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Federal Court Holds Some Lifetime Firearm Prohibitions Unconstitutional

Friday, September 9, 2016

Federal Court Holds Some Lifetime Firearm Prohibitions Unconstitutional

On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that some individuals who have been denied their right to keep and bear arms might be able to recover their rights.  

Unlike the rights to vote or to hold public office, which are often restored upon completion of sentence, restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms last long after completion of sentence and often extend to a lifetime ban.  This is the case for even some non-violent misdemeanor convictions, and that is what the plaintiffs in this case challenged.  

While the federal prohibition on criminals possessing firearms is often described as applying to felons, it actually applies to certain misdemeanors as well, including non-violent ones.  And the prohibition applies even where the actual sentence doesn’t include any amount of imprisonment. 

The plaintiffs in this case completed their sentences (which didn’t include imprisonment), went on to live law-abiding lives for many years, and even had their firearm rights restored under Pennsylvania law.  However, due to a convoluted interpretation by federal courts, the federal prohibition on firearm possession can continue to apply even after a person has had their rights restored by their state. 

Given these facts, the Third Circuit found that the plaintiffs had “[distinguished] their crimes of conviction from those that historically led to exclusion from Second Amendment protections.”  With their Second Amendment rights intact, the government had the burden to prove a governmental interest in continuing to apply the complete firearm prohibition to the plaintiffs.  The court held that the government failed to meet this burden because it provided little evidence that the plaintiffs presented any danger to society. 

The potential for review of this case by the Supreme Court reaffirms the importance of filling the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s still-vacant spot on the Court with a justice who will be a stalwart defender of the right to keep and bear arms. 

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Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

On May 21st, the Illinois state House Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 to pass House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966.  While it has not yet been scheduled for further action, the House may take it ...

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

On May 20th, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington rejected a motion by the government defendants to dismiss the lawsuit filed by NRA and the SAF against Washington’s gun control ...

New Federal Law Will Promote Target Range Development on Public Lands

News  

Friday, May 24, 2019

New Federal Law Will Promote Target Range Development on Public Lands

On May 10, President Trump signed the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act  into law. This NRA-backed law will help promote firearm safety and training and enjoyment of the shooting sports by freeing up more federal ...

Kamala Harris and the News Media Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

News  

Friday, May 24, 2019

Kamala Harris and the News Media Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

By now gun owners have become accustomed to a certain measure of ignorance from anti-gun politicians and their lapdogs in the mainstream press on matters of firearms policy. It’s the flamboyant stridency of that ignorance that remains ...

California: DOJ Submits Proposed Regulations Regarding Upcoming Ammunition Transfer Background Check Requirements to Office of Administrative Law

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

California: DOJ Submits Proposed Regulations Regarding Upcoming Ammunition Transfer Background Check Requirements to Office of Administrative Law

Beginning July 1, 2019, all ammunition transactions in the state of California will be subject to a background check requirement.  But in order to implement this requirement, the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) must first ...

Democrats Now Opposed to Safe Neighborhoods?

News  

Friday, May 24, 2019

Democrats Now Opposed to Safe Neighborhoods?

Ever since taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats have been waging an unprecedented assault on the Second Amendment. Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.), the caucus has been an entity in virtual ...

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

At the National Retail Federation’s 2018 convention in New York City, Levi Strauss & Co. Brand President James Curleigh told those assembled that the multinational pants manufacturer intends to be the “most relevant lifestyle brand.” Evidently, part ...

Bloomberg Course Continues Bloomberging Rights Away

News  

Friday, May 24, 2019

Bloomberg Course Continues Bloomberging Rights Away

Week two of the Bloomberg school massive open online course on “Reducing Gun Violence” ran the same week that one of the lecturers was in the news for exclusionary comments that apply more readily to his course ...

Working Together to Save the Second Amendment Part II: State Success Stories

News  

Hunting  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Working Together to Save the Second Amendment Part II: State Success Stories

When I started with NRA in 1995, most of the attention our organization received was over legislative efforts in Congress. Firearm-related legislation at the federal level obviously has an impact on far more law-abiding gun ...

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox reported in March, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a challenge by an NRA state affiliate to a New York City gun control scheme that effectively prohibits lawfully ...

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.