J6er Jeremy Brown’s Appeal Could Have Huge 2nd Amendment Implications – Remember Master Sergeant Brown This Jan 6 Anniversary

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Written By Maya Cantina

In December 2020, fhe FBI agents came to Jeremy Brown’s door hoping to enlist him as an operative on Jan. 6

Retired Green Beret, Master Sergeant Jeremy Brown, donated two decades of his time on Earth in service to our Nation by signing a blank check for up to and including his own life.  I myself, being a Marine Corps infantryman and combat veteran, felt it was my duty as a Marine and a journalist to tell his story after sitting through the entirety of his trial in December 2022.  I was disheartened that I was the only representative of a national publication in the courtroom as far as I could tell.

I was shocked and deeply saddened by what our own government did to this man who dedicated his life in service of it.

MSgt Brown faced 10 charges in total and was found guilty of 6 out of the 10.  He was found not guilty of counts 6-9 relating to a CD with classified information. More on that later.

Counts 1 & 2 were related to the possession of two “illegal” firearms that weren’t registered as NFA firearms.  NFA is short for the National Firearms Act of 1934, which essentially makes illegal certain types of firearms without significant government registration requirements being met.  The list of NFA devices includes automatic weapons, silencers/suppressors, and, among others, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and “destructive devices”.  The latter two were among MSgt Brown’s convictions.  MSgt Brown admitted in court to the possession of those two items when he took the stand in his defense but argued that it was his Constitutional Right under the Second Amendment to possess them.

You can support J6er retired MSgt Jeremy Brown in his Appeals case by donating here.

Master Sergeant Jeremy Brown’s Story –

MSgt Brown was in Washington DC on this day three years ago.  He was there to provide security for some of the individuals that were speaking that day.  MSgt Brown never entered the US Capitol building.

Prior to January 6th, MSgt Brown was approached at his home by two federal agents with the Dept. of Homeland Security about “some online stuff…about posting some things online.”  After that interaction, MSgt Brown met with two FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) agents in Ybor City on Dec 9th, 2020, where he believes they were attempting to recruit him as a potential confidential human source (CHS).  The agents alluded to something potentially happening in January.  This meeting took place before President Trump had tweeted about going to DC on January 6th.

On January 6th, MSgt Brown was, as mentioned, in DC.  He did not go into the Capitol.  In fact, he is on video saving a woman’s life that day.  MSgt Brown was charged with Trespassing…a misdemeanor.  On September 30th, 2021, the FBI JTTF sent 20 vehicles to his house to arrest him for a misdemeanor.

During the ensuing search, where the FBI disabled all 14 of his CCTV cameras, they “discovered” two M67 fragmentation grenades, two NFA firearms, and a CD with classified information.

The M67 grenades were found in two grenade pouches on his flak jacket inside of his RV.  The classified CD was also alleged to have been discovered in there.  During the trial, the FBI’s photographer testified that she did not recall seeing the CD during her documenting of the evidence.  The CD was contained in a blue transparent CD jewel case with a big red sticker marked “SECRET” on it.

Later, a photo surfaced with a small little corner of a case underneath papers.  That was the only evidence the CD was found in the RV.  A photograph of the CD and case in its entirety was photographed, however, the woodgrain table it was on was not from any of MSgt Brown’s surface in his home or RV.

MSgt Brown’s attorney argued in his opening statements that he would show the FBI planted the CD.  And apparently, the jury agreed as they found him “not guilty” of its possession for counts 6-9.

With that in mind, the concept that it was argued the FBI JTTF planted evidence against MSgt Brown and he was found “not guilty”, consider the following:  he was found guilty of possession of two destructive devices: M67 frag grenades.

The grenades were found in two pouches on MSgt Brown’s flak jacket inside of his RV.  Once they “found” the grenades, the entire area was cleared and secured so a bomb squad could intervene.  Remember: the entire time, law enforcement cut all the feeds to his 14 CCTV cameras throughout his property so there is no record of what took place once the crime scene was cleared.

