United States v. Bishop, No. 18-4088 (10th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
This case was a direct criminal appeal of defendant Scott Bishop’s convictions on one count of unlawfully manufacturing machineguns, and one count of unlawfully possessing or transferring machineguns. Defendant designed and manufactured a device, referred to as a TCGTR, that he intended his customers to install in their AR-15 semiautomatic rifles to increase the speed at which their guns fired. The government offered evidence that the TCGTR was a machinegun because it increased an AR-15’s rate of fire by causing the gun to fire multiple bullets per pull of the trigger. Defendant, who proceeded pro se at trial, took the stand in his own defense and testified that he did not intend the TCGTR to convert an AR-15 into a machinegun. The district court excluded portions of Defendant’s testimony after finding that it was expert testimony not properly disclosed to the government. Defendant, represented by counsel on appeal, argued that the jury’s verdict should have been set aside because the district court denied him his constitutional right to present a defense, erred when instructing the jury on the elements of a § 5861(a) offense, improperly admitted hearsay testimony about the legality of the TCGTR, and allowed unsupported expert testimony on an ultimate issue of fact. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed.