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Can some people recover their right to possess a firearm despite the federal firearm ban?

The brief answer from two recent federal court decisions is “yes,” though the devil, as they say, is in the details.

The first decision, from a highly fractured en banc panel of the Third Circuit, involves persons convicted of a misdemeanor punishable by more than one year, who are banned from possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(20)(B) and 922(g)(1). A majority of the court held that applying that ban to the two men in this case violated their Second Amendment rights, though the vote was close (8 to 7) and there’s no apparent majority rationale for the result. The case is Binderup v. Attorney General, 2016 WL 4655736. The long (174 pages) decision is available here; Eugene Volokh handily summarizes the holdings here.

The second decision, from an en banc panel of the Sixth Circuit that was also split on rationale, held that a man involuntarily committed for mental health treatment 30 years ago could regain his right to possess a firearm. The decision, Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department, 2016 WL 4916936, is available here; and Volokh’s post on the decision is here.

Food for thought for anyone thinking about challenging any of the provisions in § 941.29.

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