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Two New Second Amendment Cert Petitions

By on September 26, 2019 Categories: , , ,

In the last few weeks, two new cert petitions have been filed asking the Supreme Court to review recurrent issues in litigation over the right to keep and bear arms. Below are links to the petitions and excerpts of their Questions Presented. We’ll be watching these as the Court comes back to a new Term next week.

Medina v. Barr: this challenge from the D.C. Circuit focuses on 922(g)(1), the felon dispossession statute. The petition for certiorari was filed on August 30th. Alan Gura (who argued Heller) represents the challengers. The response is due November 4th. Here’s the QP:

Nearly thirty years ago, Jorge Medina was convicted of one felony count of making a false statement to a lending institution in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014.

Medina was not imprisoned. The bank sustained no loss, and would resume doing business with him.

Medina is a successful entrepreneur and family man, with no record of violence. Yet on account of his single false statement conviction, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) permanently bars Medina’s possession of firearms.

The Third, Seventh, and D.C. Circuits hold that individuals convicted of felonies may challenge the application of firearm dispossession laws under the Second Amendment, although the basis for such challenges remains disputed. The First, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits have expressed openness to such challenges, while the Fourth and Tenth Circuits bar them. The D.C. Circuit below reiterated that as-applied challenges to felony firearm dispossession laws are theoretically possible, but rejected Medina’s claim for such relief.

 The question presented is:

Whether the Second Amendment secures Jorge Medina’s right to possess arms, notwithstanding his conviction for making a false statement to a lending institution 29 years ago.

The other new one is Worman v. Healy: this challenge from the First Circuit attacks Massachusetts’ ban on assault-type weapons and high capacity magazines. The petition for certiorari was filed on Sept. 23rd. The firm Bradley Arant represents the challengers. The response is due Oct. 25th. Here’s the QP:

This Court exhaustively analyzed the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), concluding that the Second Amendment enshrines an individual right of self-defense, id. at 595, and protects common firearms that are “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” id. at 625. The Court struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on possession of handguns and operable rifles and shotguns, holding a ban on arms typically possessed for lawful purposes is inconsistent with the Second Amendment’s text, history, and tradition. Id. at 627–29. This Court confirmed Heller’s standard and applied it to the states in McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, 790–91 (2010). Six years later, the Court made clear the Heller standard was to be applied in reviewing the constitutionality of a state ban on possession of stun guns. Caetano v. Massachusetts, 136 S. Ct. 1027, 1027–28 (2016) (per curiam).

Massachusetts prohibits the possession of firearms and ammunition magazines that are typically possessed by law-abiding, responsible citizens for lawful purposes, including self-defense. The court of appeals rejected Heller’s text, history, and tradition standard, instead applying a two-part approach to uphold the ban under intermediate scrutiny. App. 11–28.

The question presented is:

Does Massachusetts’ ban unconstitutionally infringe the individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment?