A legal battle is brewing that could redefine the Second Amendment.
The U.S. Department of Justice is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to deny gun rights to a man who, over two decades ago, made a false statement on a food stamp application. The case, Garland v. Range, is a litmus test for whether non-violent felons should be stripped of their Second Amendment rights.
In 1995, Bryan David Range’s wife understated their income on a public assistance form. Range took the fall, pleading guilty and serving three years of probation. His only other brushes with the law? Minor traffic violations and a fishing infraction. Yet, under federal law, his sentence is equivalent to a felony, and he’s been denied the right to purchase a firearm ever since.
Range’s legal team and the DOJ are now wrestling with the implications of a recent Supreme Court decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. This ruling stipulates that gun control laws must align with the Second Amendment’s text and the historical context of American gun laws.
Circuit Court Sides With Range
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, following the Bruen decision, found no historical precedent for denying Second Amendment rights to non-violent offenders like Range. The DOJ, however, argues that American history supports revoking gun rights from felons who’ve shown a disregard for the law, regardless of the nature of their crimes.
The DOJ’s petition cites the case of Zackey Rahimi, a convicted drug dealer with a history of violence, who challenged the constitutionality of a law barring anyone subject to a domestic violence restraining order from owning firearms. The DOJ suggests that the Supreme Court should consider Range’s case in light of Rahimi’s, or grant a full review in a more suitable case concerning the constitutionality of Section 922(g)(1).
The Supreme Court’s decision, or lack thereof, could have far-reaching implications for the application of the Second Amendment to non-violent felons. As we wait for the court’s decision, we’re left to ponder: Should a mistake made over two decades ago strip a man of his constitutional rights? And what does this mean for the broader narrative of gun rights in America?
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