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Prohibited Persons

SCOTUS Gun Watch – Week of 3/20/23

Posted by on March 20, 2023

There was major news from the Supreme Court on Friday, as the federal government filed a petition for certiorari in United States v. Rahimi.  In Rahimi, a Fifth Circuit panel struck down as unconstitutional § 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8)—which prohibits gun possession by those subject to certain domestic-violence protective orders issued after notice and a hearing (we covered […]

Can the Federal Legislative Efforts to Combat Domestic Violence Survive Bruen?

Posted by on March 17, 2023

In the aftermath of the Bruen decision, some courts have struck down legislative initiatives passed in recent decades specifically designed to combat domestic violence. (Andrew Willinger and Jake Charles summarized one such recent decision, United States v. Rahimi, here and here.)  These federal, state, local and tribal initiatives share one overarching goal: to protect domestic […]

Scholarship Highlight: Bruen, Retconning, and Noncitizen Exclusions

Posted by on March 10, 2023

This is the third post in our series summarizing new legal scholarship regarding the Bruen decision (see the earlier posts here and here).  First, in an article titled “Retconning Heller: Five Takes on New York Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen,” Brannon Denning and Glenn Harland Reynolds summarize and critique Bruen.  Among other criticisms, […]

The Third Circuit Wrestles with “Inherently Dangerous” Felonies

Posted by on March 1, 2023

In a November 16 panel opinion, the Third Circuit upheld the application of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), the federal ban on felon possession of firearms, to an individual convicted of making false statements when applying for federal welfare benefits.  We covered that opinion in Range v. Attorney General here, and this earlier post by Dru […]

Litigation Highlight: Western District of Oklahoma Strikes Down the Federal Ban on Gun Possession by Unlawful Users of Controlled Substances

Posted by on February 24, 2023

On February 3, a federal judge in the Western District of Oklahoma struck down 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3)—the federal provision banning possession of a firearm by “any person . . . who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance”—in United States v. Harrison.  The defendant in Harrison was apprehended while out […]

Judge Higginson and the Role of the Solicitor General in United States v. Quiroz

Posted by on February 22, 2023

On February 8, 2023, the Fifth Circuit heard oral argument in United States v. Quiroz to consider whether 18 U.S.C. § 922(n)—receipt of a firearm while under felony indictment—can withstand a Second Amendment facial challenge. Below, Judge Counts in the Western District of Texas had dismissed the government’s indictment, under Bruen, holding that “unlike the […]

Fifth Circuit Strikes Down Domestic-Violence Prohibitor in United States v. Rahimi (Part 2)

Posted by on February 8, 2023

Andrew’s post on the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in United States v. Rahimi summarizes it well and criticizes some of the more problematic aspects. I want to take a step back and see what light it sheds on Bruen’s test. To my mind, there are two levels at which to consider the Fifth Circuit’s decision: […]

Fifth Circuit Strikes Down Domestic-Violence Prohibitor in United States v. Rahimi

Posted by on February 6, 2023

On February 2, a Fifth Circuit panel ruled in United States v. Rahimi, striking down the federal law prohibiting gun possession by anyone subject to a domestic violence restraining order issued after notice and a court hearing.  A district judge in Texas previously held 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) unconstitutional in November, in a decision we […]

Litigation Highlight: Tennessee Judge Upholds Federal Felony-Indictment Ban and Notes Outstanding Post-Bruen Questions

Posted by on January 19, 2023

On November 16, Judge Aleta Trauger of the Middle District of Tennessee issued a decision rejecting a Second Amendment challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(n), which prohibits receipt of a firearm while under felony indictment.  Judge Trauger first summarized Bruen and its doctrinal framework.  She observed that: The modern world is different from the world […]

Third Circuit Issues Per Curiam Decision Rejecting As-Applied Challenge to Felon-in-Possession Law

Posted by on November 30, 2022

On November 16, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a per curiam, precedential opinion in Range v. Attorney General, applying Bruen to a challenge to the federal felon-in-possession law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).  The case was brought by an individual convicted of making false statements when applying for a welfare benefit, a misdemeanor under […]

Federal Judge Strikes Down Ban on Possessing Guns While Subject to a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

Posted by on November 16, 2022

On November 10, Judge David Counts of the Western District of Texas issued an opinion in United States v. Perez-Gallan holding unconstitutional 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), the federal ban on possessing a firearm while subject to a court order that “restrains [the possessor] from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner . . . or child  . […]

District Judge Considers Appointing an Expert Historian to Evaluate Arguments under Bruen

Posted by on November 9, 2022

In a six-page order issued on October 27, Judge Carlton Reeves of the Southern District of Mississippi directed the parties in a case challenging the constitutionality of the federal felon-in-possession ban to submit briefs on the issue of whether the court “should appoint a historian to serve as a consulting expert.”  Judge Reeves noted that […]

The Coming Clash Between Medical Marijuana and Gun Rights

Posted by on November 7, 2022

On October 28, Delaware Governor John Carney vetoed a bill intended to allow individuals with a valid medical marijuana prescription to possess a gun under state law.  The bill, H.B. 276, would have “ma[de] clear that an individual is not disqualified under Delaware law from possessing a firearm because the individual is a registered qualifying […]

What do Recent Decisions on Federal Group Prohibitions Signal for Heller’s List of Presumptively Lawful Regulations?

