Federal Judge Strikes Down Ban on Interstate Handgun Transfers

Attorney General Eric Holder

On Feb. 11, a federal judge struck down a ban involving interstate handgun transfers. In the case of Mance v. Holder, the judge applied the legal standard of “strict scrutiny” to determine whether a ban on such transfers is constitutional. It isn’t. The decision could have far-reaching ramifications.

Mance v. Holder involved individual plaintiffs residing in the District of Columbia and Texas and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
The plaintiff for which the suit was named is Fredric Russell Mance, Jr., a federally licensed firearms dealer in Arlington, Texas, and District of Columbia residents Andrew and Tracey Hanson. All are members of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which was also a plaintiff and which funded the suit. “Holder” in
Appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder, Jones has been the ATF's acting director since 2011.
ATF Director B. Todd Jones
the suit name is U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; also named as a defendant was BATFE Director B. Todd Jones.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, wrote, “(T)he Court finds that the federal interstate handgun transfer ban burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment.” “The federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unique compared to other firearms restrictions because it does not target certain people (such as felons or the mentally ill), conduct (such as carrying firearms into government buildings or schools), or distinctions among certain classes of firearms (such as fully automatic weapons or magazine capacity),” O’Connor wrote, adding the ban “targets the entire national market of handgun sales and directly burdens law-abiding, responsible citizens who seek to complete otherwise lawful transactions for handguns.” Virginia attorney Alan Gura and Texas attorney William B. “Bill” Mateja of Fish & Richardson in Dallas represented CCRKBA and the individual plaintiffs.

“It is bizarre and irrational to destroy the national market for an item that Americans have a fundamental right to purchase,” Gura said. “Americans would never tolerate a ban on the interstate sale of books or contraceptives. And Americans are free to buy rifles and shotguns outside their state of residence, so long as the dealers respect the laws of the buyer’s home state. We’re gratified that the court agreed that handguns should be treated no differently.”

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Comments (44)

  1. There is nothing reasonable about gun control ‘lite’ or any other level of 2nd Amend. suppression. It’s just the work of politicians who skirt or ignore our rights to get votes from the ‘we’re all gona die’ crazies.

  2. Ok, while visiting north carolina, my wife and i were strolling the streets of statesville and passed a pawn/gun shop. Lets go see what they have.
    my wife focused on a 22 cal 4 shot revolver and wanted to buy it. No problem, go to the sherrif and get a permit.
    we went and were told we needed to be a city resident. Bummer…
    went back to the shop and informed the agent, Oh, I assumed you were a resident, I cant sell it.
    she looks up on the wall and sees a wooden stock rifle and asks what it is.
    That is an AK-47. That I can sell over the counter with a phone call.
    she decides to ‘call’ him and says ok. 10 minutes later we left with 2 semi auto rifles, M-P 22 and a rock river AR-15, 4 magazines (30 round) and 4 boxes of shells. She was amazed, she could not get the 22 revolver with 4 shot capacity, but 2 rifles, 60 rounds of magazine capacity and 100 rounds. Where is the logic there?
    she is VERY pleased with the MP, as. Am I with the AR..

  3. Sadly the “DUMB MAJORITY” is running the “US of A” into a deep hole of worthlessness. This once great nation is no longer the country the world respects and trust’s.”We The People” are no longer served by the people we voted for and trusted to run this country the right way.
    “We The People” are now serving our elected “Masters in Washington”. Who only serve themselves. Too many of the “DUMB MAJORITY”, are too busy with their own life problems to concern themselves with the running of this nation and it’s problems. Thus the continued lowering of the American standard of living. The “bar of life” that was once set high in America, is now so low, you need to crawl on your belly to get under it.There are too few of us “SMART MINORITY” to make the changes this country needs to put America back on top. Our numbers are too few to make the difference with a vote.The only way for the “SMART MINORITY” to help right the continuing wrongs of this country. Is by a BLOODY REVOLT. YES, BLOOD must be spilled to thin down the numbers of the “DUMB MAJORITY”. So the “DUMB MAJORITY” will become the “DUMB FEW”. That is the only way I see this once great country, becoming a great nation again.

    Tyranny has many faces, right now the “DUMB MAJORITY” is one of them.

    1. All we have to be ready to do is fight the Army and take back the country by force of arms, like the founding fathers did when the British ran it. But, we aren’t going to. We can’t, we will never have the force and we will never be able to counter their propaganda. We gave up the schools and colleges long ago.

  4. One judge in fifty years of constant legal harassment is not going to save the system. I see only armed rebellion in the future for the nation, tho I certainly don’t recommend it, the left is far to unyielding in their attacks on the Constitution. Why do I live in a nation where the entire realm of higher education is controlled by Marxist?


    1. If armed rebellion becomes our only remaining choice then we will have already lost. With UAV’s firing Hellfire missiles from 24,000 feet, there is no chance to win.

      Our only chance is to keep making the good argument in public and in court. Bill Whittle did an excellent job in his YouTube video “Number One with a Gun.”

    2. No disrespect Daniel but you are assuming the military is on the side of Tyranny and maybe that would be the case. Personally I think if the attitude is why fight for our rights because we are going to lose then fighting through channels is also a waste. I am not by any means hoping for conflict and hope we can regain or liberties through peaceful means but I also know that the chances of that are not good.
      A few years back a bunch of farmers, bums and shop keeper took on a super power, the greatest military on earth and created a new nation.

    3. Certainly early on the military will take orders from the commander in chief and do what they are ordered to do to quell any home-grown “terrorists.” Either in an advisory role to other agencies or directly if Congress adjusts the Posse Comitatus Act again.

      If you are going to convince the people who fly UAVs to not shoot targets on American soil, well, you are back into the realm of convincing people, not armed rebellion. The advantage to convincing the military and civilians of all walks is that you do not have to target every would-be evil leader: they find the convinced culture puts up barriers to them at every step.

    4. I pray it never comes to that. Meanwhile, the number of states pushing for a states convention is growing. Of course, that is a concern that at such a convention, the Constitution might be revised in ways we may not like.

      As for the armed resistance. The vast majority of military veterans will not side with the government. A good share of them already hate Obama and his agenda. Of the active duty ones, historically, 80% of the armed forces and their families are conservatives. Of law enforcement officers across the nation, they overwhelmingly rejected gun controls. Likely because the majority of them are conservatives who support the rule of law when Obama and crew are showing they don’t. Veterans, police officers, hunters are well trained in the arts necessary to fight a war (cover and concealment, shooting and survival, etc). The vast majority of gun owners are conservatives, while the progressives are dependent on the police and armed forces to fight for them.

      When the government fires the first shots which take American lives, all heII is going to break loose among the growing numbers of “militia”. Numbers which are growing because of the government’s conduct.

      Don’t worry about the drones. Vets know that what is really important is the supply line of fuel, parts, food, etc. Cut those and things like drones and tanks and aircraft become heavy objects for holding patches of ground in place. Many of us may be aging, but we still remember our training and experience.

      Remember, a small group of revolutionaries beat the most powerful, best trained, and experienced army in the world to form a new nation. the VC and NVA kicked the butz of France and the USA. Russia got handed it’s walking papers in Afghanistan. We got beaten down in Iraq, etc.

      I can not beat the opposition, but We the People CAN!

    5. Great post Dave W.
      I believe that every thing leading up to such a conflict would force people to choose side. By the time something actually happened you would find large numbers of GI Joes on both sides. It is really not much different than 1865, right. In 1864 all military was considered US government Military. In 65 things had changed a bit.

    6. DaveW,, I cannot agree more. Most law enforcement/military are already on our side and will not only make the moves needed to nullify much of their apparatus, but will deliver this same equipment into the hands of sane/sober Patriots,rendering those in the Fed gov drunk on their lust for power as they truly are. Weak and useless. Those pussies use to others doing their dirty work are harmless, once the masses stop enforcing un-just laws in violation of not only Const rights & civil liberties, but Human rights as well. Those of us who are truly Citizens, not merely residents of this Republic have all read our founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence. The last few lines state clearly what our Civic Duty is, and we understand fully the meaning and implications of the text.
      ”We will NOT COMPLY” History shows that those with home field advantage do not need to ”Win” Restoration of our Nation and subjecting those who would destroy her to ”due process” only requires us to never give up or give in,, no longer back up or back down, from those who’s only real ”weapons” are fear and intimidation. Those of us who’s families have all died off offer nothing for the feds to coerce us with, to threaten us with. There is nothing they can do to stop us from defending our Republic. Any/all force used by citizens will be inversely proportional to that used by Federal and/or UN forces to deprive us of life & liberty, and any/all foreign forces on US soil attempting to oppress our populace will be treated as the evading forces that they are and handled accordingly.
      They can,, and will call us many things. But they can never say that we are traitors to the principles of Human Liberty. In the end,, WE the People shall be the ones writing our History, not the political Progressives who only seek our nations destruction. They have already failed, only they are far too arrogant to see clearly. And this fact is one of our greatest advantages.

    7. Lets get something straight , charlie did not kick our azzsez in Nam , Washington DC did that by micromanaging the war through political expediency . Do you really think they would have had a chance if we were given carte blanche to operate with the best interests of the military in mind . And don’t forget that was a proxy war between us and the Chinese / Russians. Don’t misunderstand me , I do not take issue with the premise that a well organized Fire Team can wreak holy havoc on an entire platoon or even a battalion sized enemy, not to mention what could be done by infiltration. But the important battlefield decisions in Viet Nam were being called by a bunch of political HACKS !

