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Prohibited Persons

Stevenson on The Felon Prohibitor

Posted by on September 3, 2021

Friend of the blog (and occasional guest blogger) Dru Stevenson has posted a new article on SSRN, “In Defense of Felon-in-Possession Laws,” forthcoming in the Cardozo Law Review. In an era where the felon prohibitor is under attack from both the left (mainly on policy grounds) and the right (mainly on constitutional grounds, at least […]

What Convictions Serve as Disqualifiers for Firearm Possession?

Posted by on August 6, 2021

Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), most individuals with a criminal conviction that carries a potential term of imprisonment of more than one year are barred from possessing firearms. But there are two fairly large caveats (and a few smaller ones I’ll ignore in this post), one constitutional and one statutory. First, many courts are now […]

The Ayres/Vars Proposal for Unlawful Possession Removal Petitions

Posted by on July 28, 2021

Ian Ayres and Frederick Vars, Weapon of Choice (Harvard Univ. Press, 2020) Ian Ayres and Fred Vars set forth several innovative proposals for firearms regulation in their 2020 book Weapon of Choice.  The first part of the book sets forth and expands upon the authors’ proposals for “Libertarian Gun Control,” i.e., self-imposed legal restrictions on […]

Lowering the Federal Minimum Age for Handgun Purchase from 21 to 18 is a Bad Decision

Posted by on July 14, 2021

The first time I fired a gun, my dad placed a pillow on my skinny shoulder to cushion the kick and held me firmly from behind. It was a closely supervised moment. The idea that I might have had a legal “right” to just go buy a gun and shoot on my own would not […]

Thoughts on Greer v. United States

Posted by on June 25, 2021

In its June 14 decision in Greer v. United States, the Supreme Court addressed the mens rea requirement for the federal felon-in-possession law at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (also called the “felon prohibitor”).  (The Court consolidated the Greer case with a similar case, Gary v. United States, on appeal from another Circuit).  This opinion was […]

New Essay on Firearm Prohibitor Ambiguities in North Carolina

Posted by on June 11, 2021

For a local angle this morning, I’m highlighting a new essay on the ambiguities surrounding firearm prohibitions for domestic violence related offenses in North Carolina. It’s a short but interesting piece–check it out! Lanie Summerlin, “May be Unlawful”: Ambiguities Surrounding Federal and State Limits on Firearm Possession by Domestic Abusers in North Carolina, 9 Wake […]

Petitions Challenging the Federal Prohibitors & More Scholarship Skepticism

Posted by on April 2, 2021

At its conference two weeks from today, the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider whether to accept review in two as-applied challenges to the federal felon prohibitor. In Flick (which we’ve covered here and here), the Eleventh Circuit basically foreclosed as-applied challenges. In Holloway (which we’ve covered here and here), the Third Circuit—one of the […]

An As-Applied Exception to the Domestic Violence Prohibitor?

Posted by on March 10, 2021

In the federal courts of appeals, judges have been increasingly confronted with constitutional challenges to the federal laws that prohibit particular classes of people from possessing firearms. Federal law currently bars nine categories: A person with a conviction for an offense that carries a possible punishment of more than one year in prison A fugitive […]

Scholarship Highlight: New Student Note Questioning the Felon Prohibitor

Posted by on March 5, 2021

In a new student note in the Duke Law Journal (where I have fond memories of student writing from working as a notes editor many years ago), Zach Sherwood argues for re-thinking the scope of the federal bar on firearm possession for those with a prior felony conviction. The abstract is below and the full note […]

Lange & The Implications for Second Amendment Challenges to the Felon Prohibitor

Posted by on March 3, 2021

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a Fourth Amendment case, Lange v. California. The case concerns the Fourth Amendment’s “hot pursuit” exception to the ordinary warrant requirement for entry into a home. One of the key questions that split the various parties in the case was how and whether the difference […]

The Next Big Second Amendment Case?

Posted by on February 19, 2021

Today, at its weekly conference, the Supreme Court will consider whether to grant review in McGinnis v. United States. In the case, Eric McGinnis challenges his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) for possessing a firearm while subject to a protective order. Both Darrell and I have previously blogged about the case after the Fifth […]

Carrying While Committing Crimes

Posted by on February 3, 2021

Last December, the Kansas Court of Appeals issued an interesting unpublished opinion in Bader v. Concealed Carry Licensing Unit. The dispute concerned Ryan Bader’s claim to a concealed carry handgun license. The state’s Concealed Carry Licensing Unit (CCLU) denied Bader a license because he had previously been convicted of attempted robbery, though Bader had the […]

