A Wyoming man is suing the U.S. government after it denied his application to make an M16.
The M16 is classified as a machine gun and is therefore illegal to own.
The ban is set forth in the Firearm Owners Protection Act, which stipulates that any machine gun that wasn’t registered by 1986 cannot be owned by a civilian. The M16 is still in use in the military.
However, Jake Stanley DeWilde of Watipi, Wyoming, has taken issue with FOPA and claims it is a violation of the Second Amendment.
On Dec. 8, DeWilde filed a form with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives asking to make and register an M16 machine gun, according to Cowboy State Daily. The ATF denied his application, citing the ban on machine guns.
DeWilde filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming on Jan. 6.
The defendants named in the lawsuit are U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Steven Dettelbach, director of the ATF. DeWilde acted with no legal counsel.
His complaint relies on two cases: District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen (2022). The court ruled in those cases that firearms cannot be considered “dangerous and unusual” if they are in “common use,” Cowboy State Daily reported.
DeWilde argues that, since the M16 is in common use by the military, it should also be available to civilians.
He said in the complaint that he wishes to own an M16 “for all lawful purposes, including defense of hearth and home and militia functions,” and is asking the court to declare FOPA a violation of the Second Amendment.
While one can purchase a pre-1986 M16, those weapons cost tens of thousands of dollars.
The alternative is the AR-15, which is a semi-automatic version of the M16 — meaning it’s legal for civilians.
State restrictions on AR-15s vary, with some states making them easy to own without much paperwork and others heavily restricting them.
Like the M16, the AR-15 was once banned in the U.S. under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which prohibited the manufacturing and importing of certain semi-automatic rifles.
The law ended in 2004, but the AR-15 and “assault rifles” like it are still hotly debated due to their role in many notable mass shootings, such as the Uvalde elementary school shooting.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.