The grenades were wrapped with duct tape that had some sticky parts exposed.  On the tape, forensics recovered a human hair, dog hair, textile fibers, and two samples of male DNA from the tape and grenades.  None of the forensics recovered matched MSgt Brown’s own DNA.  None matched either of MSgt Brown’s two dogs or cat.  None matched the carpet fibers in his house or RV.

And there were no fingerprints found on the grenade.  A career Special Forces Operator, some of the most intelligent individuals we have in our military, was careless enough to have all that DNA and forensic evidence on the grenades, but he was smart enough to either handle the grenade with gloves or wipe any trace of fingerprints from them?

MSgt Brown requested a TRACE report for those grenades, not the government, nearly a year after his arrest.  A TRACE report tracks the “lot” of the grenades (appx 34,000 grenades in this lot) from their creation throughout their lifetime.  There were times throughout the lot’s “travels” that they were in Iraq and Afghanistan, but without the dates and times, there was no way to prove they were at those locations at the same time as MSgt Brown.

The argument was that MSgt Brown had taken them while on deployment and kept them.  However, as any deployed servicemember knows, when you come home from a combat zone, you are subject to a US Customs search that makes a TSA strip-search look like a Wal-Mart greeter glancing over your receipt…if you’re even stopped at all.  US Customs goes through everything.

As he pointed out in an interview last year though, the grenades are currently in two places:  Kuwait and Kentucky.  The portion of the lot in Kentucky is at the Bluegrass Depot, but more specifically, the Bluegrass Special Programs Office.  MSgt Brown told me in an interview last year (below) that:

“In a world of covert and clandestine operations, anytime you see the word “other” or “special” or “programs”, usually its a red-flag that that’s some type of specialized activity.  Like a special missions unit.  Like special operations forces.  Like special projects ranch.  Like special activities…that is very suspicious to me even when first saw it.  But what is more suspicious to me is that I had to request the TRACE on these grenades, but two that their own expert testified that they have the capabilities on each of those locations, the date/time group, the dates and times, of which those lot numbers were at that specific location.  And yet the FBI never investigated the dates and times.  Why?  Because it’s very easy to tell civilians ‘oh well he was in Iraq and Afghanistan and these places are in Iraq and Afghanistan’.”

The prosecutors attempted to use a jail phone call between MSgt Brown and his long-time girlfriend the morning after he was initially arrested (their first conversation).  In that phone call, she told him they found, among other things, “grenades”.  During the trial, it was implied that the moment of silence rather than shock was acknowledgement of the illegal grenades being his.

However, as MSgt Brown told us, the call was cut off a moment later and the follow-up call was not played.  He explained to us that he has air-soft grenades and so, as she was reading the list of evidence taken, he wasn’t necessarily surprised.

This was apparently a pivotal moment as, during deliberations, the jury came back into the courtroom to hear that phone call again.

Lastly, MSgt Brown was convicted of having a single classified document (count 10) that related to the Bowe Berghdahl “rescue” mission in May 2014.  During the trial, this document came up with expert witnesses over and over again and the only real defense being mounted by MSgt Brown’s attorney was asking if it was a draft or the final copy, to which the response was typically that it was irrelevant because its still classified information.  Sitting in the courtroom, I was perplexed.

But when MSgt Brown testified in his own defense, a rare move typically not recommended by counsel, he revealed why that was not only relevant, but should have been exonerating.  But it apparently went over the jury’s head:  the document was a draft and contained no classified information whatsoever.

When MSgt Brown was traveling back to the United States after the mission, he began drafting the trip report on one of his flights.  As he testified, any place where classified information was to be disclosed, MSgt Brown would insert bogus information that couldn’t be classified…because he made it up.  The experts who testified for the prosecution apparently didn’t do any due diligence to verify the veracity of the information in MSgt Brown’s draft report.  For example, when you mention a name in a classified document, it is typically written in code.  That code is then referenced on secure devices to divulge the name that is being referred to.  In his “classified” document, all of the numbers would have referred to nothing.  He made them up.  He was, somehow, found guilty nonetheless of possession of a classified document.

MSgt Jeremy Brown is currently serving a 7 year 3 month sentence in federal prison in Florida.