Cert Petition Highlight: Flick v. Rosen

Posted by on January 8, 2021

In addition to the several other Second Amendment challenges recently filed at the Supreme Court, a new one was filed in the last days of 2020 and just docketed earlier this week: Flick v. Rosen. Like a couple of the other petitions, Flick involves an as-applied challenge to the felon prohibitor. But unlike at least one of […]

Working Out Rehaif Errors

Posted by on December 23, 2020

In Rehaif v. United States, the Supreme Court clarified what the government must prove to secure a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), which criminalizes gun possession for certain classes of people. Prior to Rehaif, most courts had held that the government only had to prove that a person knowingly possessed a weapon that had […]

Reading the Second Amendment SCOTUS Tea Leaves

Posted by on December 16, 2020

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied cert in Torres v. United States, the first case that presented a direct Second Amendment issue since Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the Court. Torres raised the question of whether 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)—which categorically forbids those with felony convictions from possessing firearms—can be challenged on an as-applied basis. […]

Litigation Highlight: New Second Amendment Cert Petition

Posted by on December 4, 2020

The especially active gun-rights organization, Firearms Policy Coalition, has filed a new cert petition this week in Holloway v. Barr. As we’ve highlighted before on the blog, Holloway is another as-applied challenge to the federal firearm prohibitor. This one (like the Folajtar case from a few weeks ago) takes place in one of the few circuits to […]

The Biden Administration Gun Plan

Posted by on December 2, 2020

On his campaign website, President-Elect Joe Biden lists several of his administration’s priorities for firearm regulation. Since the actual policy proposals are not spelled out in depth, it is hard to evaluate the precise details of his plan. And, of course, the ones that require congressional action are much less likely to pass if the […]

Litigation Highlight: Third Circuit Upholds Felon Prohibitor in Divided Decision

Posted by on November 27, 2020

The question of who gets to keep and bear arms is an issue that Heller left unsettled when it announced an individual right in 2008. Since then, lower courts have generally rejected challenges to the federal law barring felons from possessing firearms. Indeed, courts are unanimous that facial challenges to the law fail, but there […]

Litigation Highlight: Doe v. Governor of Pennsylvania

Posted by on October 16, 2020

In a decision earlier this week, Doe v. Governor of Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit rejected a facial due process challenge by two men whose mental health commitments rendered them ineligible to possess firearms. They challenged a Pennsylvania law that forbids anyone who has been “committed to a mental institution for inpatient care and treatment” under […]

Amy Coney Barrett on Guns

Posted by on October 14, 2020

With just a few years on the bench, Judge Barrett has already developed a surprisingly deep record on guns and the Second Amendment. These cases suggest a special solicitude for gun owners and users—and not just for the paradigmatic “law-abiding, responsible” ones. Indeed, in her Second Amendment and criminal law cases, she has several times […]

The Breadth of Judge Barrett’s “Dangerousness” Principle

Posted by and on October 2, 2020

Judge Amy Coney Barrett opened her dissent in Kanter v. Barr by identifying a historical principle underlying modern gun regulation: “History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns.” She went on to suggest that dangerousness is the Second Amendment’s exclusive limiting principle, such […]

Ninth Circuit Rejects En Banc Review for Application of Mental Health Prohibitor Over Sharp Dissent

Posted by on September 11, 2020

As we previously highlighted on the blog, a Ninth Circuit panel in March upheld the federal lifetime firearm ban as applied to an individual involuntary committed to a mental institution twenty years prior. In Mai v. United States, the panel split with the Sixth Circuit on the issue, joining a Third Circuit panel rejecting an […]

Eleventh Circuit Not Open to As-Applied Challenges to the Felon Prohibitor

Posted by on July 27, 2020

In a forthcoming article in Law & Contemporary Problems, I address some of the conceptual confusion generated by the lifetime prohibition on firearm possession by those previously convicted of a felony offense. The difficulty arises at least in part from complicated factors in the function and adjudication of the felon prohibitor, which the Eleventh Circuit’s […]

Virginia Court Partially Enjoins New Private-Sale Background-Check Requirement

Posted by on July 21, 2020

In 2020, the Virginia legislature passed a host of new gun regulations: limiting purchases of handguns to one a month, requiring the reporting of lost/stolen firearms, giving local autonomy over gun restrictions on government property, creating an extreme risk protection (aka red flag) law, and others. These new laws, in a state that had previously […]

McGinnis and the Dubitante Opinion

Posted by on April 28, 2020

Last week Jake highlighted this Fifth Circuit opinion, United States v. McGinnis, in which Eric McGinnis raised a Second Amendment defense to his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) for possession of a firearm while subject to a domestic violence protective order.  Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan applied the two-part framework for Second Amendment challenges that […]

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