February 19, 2019

Will our legal brief end the BATFE?

This Downsize DC legal brief could end the BATFE’s reign of terror Retweet

We’re filing an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to hear the case Jeremy Kettler v. United States of America. Here’s what you need to know… 

Mr. Kettler has war-induced hearing damage. He bought a suppressor (wrongly called a silencer by some) to protect his hearing during target practice. He did this under the Kansas Second Amendment Protect Act (Kansas Act).

The Kansas Act protects guns and gun accessories from federal regulation if…

  • they were manufactured entirely within the state of Kansas
  • then sold in Kansas.

Both were true of the suppressor Kettler purchased. GET THIS…

There was a sign, right next to the suppressors for sale, explaining the legal protection provided by the Kansas Act – a Tenth Amendment idea in action!

Yet under the presumed protection of the Kansas Act, neither Kettler nor the dealer complied with the terms of the federal National Firearms Act (NFA). The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) arrested them. They were charged with…

  • Making false statements during a federal investigation
  • Conspiring to make, receive, and transfer a firearm in an illegal way
  • Possessing an unregistered firearm

Eventually, only the last charge was prosecuted against Kettler, and a jury convicted him.

Mr. Kettler appealed, challenging the constitutionality of the National Firearms Act. But the 10th Circuit ruled that only the Supreme Court could overturn the precedents that currently validate the National Firearms Act.

Our brief asks the Supreme Court to hear the Kettler case
for purposes of ruling the National Firearms Act unconstitutional.

I want this brief

There is no enumerated federal power to regulate the right to keep and bear arms…

  • The Tenth Amendment prohibits the feds from regulating gun ownership
  • The Ninth Amendment protects your right to own suppressors (and to do anything else that does not violate the rights of others)

But the feds long ago dressed up their naked desire to regulate firearms using a tax scam. We’re going to point out in our brief that…

  • The National Firearms Act attempts to regulate the right to keep and bear arms through an indirect method, by imposing taxes under the enumerated taxing power. However, those taxes do not produce net revenue above the amount required to enforce the tax, thus revealing the taxes to be a scam designed to impose regulation, rather than a true means to generate revenue.
  • This point is further demonstrated by the fact that the NFA “taxes” are collected by the ATF, not the IRS, and are the only so-called taxes NOT collected by the IRS.
  • The criminal penalties for failing to pay the NFA taxes are far more draconian than for other taxes, further exposing that the true purpose is regulatory.
  • The NFA also imposes regulations unrelated to the collection of the tax, thereby making it perfectly obvious that regulation is the real aim.
  • A citizen cannot be taxed for the privilege of enjoying a constitutional right.
  • The federal government cannot tax you for the privilege of exercising a constitutional right, such as the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Finally, (and of course) we argue that suppressors are protected by the Second Amendment as interpreted by the Heller decision.

Can you help us pay for this work, and empower us to do more of it? Start a monthly pledge or make a one-time donation now!

I Support the Brief

The Supreme Court has highly specific submission requirements. There’s a substantial printing cost due to this specialized process. And…

DownsizeDC.org partners with the Downsize DC Foundation (home of the Zero Aggression Project) so that your contributions can be tax-deductible. When you click the button above, you’ll be taken to the Zero Aggression Project contribution form.

Thank you for being an ACTIVE DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka, President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
& Downsize DC Foundation (home of the Zero Aggression Project)

If your comment is off-topic for this post, please email us at feedback@downsizedc.org



  1. Tim Celeste
    Posted May 25, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    It’s a silencer, wrongly called a suppessor by some, not the other way around.
    A silencer reduces the report of a firearm.
    A suppressor reduces the flash signature of a firearm.
    Show me ANYWHERE in a dictionary, or ANY ATF publication that proves me wrong.
    ATF: Silencer or Muffler.
    Websters dictionary: Silencer.
    Stop spreading incorrect nomenclature as “fact”.

    • Mike
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      You said to search the dictionary so I did. The Dictionary defines silence as the absence of sound. (Merriam Webster)

      That right there tells me that calling it a suppressor is more accurate than calling it a silencer since I have 2 of them I can tell you first hand that my guns still make noise when fired.

      You can suppress sound and flash, they are 2 different devices. Silencer is a misnomer whether the ATF calls it that or not.

      If this is the hill you want to fight for then you are right that the ATF doesn’t use the word suppressor to describe report reducing devices.

      The author is talking about the meat of the matter where as you’re picking at a bone.

      Do you have any thoughts on the rest of the article or are you just part of the devotion to accuracy department?

  2. Jim Babka
    Posted June 6, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    As originally patented, it is indeed a silencer. That’s also what the NFA called it in 1934, so it’s the term the government uses. However…

    In popular gun “lingo,” it’s often called a suppressor, because a silencer doesn’t truly silence anything.

    Either term is technically “correct.”

    The so-called “silencer,” as portrayed in movies and TV, doesn’t actually make a “pfft” sound. That’s why, in our brief, we included a footnote indicating our intention to use the word “suppressor.” Frequently, we’ve found that officials don’t understand what they’re regulating. Suppressor is a more descriptively accurate term.

    The court indicated it was going to continue to use the statutory term silencer.

    For others reading these comments, Mr. Celeste appears to be referring to a flash hider (designed to hide muzzle flash) or a muzzle “brake” designed to control recoil (these days, many muzzle attachments do both). We’ve never heard a flash hider/brake referred to as a suppressor.

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