You can read more about the case here and listen to MSgt Brown during an interview we conducted with him last year:

MSgt Brown’s Appeal:  The Second Amendment Argument

MSgt Brown was convicted of having a short-barreled rifle and a .410 shotgun with a sawed-off buttstock (a family heirloom modified by his recently deceased brother).  A .410 shotgun is a very small caliber shotgun round that is typically used for killing varmint like rats, snakes, birds, etc.  It is not regularly considered an adequate defense round against human targets.

photo courtesy of everydaynodaysoff.com

In his appeal, MSgt Brown’s counsel argues that “26 USC 5861(d) – which punishes, as a felony, possession of an unregistered shotgun/rifle having a short barrel – is a facially unconstitutional restriction on a person’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

The basis for this argument is New York State Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, which was decided by the Supreme Court in 2022 which held that “lower courts had been incorrect in reading precedent to require a means-end analysis in evaluating the Second Amendment claims.”

The Bruen decision requires that Second Amendment laws must be “on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.”  The Supreme Court stated:

When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct.  The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consist with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearms regulation.  Only then may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s “unqualified command.”

Another words, are current laws regulating firearms consistent with what the framers of the Constitution and the “scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them.”  

In the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that “on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms” for self-defense (“necessary to the security of a free State).

But in 1939, in United States v. Miller, the Supreme Court determined that while “use of a shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length…has some reasonable relationship to the…efficiency of a well-regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.”

MSgt Brown’s counsel argues that “when the Supreme Court made this statement in Miller, it was not considering how such a weapon could be used for self-defense” and that Bruen held that “when a statute limits an individual’s ability to bear a weapon commonly used in self-defense, the Constitution presumptively protects an individual’s right to bear that weapon.”:

“The government must show that a short-barreled shotgun was a “dangerous and unusual weapon” at the time the Second Amendment was enacted.  Appellant Brown submits that the historical records show it was not.”

In the time of the framing of our Constitution, there were several lawful firearms that had barrel lengths ranging from slightly more than 12 inches to almost 23 inches in length, including the blunderbuss, a predecessor to the shotgun.  The blunderbuss was a shoulder-fired weapon with a flared muzzle and a barrel length of just 15.25 inches.

photo courtesy of rmg.co.uk

With several examples offered showing that so-called “short barreled rifles” and shotguns were in circulation at the time the Constitution was signed, the brief states:

“It follows that the Government cannot demonstrate that a restriction on the possession of short-barreled shotguns/rifles is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.  There is no evidence of any regulation of short-barreled shotguns or rifles before the enactment of the NFA in 1934 (i.e., no regulation in the 143 years between the adoption/ratification of the Second Amendment and the enactment of the NFA).”

The appeal also argues:

“Unlike bombs, artillery, and other such weapons of war, a short-barreled shotgun/rifle should not be considered a “dangerous and unusual” weapon.  According to the ATF’s 2021 Firearm Commerce Report at 16, as of May 2021, there were approximately 532,000 registered short-barreled rifles in the United States and approximately 162,000 short-barreled shotguns…Indeed, it is difficult to understand a rational basis for restricting the possession of a short-barreled shotgun/rifle more than a handgun – which is obviously much smaller and easier to conceal.  The vast majority of crimes do not involve firearms, but those that do are committed with handguns as opposed to rifles of any kind.”

Lastly, MSgt Brown’s counsel argues that the NFA does not “prohibit short-barreled rifles, but rather requires that they be taxed and registered with the federal government.”  In Bruen, the Supreme Court ruled that “shall-issue” licensing is not unconstitutional, however, they also stated “because any permitting scheme can be put towards abusive ends, we do not rule out constitutional challenges to shall-issue regimes, where, for example, lengthy wait times in processing license applications or exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to public carry.”

It currently takes approximately one year and costs hundreds of dollars to obtain an NFA firearm or device and is “therefore…a valid subject of the Second Amendment challenge.”

We will update you on the progress of this Appeal as it moves through the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jeremy Brown Appeal by CannCon


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