms to Sykes in the District of Columbia, and then retrieve the firearms from Sykes after paying him a $125 transfer fee per firearm.  U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas found the federal interstate handgun transfer ban unconstitutional.

In the decision, Judge O’Connor wrote that the law could not pass the “strict scrutiny test” that he applied. He wrote, no “founding-era thinking that contemplated that interstate, geography-based, or residency-based firearm restrictions would be acceptable,” and that the law “directly burdens law-abiding, responsible citizens who seek to complete otherwise lawful transactions for handguns.” DOJ argues in its appeal that under the Heller Supreme Court decision, the handgun-transfer provisions are lawful qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms that do not substantially burden Second Amendment rights, including the core right to defend oneself in one’s home.

Law Shield supports the ruling and language of the district court. But as a refresher, here’s the bottom line from the decision: “Accordingly, the Court DECLARES that 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3), 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(3), and 27 C.F.R. § 478.99(a) are UNCONSTITUTIONAL, and Defendants are ENJOINED from enforcing these provisions.” That is sweet legal music for gun proponents.

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Comments (37)

  1. When The dealer I used retired last year, I asked him what would happen to his records. He said they were shipped to some place in Florida. I think he said Orleando. I regret that I didn’t get more info then. Any FFls out there clarify this?

  2. Perhaps DOJ should attempt to read and understand the very simple wording of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

  3. all the forms you fill out for a back ground check are held with the ffl dealer! however if the dealer goes out of business all of his forms have to be sent to the batf
    the $125 fee should be criminal my ffl charges me a flat $15 per transfer trust me he has gotten plenty of my money!

  4. Anyone with a FFL who transfers firearms must keep every signed copy of the 4473s and a firearms transaction log. When the FFL license becomes inactive due to death or business closure, the BATF shows up and confiscates all these records. No one seems to know what happens to those records after BATF takes them.

  5. You know, IF I were unfortunate enough to live in DC (where there seems to be a gross lack of common sense from the municipal level all the way up to the top – If you can call it that now days), I think I would save all those $125 payments and, instead, put them in my relocation fund. Some way, some how, I’d get the ‘copulate’ out of there!

    And, as another commenter mentioned, I’d be dang sure to avoid Maryland. Remember the harrassment case from Baltimore where a Florida family, on their way back home, was detained and tormented for hours and hours because the “daddy” held a CCL from Florida? It seemed to me that the Gray thing in April just might have been the long arm of Karma reaching out from Florida to put the shoe on the other foot! . . . . . And, it seemed to fit so nicely, didn’t it?

    1. @Festus.

      Well said on all points.

      If you live in a commie/Nazi state . . . move out! Why stay there and suffer the disadvantages of their Liberal mindset and have no voice in their politics because you’re in such a minority that your vote doesn’t matter? One of the other threads on TSL is a discussion of the LA ban on standard capacity mags, and people say they’ll never turn in their mags . . . and, good for them, I wouldn’t either. But even better, get the heck out of there.

      I was forced to live in CA for a few months after getting out of the Army, I was also in a tight spot where I had to live in MD for a year. Did I stay in either? No! Do what you have to do in order to move.

      And, yes, Baltimore is getting exactly what it deserves. Have you ever noticed that the more these Liberal states clamp down on legal gun owners, the higher their murder rate goes?

    2. Many in D.C. live there because of proximity to the US government and international embassies, which many people maintain their livelihoods with. The $125 cost may have been chickenfeed to these people, as long as they could get their guns. They won in the end, so why would they even think of moving. Have you ever looked at some of the mansions in DC? Why would they leave?

  6. I tried to buy a gun (in person) at Cabela’s in Kansas City a couple years ago, but they wouldn’t sell it to me because I wasn’t a Kansas resident, and they wouldn’t sell it to my daughter who was with me and IS a Kansas resident because that would have been an obvious straw purchase. The only way they would sell it to me was to pay for it and have it shipped to an FFL dealer in Indiana — same as an Internet or telephone purchase. Anyone know if that kind of problem will be solved if this decision is upheld? It seems to me that Internet purchases would still have to ship to an FFL dealer to do the background check.

