SayUncle is reporting that the sixth circuit affirmed Richard Hamblen’s conviction for NFA violations. Pray that Hamblen lets this one rest, and doesn’t appeal to the Supreme Court. Also pray that if he does, they won’t take the case. Hamblen was a case premised on the collective rights theory of the Second Amendment, which by this point is well and truly dead. In short, the case can’t really do any favors for us at this point, and actually has significant potential to inflict damage. That’s aside from the fact that Hamblen is a kook of the first order.
If you are looking for evidence of that, you can follow a thread about his case over at Calguns.net, where Hamblen appears himself, and where he answers many forum members’ perfectly good questions with an ever increasing amount of lunacy. I’m afraid I agree with this poster here, and also here. This is the kind of guy Alan Gura warned us was a bigger threat to the future of the Second Amendment than any of the gun control groups.
Hamblen is one of those guys who’s right, and needs to have his rightness validated, and will pursue that validation no matter how many other people’s rights it hurts. It’s an addiction that afflicts many in our community, but it just as destructive as other addictions.
UPDATE: The court opinion can be found here, and it’s brief. The court addressed his membership in the State Guard thusly:
We note, as a preliminary matter, that Hamblen’s possession of nine unregistered machine guns was not only outside the scope of his duties as a member of the State Guard, but also directly violated State Guard policy. Therefore, this case does not present a novel issue of law regarding the Second Amendment’s prefatory clause.
So much for that argument. It goes further to rule there’s no constitutional right to a machine gun:
Hamblen’s challenge to his conviction for unlawful possession of unregistered machine guns has been directly foreclosed by the Supreme Court, which specifically instructed in Heller that “the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” Id. at 2815-16. Moreover, the Heller Court expressly rejected Hamblen’s reading of United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), when it opined that it would be a “startling” interpretation of precedent to suggest that restrictions on machine guns, set forth in the National Firearms Act, might be unconstitutional. See Heller, 128 S. Ct. at 2815. Thus, 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.
It would be interesting though, to know what would happen if the State of Tennessee authorized their state guard members to obtain and possess machine guns.