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Monday, March 20, 2006

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues no Indiana decisions, but an interesting gun law case from Illinois

In Article II Gun Shop v. Gonzales, a 14-page 2-1 opinion, with Judge Manion's dissent starting on p. 11, Chief Judge Flaum writes:

Article II Gun Shop, Inc., doing business as Gun World (“Gun World”) had its federal license to sell firearms revoked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (“ATF”), based on allegations that Gun World willfully violated several reporting requirements of the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq. (“Act”). Gun World challenged ATF’s revocation decision in federal district court, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 923(f)(3). The government filed a motion for summary judgment, which the district court granted. Gun World appeals. For the following reasons, we affirm the opinion of the district court. * * *

MANION, Circuit Judge, dissenting. Because I conclude that the government is not entitled to summary judgment, I respectfully dissent. The central question here is whether Gun World’s recordkeeping violations were willful under 18 U.S.C. § 923(e). I agree with the court that this question is governed by Stein’s, Inc., v. Blumenthal, 649 F.2d 463, 467 (7th Cir. 1980). Thus, to show willfulness and succeed in revoking Gun World’s dealer license, the government must “prove that [Gun World] knew of [its] legal obligation and purposefully disregarded or was plainly indifferent to the recordkeeping requirements.” Id. (internal quotation omitted). Gun World has taken the first half of the willfulness test, i.e., knowledge, off the table; it conceded that it knew of its duty to fully complete the government’s firearm transaction forms. It is also important to note that the government and this court regard the 1981 and 1998 reports simply as evidence of Gun World’s knowledge of the Act’s requirements. This dispute therefore turns on whether Gun World acted with purposeful disregard or plain indifference when it left a small number of boxes blank on 12 of the 880 forms it filled out between January 1999 and February 2000.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 20, 2006 01:27 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions