U.S. District Court finds provision of 1968 Gun Control Act unconstitutional

2/18/15 Breaking News

In another victory for Second Amendment civil rights by attorney Alan Gura, a United States District Court found a provision of the Gun Control Act of 1968 unconstitutional as applied to some people who, like the plaintiff in the case, are currently law-abiding and not felons, adjudicated as mentally defective, or have a violent criminal history.

In the decision released today, Middle District of Pennsylvania Judge William W. Caldwell ultimately held that “Plaintiff [Julio Suarez] has established that his background and circumstances place him outside of the intended scope § 922(g)(1), and therefore the application of [18 U.S.C.] § 922(g)(1) violates Plaintiff’s Second Amendment protections.”

According to the decision, “On June 26, 1990, Julio Suarez was convicted in Montgomery County, Maryland of carrying a handgun without a license….The offense was a misdemeanor and subject to a term of imprisonment for not less than thirty days nor more than three years.”

Following the conviction, the record showed, Suarez was sentenced to 180 days imprisonment and a $500 fine–both suspended–and he was sentenced to one year probation. Suarez’s conviction, according to Defendants [United States Attorney General Eric Holder and others], places him within the scope of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which bars individuals convicted of certain offenses from possessing a firearm.

However, the Court held that “Plaintiff’s background and circumstances in the years following his conviction establish that he is no more dangerous than a typical law-abiding citizen and poses no continuing threat to society….Therefore, we find that Plaintiff falls outside the intended scope of § 922(g)(1) and is distinguishable from those historically barred from Second Amendment protections.”

You can read the full opinion here.

The case docket is here.