Posted by on October 3, 2022

In a September 19 decision in United States v. Quiroz, a judge in the Western District of Texas struck down the federal law barring those under indictment for a felony offense from receiving firearms, finding that the ban “departs from this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” One notable aspect of the decision is its […]

Worrying Trends In the Lower Courts After Bruen

Posted by on September 30, 2022

There are several extremely worrying trends from what I’ve seen in the still nascent post-Bruen Second Amendment case law. These concerns don’t arise from disagreement with constitutional originalism or with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. They are concerns about lower courts’ capacity (and perhaps willingness) to apply a historical method in a […]

Justice Thomas’ Dissent in Voisine and Non-Felon Prohibitions

Posted by on September 19, 2022

As litigators and judges grapple with Bruen’s historical tradition test, one issue that is sure to surface repeatedly is the status of group prohibitions on gun possession.  Notably absent from the list of “presumptively lawful” restrictions in Heller is the federal prohibition on gun possession by those convicted of domestic-violence misdemeanor offenses, codified at 18 […]

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act: What Does the Law Do and How Might It be Impacted by Bruen?

Posted by on July 15, 2022

In the aftermath of tragic mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, a bipartisan committee introduced the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” (or BSCA) in the Senate on Tuesday, June 21. By week’s end, the bill had passed the Senate. The House of Representatives followed suit on Friday, and the bill was signed into […]

Litigation Highlight: Juzumas and Second Amendment Challenges to NY’s Longarms Surrender Requirement

Posted by on June 30, 2022

Last month, in Juzumas v. Nassau County, a Second Circuit panel ruled per curiam that New York’s statute governing licenses for firearm possession mandated that the defendant surrender his longarms once his pistol license was revoked. However, because the County policy purporting to implement this policy was unclear, the Court vacated the district court’s ruling […]

Von Lossberg v. State: State Liability for Gun Suicides & the Background Check System

Posted by on June 8, 2022

The Idaho Supreme Court recently held that the state could be held liable in a wrongful death action for negligently failing to add a name to the database used in gun purchase background checks.  In Von Lossberg v. State, the parents of a young man who committed suicide with a gun sued the state, the […]

Eleventh Circuit Upholds Federal Firearm Prohibitions For Aliens Unlawfully Present

Posted by on May 27, 2022

On May 23, in United States v. Jimenez-Shilon, the 11th Circuit rejected a Second Amendment challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)(A), which prohibits firearm use or possession by any “alien” who is “illegally or unlawfully in the United States.”  The holding itself is in some ways unremarkable – it joins every other federal circuit court […]

Shinn, Jimenez-Shilon, and the Hierarchy of Rights  

Posted by on May 26, 2022

Earlier this week, in United States v. Jimenez-Shilon, the Eleventh Circuit rejected a Second Amendment challenge to the federal law barring undocumented immigrants from possessing firearms. Dru Stevenson will be guest posting about the case on this blog. But I want to highlight a few aspects of Judge Newsom’s majority and separate concurring opinions—and compare […]

Time To Live: Safer Gun Safes and Smarter Smart Guns

Posted by , and on May 20, 2022

Katrina Brees Tells Her Mother’s Story I know my mom didn’t shoot herself because she wanted to be dead. She did it because she was in unbearable pain and in the throes of a psychiatric episode. My mom, Donna Nathan, loved her life. She loved to dance to Cajun music and The Beatles. She’d grab […]

Ninth Circuit Strikes Down CA’s Law Restricting Young Adult’s Ability To Purchase Rifles

Posted by on May 18, 2022

Last week, in Jones v. Bonta, a split panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that California’s restriction on rifle purchases by 18- to 20-year olds violates the Second Amendment. The case is a major victory for gun-rights proponents, but that victory is likely to be short-lived. The en banc Ninth Circuit tends to reverse panels […]

Scholarship Highlight: New Research and Arguments about the Second Amendment

Posted by on May 11, 2022

There’s been a spate of new Second Amendment scholarship, including a just published piece by the Center’s own Joseph Blocher (with co-author Eric Ruben). There are also a couple of wide-ranging student pieces skeptical about/supportive of different gun regulations. Eric Ruben & Joseph Blocher, “Second-Class” Rhetoric, Ideology, and Doctrinal Change, 110 Geo. L.J. 613 (2022) […]

Scholarship Highlight: Impact of Rehaif on 922(g) Prosecutions

Posted by on March 11, 2022

We’ve written a number of times about the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision in Rehaif v. United States and its aftermath. That decision requires the government to prove, in order to secure a conviction for unlawfully possessing firearms, that the defendant knew he belonged to the category of persons who is prohibited from possessing firearms. A […]