Garland v. Cargill

Brief of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondent

Brief filed: 01/29/2024


Garland v. Cargill

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 22-976

Question Presented

Whether a non-mechanical bump stock device is a “machinegun” as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b).


The provision of the National Firearms Act at issue in this case has spawned opposing views across the circuit courts whether the language prohibiting machine guns and their component parts is clearly enough written to encompass non-mechanical bump stocks, or if the relevant provisions are too ambiguous to apply to bump stocks. The Court has long upheld the common law maxim of the Rule of Lenity: Unclear or ambiguous provisions of criminal law that are susceptible to multiple interpretations must be read in favor of the defendant. The present case turns in large part upon views and application of the Rule of Lenity to the subject statute. The case also provides the Court with an opportune vehicle for setting standards as to when and how to properly apply the Rule of Lenity.



Theodore M. Cooperstein, Clouthier Cooperstein PLLC, Ridgeland, MS; David Oscar Markus, NACDL, Miami, FL

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