    8. Bruce I hate to say it but I only see 2 options for the future also because I do not believe our elected officials will do anything positive. 1. is continue complaining and wait until its all gone or 2. armed rebellion. The administration is banking on the first option but preparing for the second option. The question that remains is… Is there a last straw? Is there a point breaking point, a red line if you like that will force the confrontation that will start it all.

  5. Trying to eliminate M855 ammunition for AR-15 is as ridiculous as banning the purchase of AK-47 rifles as long as they are not of the fully automatic function. There are many patents purchase from Russian Kalashnikov manufacture that you can still pickup an AD-47 from a different country or for that matter those manufactured here in the USA.

  6. IN AZ and NV we can Buy Long guns from out of State especially if you are Buying and live in another state. Calif is the Only State that I Know of you can not. All Fire arm purchases are Shipped via FFL TF License Shops. Get rid of the LBJ Ant 1968 may have a gun law and we can Go back to America Normal. But it is too late. I see Anarchy and chaos in the near future,IF CONGRESS does not do its job !

  7. In My state, Maryland, before you can buy or even transport a handguns you must aquire a Handgun Qualification License (HQL) This costs at least $200 up to $550.

  8. This is a case where another judge made a common sense decision and found the 10 day waiting period for anyone who already owns guns or has a CCW is a burden which serves no purpose. After all, if you were going to do something bad, why bother to go buy a new gun when you already have one (or more) to use?

    We, here in California, are awaiting this to go into affect, as the judge stayed the ruling for 6 months in order to allow negative inputs before implementation. The state failed to participate in the first case, but is now attempting to fight the ruling after being told by the judge that they had failed to file in a timely manner.

    The state, as the federal administration does, seeks to circumvent both the Constitution and the Supreme Court rulings, by imposing onerous requirements, and limiting the availability of things like ammo. In California, presently, all handguns are required to have the ability to micro-stamp shell casings which can easily be defeated. Every “approved” firearm must be submitted to the state and pass various tests, and the manufacturer must pay a fee and continue paying that annual fee to keep that weapon approved. Any minor change to a specific weapon requires a separate submission. I call this “restraint of trade”.

  9. So am I understanding this to mean that as a Tennessee resident I can now purchase a handgun in Alabama and just undergo the Background check in Alabama at time of purchase without having to have the firearm shipped to an FFL here in TN first?

    1. Not so fast… the appeals process will need to churn for a while before this gets recognized as the law of the land. I have no idea what court Mr Holder and company can address for remediation, but I’m certain that they do. If ever there was a firearms case that deserved SCOTUS attention, this is it.

      I’d wait for the second shoe to fall before shopping out of state for my next handgun.

    2. The whole purpose of all of these gun laws is to make sure “THE BLACK” is not allowed to have a firearm for his own ,or his families, protection. It is ironic that 40 years ago Holder and Jones could very well have been hanging from some tree, in the south, were there no guns in their community, to protect them. You can be sure that they go nowhere with armed protection.

    3. PROPTOP by all means lets make a race issue. Would you care to explain what laws are trying to keep “the Black” from getting a gun? Who is it that wants to keep guns from the Black?
      The Black appears to be able to get guns as easy as anyone else.

    1. As a snow bird myself, from NH to Florida, i found a Colt anaconda, box, papers and on test fired from colt. I found it advertised on armslist from a seller from SC, so I met up from the seller and bought.
      I didn’t think we did anything illegal. I kinda thought i could buy from anyone in anyplace as long as it’s just 2 people selling and buying a firearm. That’s the advantage of being a snow bird, driving from state to state. I’m now looking again so when i leave FL to NH to find another gun.. We just did a quick bill of sale with gun serial number and drivers license info and bang, that’s it.

    2. I believe that both you and the seller broke federal law when you made that transaction. And it’s not a good idea posting illegal activities on a public forum. If you can’t delete it see if you can get the site owners to do it for you. And don’t buy another handgun out of state until you’re sure it’s legal.

    3. Chuck I do not believe any laws were broken unless one of the parties is an FFL holder. Otherwise this is just a sale of personal property between 2 willing parties . That applies to Federal Law. I have no idea about any State Laws that may have been broken, but I am inclined to believe that no states have such laws.

    4. Actually in California, it is illegal to do a private party transfer without going through an FFL and waiting the 10 days. of course you also have to posses either the previously issued HSC ( Handgun Safety Certificate) or the Newly required FSC (Firearm Safety Certificate now required for all gun purchases) on you when you pick it up.

