PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 1, 2021) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of an opening brief in the appeal of Williams v. Garland, which challenges the federal Gun Control Act’s lifetime ban on exercise of Second Amendment rights due to a single misdemeanor conviction for a crime that did not involve violence, physical harm, or a firearm. The brief can be found at FPCLegal.org.
Following a 2005 trial, Edward Williams was convicted of driving under the influence, in violation of Pennsylvania law. Because he had a previous DUI non-conviction in 2001, that was later expunged, the 2005 conviction qualified as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment. However, he was never imprisoned, and was instead placed under house arrest for 90 days, ordered to pay costs and a fine of $1,500, and complete any recommended drug and alcohol treatment under the mandatory minimum sentence.
The Williams opening brief argues that under the “dangerous” test from the Third Circuit’s Binderup v. Attorney General decision, the federal law prohibiting certain individuals from possessing firearms is unconstitutional as applied to Williams because “[h]is conviction had nothing to do with firearms or violence, and he has been a peaceable citizen his entire life.” Additionally, the brief argues that every element in Binderup’s multifactor “virtue” test also favors Williams because “he was convicted of a misdemeanor, the offense was nonviolent, he received the mandatory minimum sentence, and there is no cross-jurisdictional consensus that a DUI is a serious crime.”
“This case provides the Third Circuit an excellent vehicle to correct their precedents and conform the Court’s analysis to what the Supreme Court requires under Heller,” said Adam Kraut, FPC’s Senior Director of Legal Operations. “Furthermore, the Williams case will also provide the Supreme Court with another opportunity to address whether individuals convicted of non-violent misdemeanors can be forever prohibited from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. We look forward to moving this case forward, hopefully to an en banc panel and ultimately up to the Supreme Court.”
Individuals that are interested in joining FPC in the fight against tyranny can become a member of the FPC Grassroots Army for just $25 at JoinFPC.org.
Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates leading the Second Amendment litigation and research space. Some FPC legal actions include:
- A brief supporting certiorari in NYSRPA v. Bruen, which was granted by the U.S. Supreme Court
- A challenge to Illinois’ ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Meyer v. Raoul)
- A challenge to Georgia's ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Baughcum v. Jackson)
- A challenge to Tennessee’s ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Basset v. Slatery)
- A challenge to Maryland’s ban on handgun carry (Call v. Jones)
- A challenge to New Jersey’s ban on handgun carry (Bennett v. Davis)
- A challenge to New York City’s ban on handgun carry (Greco v. New York City)
- A challenge to Pennsylvania’s ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Lara v. Evanchick)
- A challenge to the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. ATF)
- A challenge to Maryland’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh)
- Challenge to California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Miller v. Calif. Att’y General)
- A challenge to California’s handgun “roster”, microstamping, and self-manufacturing ban laws (Renna v. Bonta)
- A challenge to Pennsylvania’s laws completely denying the right to carry to individuals who were previously granted relief from prior non-violent convictions and are not currently prohibited from possessing firearms (Suarez v. Evanchick)
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs. FPC Law (FPCLaw.org), the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, lead the Second Amendment litigation and research space.