Decided: October 18, 2012
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment that granted the Government’s motion to dismiss a challenge to Revenue Ruling 69-59, which limits firearms being sold at out-of-state gun shows.
Hire Order Ltd. is in the business of dealing firearms and has been doing so in Virginia since 2008. Privott is also in the firearm business and resides in North Carolina. Both attended the Nation’s Gun Show in Virginia, and both refrained from transferring firearms to one another because of Revenue Ruling 69-59. Revenue Ruling 69-59 prohibits the sale of firearms at out-of-state gun shows. Hire Order and Privott brought an action challenging the Revenue Ruling’s interpretation of the Gun Control Act. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, and the district court granted the motion because the six-year statute of limitations barred the suit. The district court did not rule on the merits of the case.
The court of appeals noted that Hire Order and Privott made no claim that the district court relied upon the wrong statute of limitations, but that the district court erred in applying the date on which their claim accrued. In a facial challenge to an agency ruling the limitations period begins to run when the regulation is published by that agency. Revenue Ruling 69-59 was published in 1969, therefore the limitations period ran long before plaintiffs filed this cause of action.