About Those Sweet, Sweet Supreme Court AR-15 Illustrations… By:

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We’ve been having fun with the anti-rights clowns having a meltdown over Justice Thomas and the Supreme Court citing illustrations of an AR-15 trigger group in the massive Cargill bumpstock ban decision last week. Apparently, the corporate press and their tyrant handlers hate when courts use factual information to show how things work when they decide something important that affects millions of people. Let’s take a moment to talk about how we got here and why it’s such a massive ‘white pill’ that should motivate everybody to keep fighting forward.

Thanks to over a year of work in preparation, on December 18, 2018—the same day that the ATF Final Rule banning bumpstocks was published—Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) (now called FPC Action Foundation) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the rule, Guedes v. Whitaker. Then, some other plaintiffs joined the fight and the parties briefed the motion for a preliminary injunction. Following that, on February 20, 2019, the District Court denied the motion. An appeal was immediately filed with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, triggering the next series of events that led to the now-famous illustrations.

On February 26, 2019, the Guedes parties filed a motion to expedite the proceedings since the law was a serious threat to liberty. A few days later, on March 1st, the D.C. Circuit approved the request and set a deadline for the opening brief to be due in just 3 days (i.e., on March 4th). That same day, to support the D.C. Circuit’s (and future courts’) understanding of the issues, FPC President and FPF Chairman Brandon Combs commissioned the creation of the illustrations that so many anti-rights zealots have lost their minds over. (We will be eternally grateful to Sara Westman for her incredible work on the illustrations. Sara and her firm, Kitfox Design Group, have been great friends of ours and valued FPC partners for nearly a decade now. She’s absolutely incredible. If you need illustrations, get in touch with her.)

Brief for Appellants, DC Circuit, March 4, 2019 – Guedes v. ATF, et al.

Brief for Appellants, DC Circuit, March 4, 2019 – Guedes v. ATF, et al.

Brief for Appellants, DC Circuit, March 4, 2019 – Guedes v. ATF, et al.

The entire team worked tirelessly to prepare the brief on a tight timeframe, and, on March 4, 2019, it was filed along with the illustrations. These illustrations—and derivative drawings that our team commissioned since—have been used in various briefs and cases following that March 4 brief, such as the derivative product used in our October 2019 brief supporting the interlocutory cert petition in the Guedes case. As you can clearly see by the line drawings, numbering, and copyright marks on the images themselves, the March 4, 2019 illustrations are the very same 7 images as those used in the FPCAF amicus brief filed in the Cargill case at SCOTUS in January of this year and eventually used in Justice Thomas’s majority opinion.

Brief of Amicus Curiae FPCAF, SCOTUS, January 29, 2024, Garland v. Cargill

Brief of Amicus Curiae FPCAF, SCOTUS, January 29, 2024, Garland v. Cargill

Opinion of the Court, SCOTUS, June 14, 2024 – Garland v. Cargill

Opinion of the Court, SCOTUS, June 14, 2024 – Garland v. Cargill

Opinion of the Court, SCOTUS, June 14, 2024 – Garland v. Cargill

Opinion of the Court, SCOTUS, June 14, 2024 – Garland v. Cargill

The Guedes case did indeed make its way up to SCOTUS in 2019—Justice Gorsuch even issued a 2020 statement regarding the denial of cert, here—and, following final judgment, it went back up again last year (this time on a final judgment). We will likely see orders issued in Guedes as this term comes to a close, almost certainly giving an end to over six years of blood, sweat, and tears fighting the bumpstock ban (even when it was unpopular to do so). We are proud that the illustrations we commissioned helped make a difference. And we are loving the absolute hysterics and corporate press meltdowns about them. To those upset about our illustrations: Cry harder

Finally, to be very clear, none of this is to take anything away from Mr. Cargill’s and his lawyers’ hard-earned and much deserved victory. They did great work and we’re absolutely thrilled for them. In the final analysis, what matters most is this: All of us won when the federal government lost. 

Never stop fighting.

