An attorney and Nixa resident with ties to the area has a case related to gun rights making its way through the federal appeals court system after it was rejected by the U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, headquartered in Springfield.
The case has been appealed and will now move to the Eighth District Circuit Court of Appeals, primarily based in St. Louis.
Mark Blount, representing himself, is arguing against the National Firearms Act prohibition on possession of ordinary military weapons manufactured after 1986, with the defendants listed as the United States of America; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Merrick Garland acting as Attorney General of the United States; and Bernard G. Hansen, acting as Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Kansas City Field Division.
The case background describes Blount's complaint regarding the National Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act and the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, all considered by Blount as unconstitutional, based on his argument the laws collectively infringe upon and deprive him of "ancient, inalienable, private, individual, absolute, ancestral sovereign common law right to keep and bear arms, retained by ancestors, the Founders of this country, and enumerated in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, by prohibiting Plaintiff from possessing machine guns of all descriptions manufactured after 1986."
Blount specifically complains his constitutional rights are being infringed upon because, according to court documents, he "plans on purchasing an M-16 rifle, M-4 rifle, Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), or other machine gun which comprises the standard issue equipment of a service member in the United States military, manufactured after 1987, to wit, an ordinary military weapon, or converting the AR-15 rifles that he already lawfully possesses to automatic weapons," and the acts criminalize his "planned course of conduct."
The case was dismissed by the District Court, in part, on the grounds that Blount's argument that his rights were being infringed upon was based on a "conjectural or hypothetical interest" rather than an "invasion of a legally protected interest that is concrete and particularized and actual or imminent."
In other words, it was rejected on the grounds his argument was based on an illegal act he planned on committing rather than the real possibility of prosecution after committing it, and that he failed "to allege anything beyond a speculative fear of prosecution."
While the judgment didn't address Blount's argument of those laws as unconstitutional, he outlined it in an eight-page document sent to the Quill. In general, he says, the right to bear arms is a constitutional right that has been passed down from the founding fathers, and he describes it, in part, as a fundamental right "upon which rights every other right is based, which rights we had inherited as the lineal, legal, and bloodline descendants of the ancestral class of rights-holders, free Englishmen."
Blount is a Duke University School of Law graduate. He is married to Ashley Huddleston-Blount, whose family is from West Plains. Huddleston-Blount's family is from West Plains, and her grandparents owned a small cattle farm in Oregon County and were known throughout the area. She is descended from the Huddlestons who were in the West Plains area as early as the start of the 1820s.