    1. @Retired Navy Spook; I suspect that retail FFL has been setup for the fall by over-zealous Fed’s that “created” a supposed criminal purchase. Our law enforcement system can be about as corrupt as out elected criminals in DC.

    2. If it’s upheld then nothing changes. Only if it’s reversed. The way that you bought the gun was the same way the couple from DC bought their guns. It’s the only legal way to do it, unless you buy from a private seller at a gun show.

  7. $125 per gun is price gouging pure and simple. Just because he’s the only game in town. I believe there are laws against that, too.

    1. Most people that live in DC are quite wealthy. $125 would be the cost of a hamburger to them.

    2. @ John Jones

      Actually, although the AVERAGE income in DC is pretty high because of the astronomical salaries of politicians and government workers ($93,637), the MEDIAN income isn’t much different from the US median ($59,980) because so many of the 624,000 residents are welfare recipients. Of course, although you can legally own a gun there, its incredibly complex and difficult. Of course, the scum bags are well armed because they just steal theirs in neighboring states or get them on the street.

      On the other hand, demographically, the national average murder ranking score is figured at a value of 100 (this is not a statistical figure, but a score to determine relative rates of murder for different locations). DC has a score of 653. So, in spite of its very strict gun laws, or more like it because of them, a person is 6.5 times, or 653% more likely to be murdered in DC than the national average.

  8. The transfer fee must vary significantly by state. I’ve purchased a couple guns from CTD and had them shipped to an FFL dealer close to me, and the transfer fee was $30. On both purchases the 7% Indiana sales tax saved was more than enough to pay the transfer fee.

    1. The transfer fee has nothing to do with the state — the transfer fee is whatever the FFL thinks he can get people to pay. In Washington DC there is only one FFL so he gets away with making a $125 pure profit on every gun anyone in the district buys, without putting one penny of his own money into inventory or taking any of the usual risks of a real gun shop.

    2. My dealer/range here in VA charges $25 for a transfer. I’m sure he’s made at least a couple of hundred dollars off me in transfer fees alone. 😉

  9. Seems like I have had to go through the same hoops to make purchases although the dollar amount might be different. I have always wondered about the record keeping required of such purchases. I have always been informed that no database can be kept by the Feds and the form filled out at the licensed retailer remains on the premises. If the court has enjoined the feds then at the very least purchases can presently be made in the area covered by the 5th Circuit. What about backdoor registration through the form filled out for background checks?

    1. If you think a record is not kept whenever you purchase a gun, naiveus maxus.
      Records are kept of your background check in 36 computer databases.
      Name, address, SS, fingerprint, every other item on the form you filled out.
      36 databases computers. Try Wikileaks some time.

    2. Sorry pal you are quite wrong on that.
      I work at a friends gun shop in Michigan.

      When you fill out the 4473 for a firearm (including things such as suppressors, receivers and the like) The form DOES STAY ON THE PREMISES! At no time is any part of it sent or transmitted to any branch of government.

      The only time the ATF would see the form is if they actually came to the store and did an audit or wanted a certain form from one person. And that usually means that there is also some sort of criminal case going on that we are not privy to.


      As for the back round check, (Which here in Michigan, if you have a CPL a back round check is not required and is commonly skipped) The only information that gets transmitted to the FBI is name, address, DOB, SS#(If you choose to provide it) And if it is a rifle or pistol you are buying. THEY DO NOT GET Make, Model, caliber, or serial#

      I hope that this finally puts this myth to rest.

    3. @Dave

      Thank you, and you are correct. The forms stay with the FFL dealer.

      Yes, I suppose the ATF goons could come and demand to see all the forms for every shop in the US, but even then, it would only tell them that someone purchased the gun, but not the current disposition of said gun. Since P2P private transfers are still legal no one can prove you have it any more.

      I don’t trust our government either, but there enough actual issues to worry about without creating them.

    4. Then why does Cabela’s take your DL, SSN (if you provide it) the background form, and the rifle or pistol you intend to purchase into the back room to make the call, after writing down the weapon’s SN:# on the form?

      They are certainly preparing to hand over all that info when they make the call, to the BATFE.

