Haynes v. United States

Haynes v. United States, 390 U.S. 85 (1968), was a United States Supreme Court decision interpreting the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution's self-incrimination clause.[1] Haynes extended the Fifth Amendment protections elucidated in Marchetti v. United States.[2][3]

Haynes v. United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued October 11, 1967
Decided January 29, 1968
Full case nameMiles Edward Haynes v. United States
Citations390 U.S. 85 (more)
88 S. Ct. 722; 19 L. Ed. 2d 923
Haynes' conviction under 5851 for possession of an unregistered firearm is not properly distinguishable from a conviction under 5841 for failure to register possession of a firearm, and both offenses must be deemed subject to any constitutional deficiencies arising under the Fifth Amendment from the obligation to register.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Earl Warren
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · William O. Douglas
John M. Harlan II · William J. Brennan Jr.
Potter Stewart · Byron White
Abe Fortas · Thurgood Marshall
Case opinions
Marshall took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. V

Background of the caseEdit

The National Firearms Act of 1934 required the registration of certain types of firearms. Miles Edward Haynes was a convicted felon who was charged with failing to register a firearm under the Act. Haynes argued that, because he was a convicted felon and thus prohibited from owning a firearm, requiring him to register was essentially requiring him to make an open admission to the government that he was in violation of the law, which was thus a violation of his right not to incriminate himself.

Majority opinionEdit

In a 7-1 decision, the Court ruled in 1968 in favor of Haynes. Earl Warren dissented in a one sentence opinion and Thurgood Marshall did not participate in the ruling.

As with many other 5th amendment cases, felons and others prohibited from possessing firearms could not be compelled to incriminate themselves through registration.[3][4] The National Firearms Act was amended after Haynes to make it apply only to those who could lawfully possess a firearm. This eliminated prosecution of prohibited persons, such as criminals, and cured the self-incrimination problem. In this new form, the new registration provision was upheld. The court held: " To eliminate the defects revealed by Haynes, Congress amended the Act so that only a possessor who lawfully makes, manufactures, or imports firearms can and must register them", United States v. Freed, 401 U.S. 601 (1971).[5] The original Haynes decision continues to block state prosecutions of criminals who fail to register guns as required by various state law gun registration schemes.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Haynes v. United States, 390 U.S. 85 (1968).
  2. ^ Marchetti v. United States, 390 U.S. 39, 57 (1968).
  3. ^ a b William F. Funk, Richard H. Seamon, Examples & explanations series: Administrative Law, Edition 3, Aspen Publishers, 2009, page 361-62.
  4. ^ http://www.gunlaws.com/gunreggie.htm
  5. ^ David Fellman, Defendants Rights Today, Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1979, page 310.

Further readingEdit

  • Young, D. A. (1971). "Self-Incrimination under Haynes v. United States, as Affected by the 1968 Amendment to the National Firearms Act, and United States v. Freed". Baylor Law Review. 23: 535. ISSN 0005-7274.

External linksEdit