A group opposed to the provisions of the 1934 National Firearms Act
is planning a lawsuit to force the federal government to amend or repeal
the 65-year-old law.

According to the 1934 Group, a provision of federal
firearms law known as the CLEO, or Certified Law Enforcement Officer
sign-off provision is being challenged as an illegal unfunded federal
mandate and tax requirement. The provision requires local law
enforcement officials to approve the purchase of fully automatic weapons
and, once approved, requires the purchaser to pay a $200 tax on each
weapon purchased.

That requirement, the group claims, is subject to bias against
certain dealers who sell the weapons as well as the individuals who want
to buy them. And, a spokesman for the group told WorldNetDaily, it has
lent itself to abuse for political reasons.

“We’re willing to do what most other organizations are unwilling to
— help manufacturers, dealers and consumers of NFA items exclusively,”
said Kel Whelan, director of the 1934 Group. “Ultimately, we’d love to
see the NFA ’34 pulled down as the unconstitutional taxation sham it

Whelan told WorldNetDaily the proposed suit “will not center
exclusively on the Second Amendment because if it did, we don’t think
we’d get very far.” Instead, “there are a number of provisions and
constitutional amendments, including the Second Amendment, in question
here. We just think it’s time this law went away.”

“The nice part about this suit is it will have many plaintiffs, each
with their own argument,” he said. “Unreasonable search and seizure,
Fifth Amendment issues, restraint of trade from a retailer’s
perspective, restraint of trade from the buyer’s, tax privacy issues,
10th Amendment, 14th Amendment, Second Amendment and so on. And the
Treasury Department has to win all the arguments, while we only
have to win one to succeed.”

Whelan said the suit should not be misconstrued as an attempt to
legalize any weapons that are not currently legal.

“It is about helping legal manufacturers, dealers and end-users
process paperwork used in paying tax on firearms that have always been
legal to purchase,” he explained. “If someone doesn’t agree that these
collectible and rare firearms should be legal, then that is an entirely
separate issue that they are welcome to attempt legislation concerning,
but no one should agree to endorse harassment through abuse of law and
cronyism resulting in chilling civil rights.”

One of the 1934 Group’s attorneys is Stephen Halbrook, “the attorney that argued the
‘Brady’ (U.S. v. Printz) case and subsequently got that piece of poor
law declared void.” Another attorney, Jim Jeffries, is joining Halbrook.

“I would hope that every CL2 manufacturer and CL3 dealer, regardless
of whether their current CLEOs are friendly for now, will understand
that this suit translates into more sales,” Whelan said. “Every
purchaser should understand that their purchases and the ability to
leave them to an heir should not involve having their privacy infringed
upon by often-prejudiced local law enforcement.”

Whelan said the CLEO requirements have been politically motivated or
otherwise biased for years. He cited abuses documented by the group in
Alaska, Houston, and Miami, and said even the BATF has advised dealers
“not to sign off on their own requirement on their own forms.”

“Often dealers find it in their interest to bribe or search out
friendly chiefs and sheriffs in order to provide signoffs for their
clients,” Whelan wrote in a recent
press release.
“Sometimes it works out the opposite way. In some areas, if you don’t
buy the item from a store that made a significant contribution to the
sheriff’s re-election fund, you don’t get a signoff.”

“Is it not obvious that this federal requirement lends itself to
local corruption? Is it not obvious that a federal form should not
require a local signoff?” he said.

Whelan added that many pro-gun supporters have been waiting for an
organization to “go on the offensive” for years rather than simply
“fight back.”

“That time is now,” he said. “That group is us. It’s time.”

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