    5. @Rob…the entire case in the article above was about the U.S. Code prohibiting non-FFL holding individuals and FFL holding individuals from selling across state lines…so while the appeal plays out, what Gregory did was a violation of:

      18 U.S. Code § 922 – Unlawful acts
      “(a) It shall be unlawful—…
      (3) for any person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to transport into or receive in the State where he resides (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, the State where it maintains a place of business) any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State, except that this paragraph (A) shall not preclude any person who lawfully acquires a firearm by bequest or intestate succession in a State other than his State of residence from transporting the firearm into or receiving it in that State, if it is lawful for such person to purchase or possess such firearm in that State, (B) shall not apply to the transportation or receipt of a firearm obtained in conformity with subsection (b)(3) of this section, and (C) shall not apply to the transportation of any firearm acquired in any State prior to the effective date of this chapter;”

      Bottom line…ask a lawyer before purchasing a firearm (handgun) out of state from an individual.

  10. I get more and more of a grin about this each time I think about it. Maybe our efforts are on a roll … (???)

    Now on to repeal the illegal and paranoid Hughes Act and maybe we can finally get our American rights back where they actually should be !!!

  11. Even judges can not Amend the Constitution by ruling.
    Our Constitution states, the peoples right to keep and bear arms,
    Therefore, for that right to be infringed in any way, requires
    an AMENDMENT not Government Aristocratic Rulings or Laws.

    1. And yet, politicians and judges have been creating new laws and eroding the Constitution for many decades. At least as early as the National Firearms Act with regard to firearms, when Congress limited the 2nd Amendment by legislation and in violation of the Constitutional mandate for how changes to rights must be affected (ie by amendment involving the whole of the people whose rights are being changed).

      It is nice to see some judges using common sense and respecting the Constitution and the People.

  12. How awesome! This Judge handed Eric Holder and the ATF Director their asses on a silver platter. I read the entire decision and this judge ruled against Holder on every single motion. Usually judges give a little something to both sides, but not in this case. 100% of every argument and sub-argument was won by the plaintiffs.

    This judge went out of his way to ensure Holder was unable to detract from the fact that this was a violation of the Second Amendment. But the best part of this ruling is how it simply wipes out an entire Federal Statute that has been enforced since 1968 with a single sentence, and I quote:

    “Based on the foregoing, it is ORDERED that… 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 (Eric Holder & ATF Director) are ENJOINED from enforcing these provisions.”

    Essentially it was ruled that this 1968 law, which was only intended to target criminals, instead targets all U.S. citizens and therefore is a violation of our Second Amendment rights. Specifically it was forcing citizens to go through 2 NICS checks at additional cost to the consumer any time they physically purchased a handgun while out-of-state.

    The first check of course is at the point-of-purchase, but then they must pay to ship the gun to another FFL in their state and undergo a second NICS check with that FFL in their state who will of course charge an additional fee. That entire process was found UNCONSTITUTIONAL as of this order.

    1. You are wrong. You dont have to have a check ran when you buy an item, it is only done at the last point of pickup with that FFL. If they are running two NICS checks they are doing it wrong. For instance, if I see a handgun I want to purchase in Texas, but live in KS, my NICS check is done in Kansas, because that is the last point of pickup, whereas I can pay for it in TX. Its the same thing with online purchases.

      You should probably do some research before you spout off facts that are incorrect 😉

    2. The plaintiffs challenged the law for “handgun sales that do not violate any state or local laws”, which the court agree are protected sales. So whether you live in Wyoming where no background check is required and face-to-face transfers are allowed, or you live in California where an out of state FFL must send the handgun to a California FFL before the background check and 10-day waiting period begins, the rule is the same: follow the rules of the state where the transfer ends.

    3. Both these administration commies are entirely against the constitution and individual rights. It’s nice to know that there is at least one judge that will risk his (of her,tee hee) career to uphold the law of the land. We haven’t seen this for nearly eighty years!

  13. Seems odd a judge that would rule for the peoples right to buy
    hand guns would state in his ruling that other infringments on the
    2nd Amendment are Constitutional

    1. It is not that odd. Read the Heller decision, where the court said that the rights under the 2nd Amendment are no “absolute” (no right is absolute). The list the judge used was pretty much the same list the Supreme Court said was the limit on the government’s power — reasonable restrictions on commercial sales, keeping guns away from felons and the mentally ill, and keeping guns out of sensitive places like schools and government buildings.

      My concern in what the judge said was the magazine capacity BS. There is NO WAY mag limits are constitutional, under the Miller “in common use at the time” standard applied in Heller. Because standard capacity mags are in common use, they cannot be prohibited.

    2. Read Miller where SCOTUS ruled against sawed off shotguns saying that they were not weapons typically carried to fight wars. That infers that individual weapons used to fight wars were acceptable in the hands of private citizens.

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