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NAVEGAR, INC. v. UNITED STATES

February 1, 1996

NAVEGAR, INC., d/b/a INTRATEC, & PENN ARMS, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LAMBERTH

 This matter comes before the court on a motion filed by the government for judgment on the pleadings or for summary judgment on the question of jurisdiction. The government argues in its motion for summary judgment that plaintiffs' pre-enforcement constitutional challenge to § 922(v) and § 922(w) of the Gun Control Act does not constitute a justiciable controversy under Article III because plaintiffs fail to demonstrate the existence of a genuine threat of prosecution. With respect to its motion for judgment on the pleadings, the government contends that plaintiffs' pre-enforcement challenge is barred by the doctrine of ripeness as a prudential matter. Upon consideration of the filings and arguments by counsel, the Court finds that plaintiffs fail to demonstrate the existence of a genuine threat of prosecution as required by Article III. Because plaintiffs lack standing to bring this pre-enforcement challenge, the Court shall grant defendant's motion for summary judgment on jurisdictional grounds. *fn1" Accordingly, plaintiffs' pre-enforcement challenge to § 922(v) and § 922(w) of the Gun Control Act shall be dismissed for lack of a justiciable controversy. The court's reasoning is set forth below.

 I.

 BACKGROUND

 On September 13, 1994, President Clinton signed into law, as part of the 1994 Crime Control Act, amendments to the criminal provisions of the previously amended Gun Control Act of 1968. These new amendments restricted for ten years the manufacture, transfer or possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons, and the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices. The statutory provisions were effective immediately.

 Plaintiffs are two manufacturers of semiautomatic assault weapons. Plaintiff Navegar, Inc. ["Intratec"] was the sole manufacturer of the TEC-DC9 *fn2" and TEC-22 semiautomatic pistols and the thirty-two round detachable box magazines for the TEC-DC9. Plaintiff Penn Arms, Inc. ["Penn Arms"] was the sole manufacturer of the Striker 12 series 12-gauge shotgun and the 12 round spring motor driven revolving magazine for the Striker 12 series shotgun.

 ATF inspectors also informed Intratec that § 922(w) of the newly amended Gun Control Act prohibited the manufacturing of its 32-round magazines for the Intratec TEC-DC9 and TEC-22 pistols. *fn5" At that time, Intratec had in inventory an estimated $ 30,000 worth of magazine parts. See Aff. of Martha Fernandez, P 9.

 ATF inspectors also visited the premises of Penn Arms on September 13, 1994, and informed Penn Arms that § 922(v) prohibited the future manufacture of the Striker 12 series shotguns. *fn6" At the time, Penn Arms had in its inventory some $ 58,000 worth of component parts unique to the Striker 12 series shotguns.

 On September 26, 1994, the ATF sent letters to all federally licenced firearm manufacturers, including Intratec and Penn Arms, to advise them that identifiable semiautomatic assault weapons, if lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994, could be "grandfathered" under § 922(v)(2) and could be assembled and sold to non-enumerated persons or entities. The letter further advised that because some firearms manufacturers may have been unaware of ATF's policy of "grandfathering" weapons, ATF would permit manufacturers to package or group together for future assembly component parts of unassembled weapons for an additional seven days, after which the ATF would conduct a final inventory to create a contemporaneous record identifying all "grandfathered" weapons.

 
Within six months of the enactment of the amendments, Intratec and Penn Arms filed an action for declaratory judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201 challenging: (1) the constitutionality of the prohibition by § 922(v)(1) on manufacturing the Intratec TEC-DC9 and TEC-22 pistols and the Striker 12 series shotguns; and (2) the constitutionality of the prohibition by § 922(w)(1) on manufacturing magazines for the TEC pistols and the Striker 12 series shotgun. *fn7" Shortly thereafter, the government filed the present motion.

 II.

 DISCUSSIO ...


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