      Friend of mine was a gun smith and FFL, BATFE came to do an audit, and he caught their agents taking methodical pictures of his gun-smithing log books. The books that contain info on gun owners, the SN: # of the gun and type, make, discript, caliber and info on what was done to it. All stuff he was required by law to record.

      And the Agents got pissed when he caught them and questioned their right and authority to do it. So they responded by putting a hold on his bank accounts and his father’s accounts and then tried to lean on the gun smith’s parents to get him to comply and allow them to continue to record his customer list and the make model and SN of their weapons they had brought in for repair.

    5. In Michigan when you want to by a pistol first you must obtain the purchase permit from Police Chief in city you live in then you must bring pistol in to Police Department and they record serial # and give you a permit for pistol with your name and description of weapon. I had a case in 2001 where I was transporting a legal pistol to my place of business ( my alarm went off ) and when I arrived police searched my truck and found loaded .45 Ruger. 1 Officer was aware of MI law allowing a business owner to transport a legal pistol top and from place of business but a rookie said he had me for concealed carry with out permit, Due to circumstances, burglar alarm going off at a Plumbing and Heating Company the older, wiser Officer was aware of law as was I. If I would not have spoke up I am sure I would have gotten ride to Livonia PD. ( because it was pick up truck no way to securely transport outside of cab). And in MI there are a couple of local guys my son uses for internet purchase that charge $20 Transfer Fee. That $ 120 is WAY too much.

    6. Interesting. I searched for anything like that on wikileaks, or anywhere for that matter, and I have come up dry. Do you have a link to any proof of what you are saying? I am not doubting you, but I would like to see information about this first-hand.

    7. “…no database can be kept by the Feds and the form filled out at the licensed retailer remains on the premises.” True by LAW, but it’s not exactly true in practice. I have heard many stories of BATFaces coming into a gun store and taking pictures of the records with their little spy-cams (back before HD cams on smart phones. If there’s a will, the Nazis will find a way!

  10. If the interstate handgun purchase ban is unconstitutional, that should be the end of it. When did the Constitution stop being the supreme law of the land?

    Maryland and DC are two of the worst states/districts in the USA. I live in Virginia, and they have actually tried to send people into Virginian to conduct stings on gun dealers selling them guns until our legislature passed a law making their actions subject to arrest in Virginia.

    1. Seems like I have had to go through the same hoops to make purchases although the dollar amount might be different. I have always wondered about the record keeping required of such purchases. I have always been informed that no database can be kept by the Feds and the form filled out at the licensed retailer remains on the premises. If the court has enjoined the feds then at the very least purchases can presently be made in the area covered by the 5th Circuit. What about backdoor registration through the form filled out for background checks?

    2. @ Mikial.

      As a fellow Virginian. On 11 February 2015, the Fifth District of Texas, Judge Reed O’Conner, Ruled that the Gun Control Act of 1968, WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

      Down Side, It up to appeal to the Supreme Court. So, until then Happy Purchases fellow Virginian…

    3. @Secundius


      And we love Virginia gun laws.

      The wife and I have our list of “Gotta Have” guns. Her next Gotta Have is a Sig in 9mm.

      Mine, not so simple . . . I’d like to try out one of the new Canik’s or maybe an EAA in handguns. My EDC is an XD, and I have my Glock and 1911, so looking to try out some of the new up and coming models.

      For rifles, I would love an HK.

      So many guns, so little time. 😉

  11. We can only hope and pray that the 5th Circuit Court upholds the well reasoned decision of the District Court.

  12. Does seem like an excessive price and burden on an individual just to purchase 2 handguns. Don’t know if there are any FFL Dealers close, but surely, in Maryland, there must be one.
    Have ran into such restrictive laws before. Something truly needs to be done about restrictions.

    1. @ Roy Holbert.

      There are 688 registered FFL Gun Vendors in the State of Maryland…

      (www. fflgundealers. net> browse by state)

    2. except where they live (in Washington DC) there is only one FFL holder. And DC is considered a City/State like the Vatican and Luxembourg.

    3. I am pretty sure Washington D. C. is a Federal District, not a State or Country. Federal districts are subject to their own set of rules and regulations. Like military installations/bases.

      It’s incorporated, like most other business enterprises.

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