United States v. Freed

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United States v. Freed
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued January 11, 1971
Decided April 5, 1971
Full case name United States v. Freed, et al. 401 U.S. 601 (1971)
Citations 401 U.S. 601 (more)
91 S. Ct. 1112; 28 L. Ed. 2d 356; 1971 U.S. LEXIS 57
(1) The National Firearm Act's registration requirements do not implicate the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self incrimination. (2) The Act's restrictions against possession of unregistered firearms do not require specific intent.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · William O. Douglas
John M. Harlan II · William J. Brennan, Jr
Potter Stewart · Byron White
Thurgood Marshall · Harry Blackmun
Case opinions
Majority Douglas, joined by Burger, Black, Harlan, Stewart, White, Marshall, and Blackmun
Concurrence Brennan

United States v. Freed, 401 U.S. 601 (1971), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held the National Firearms Act's registration requirements do not violate the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Additionally, the Court held that the Act's restrictions against a person's "receiv[ing] or possess[ing] a firearm which is not registered to him," did not require the recipient to have the specific intent to possess an unregistered firearm. Consequently, the Court ruled that the buyer of unregistered hand grenades was subject to criminal liability, despite a lack of a requirement that the defendant have had a "specific intent or knowledge that the hand grenades were unregistered."

Decision of the Court[edit]

The Court concluded, "This is a regulatory measure in the interest of the public safety, which may well be premised on the theory that one would hardly be surprised to learn that possession of hand grenades is not an innocent act." [1]