US v. Thomasian
No. 04-35360 (7-26-05). This is a forfeiture action against a Striker-12 shotgun. ATF concluded that the shotgun was a destructive device that the Secretary didn't exempt due to its bore size. Thomasian argued that the statutory language granting the power to the Secretary modified "shotgun shells" and not the antecedent "shotgun." The 9th didn't buy this reading, holding that the Secretary had discretion to exclude certain shotguns and shotgun shells. The 9th also held that the vesting of such discretion in the Secretary by Congress for excluding those shotguns that could be used for sporting purposes was not an unconstitutional delegation of authority. Congress could properly so delegate.