Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

Staples v. United States

United States Supreme Court
511 U.S. 600 (1994)

Staples v. United States

Facts

Staples (defendant) possessed a semi-automatic rifle that originally had a metal piece preventing it from firing automatically. Staples filed down the metal piece. As a result, the rifle met the statutory definition of a firearm under the National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d). Staples did not register the weapon as required by the act. The United States (plaintiff) charged Staples under the act, which makes possession of an unregistered firearm punishable by up to ten years in prison. Staples claimed he did not know the rifle could be fired automatically. The trial judge refused to give Staples’s requested jury instruction, which stated that the government was required to prove that Staples was aware that the gun would fire automatically. Instead, the judge instructed the jury that to sustain a conviction Staples only needed to know that he had a dangerous device that should have alerted him to the possibility of regulation. Staples was convicted, and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

Concurrence (Ginsburg, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 252,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.