New Supreme Court Issue: Individual Right To Machine Guns


A former Tennessee State Guard commander lost an appeal to overturn his conviction for trying to provide his soldiers with homemade machine guns for use in defending the state, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “Whatever the individual right to keep and bear arms might entail, it does not authorize an unlicensed individual to possess unregistered machine guns for personal use,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said yesterday.

Richard Hamblen was arrested in 2004 by federal firearms agents and charged with possession of nine unregistered machine guns. Hamblen argued that he and his soldiers had a Second Amendment right as members of the state militia to possess military-grade weapons. He said Tennessee's state guard arsenal included only 21 M-16 rifles for 3,500 volunteer soldiers. Hamblen plans to take his case to the Supreme Court, citing last year’s ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. The justices said, however, that individual gun rights are not unlimited and could be subject to reasonable regulations.

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