P.S. Some key dates in the long-running bumpstock issue:

  • 2008–2017: In 10 letter rulings, the ATF concluded that bumpstocks and some similar devices did not qualify as “machineguns”
  • 2017-10-6: FPC repudiates proposed bans on semiautomatic firearms, bumpstocks
  • 2017-12-26: The ATF published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register regarding the “Application of the Definition of Machinegun to ‘Bump Fire’ Stocks and Other Similar Devices” 
  • 2018-1-25: FPC says ATF ‘bumpstock’ regulation proposal is unlawful
  • 2018-1-25: FPC files pre-litigation comments opposing ATF’s ANPRM, saying that, “perhaps as a silver lining, an illegal rulemaking (such as is proposed here) would provide an excellent vehicle for the Supreme Court to revisit and eliminate the made-up judicial construct of agency deference under … Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc[.]”
  • 2018-2-20: President Donald Trump issued a memorandum to Attorney General Sessions directing the Department of Justice to initiate a regulatory action to ban “bump fire” stocks and similar devices. (83 Fed. Reg. 7949.)
  • 2018-2-20: FPC calls President Trump’s ‘bumpstock’ ban “lawless”
  • 2018-2-26: President Trump Says He Will ‘Write Out’ Bump Stocks Without Congress; Two Second Amendment Groups Initiate Legal Action to Oppose Ban
  • 2018-3-29: The ATF published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding a proposed ban on “Bump-Stock-Type Devices” in the Federal Register. (83 Fed. Reg. 13442.)
  • 2018-6-19: in opposition to the ATF’s NPRM
  • 2018-6-27: FPC and FPF (now FPC Action Foundation) submit over 900 pages of analysis and documents, along with multiple video exhibits, in pre-litigation comments in opposition to ATF’s proposed rulemaking
  • 2018-12-18: ATF/DOJ Publishes Final Rule Banning Bump-Stock Devices
  • 2018-12-18: FPC files first-ever federal lawsuit challenging bumpstock ban
  • 2018-12-26: FPC withdraws from Guedes v. Whitaker, hands off lead to FPF, and pivots to challenge Trump’s bumpstock ban with other cases
  • 2019-2-20: District Court denies preliminary injunction in Guedes
  • 2019-2-20: Notice of Appeal filed
  • 2019-2-26: Motion to expedite appeal (DC Circuit) 
  • 2019-3-1: Motion to expedite granted, opening brief due on 2019-3-4
  • 2019-3-1: FPC President and FPF Chairman Brandon Combs commissions AR-15 trigger group/function illustrations for FPC, FPF bumpstock cases
  • 2019-3-4: FPF files opening brief with AR-15 trigger group/function illustrations (with copyright)
  • 2019-4-1: D.C. Circuit rules against bumpstock rule challengers
  • 2019-4-3: FPF files SCOTUS application for stay pending petition for certiorari 
  • 2019-4-5: Stay denied by the Supreme Court. (Justices Thomas and Gorsuch would have granted it.)
  • 2019-8-29: Petition for Certiorari; Appendix; News Release
  • 2020-3-2: Petition for Certiorari on interlocutory appeal denied; Statement of Justice Gorsuch
  • 2020-2023: Lots of litigation and briefs on the bumpstock ban rule
  • 2023-4-6: U.S. Government petitions for certiorari in Garland v. Cargill
  • 2023-6-14: FPC Action Foundation files petition for a Writ of Certiorari in Guedes v. Garland
  • 2023-11-3: SCOTUS grants cert in Garland v. Cargill
  • 2024-1-30: FPC Action Foundation files amicus brief in Cargill in support (on the merits), using the same illustrations in its March 4, 2019, D.C. Circuit brief and arguments from over 5 years of litigation on the bumpstock ban
  • 2024-6-14: SCOTUS decides Cargill, with the majority opinion using FPC’s illustrations from March 2019 (with FPF watermark) to show how AR-15s work and why bumpstocks are not and cannot be “machineguns”
  • Legal,
  • Victory

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