WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 3, 2019) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of an important Supreme Court brief in the case of Medina v. Barr, a Second Amendment challenge helmed by Supreme Court and appellate attorney, Alan Gura. The brief is available online at FPCLegal.org.
“The Supreme Court has promised a historical justification for bans on felons, and we believe that we have presented compelling evidence that the Court must have been referring to the tradition of disarming dangerous and violent people,” explained FPC Director of Research and brief author, Joseph Greenlee. “Since countless non-violent felons are being denied their rights every day—including many who have been law-abiding for several decades, like Mr. Medina—we are hopeful that the Court will accept the case and clarify its intent.”
FPC was joined by amici organizations Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF), California Gun Rights Foundation (CGF), and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States—especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.
- Nearly three decades ago, in 1990, Mr. Medina made a false statement on a mortgage application. He was convicted of a felony, but has been fully rehabilitated, has led an impressive and successful life, and has demonstrated no propensity for violence whatever.
- Mr. Medina would now like to exercise his right to keep and bear arms, but the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said his non-violent felony committed in 1990 still shows that he cannot be trusted. To the contrary, his rehabilitation has been so clear, that the very mortgage company he had misled in 1990 has since extended him a $1,000,000 line of credit.
- After the D.C. Circuit rejected his request to declare the firearm prohibition on felons unconstitutional as it applies to him, Medina petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari, and to ultimately restore his Second Amendment rights.
- The Supreme Court has previously promised to provide a “historical justification” for the ban on felons.
- FPC filed a brief in support of Mr. Medina, showing that the historical justification for bans on felons is the tradition of disarming dangerous and violent persons.
- FPC’s brief traces the historical tradition of disarming dangerous persons from A.D. 602 through the latter half of the twentieth century.
- Both English and American tradition support firearm prohibitions on dangerous persons—namely, disaffected persons posing a threat to the government and persons with a proven proclivity for violence. But there is no tradition of banning peaceable citizens from owning firearms. In fact, ratifying proposals by Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire show that non-violent persons were never intended to be disarmed by the government.
- Moreover, compared to Mr. Medina, who falsified information on a mortgage application nearly 30 years ago, violent insurrectionists involved in Shays’ Rebellion had their gun rights restored after 3 years.
- Outside of discriminatory—and therefore unconstitutional—bans, non-violent people like Mr. Medina only first started being denied their Second Amendment rights in the 1960s.
- Thus, there is no “historical justification” for a ban on non-violent felons like Mr. Medina, and we believe, he should be entitled to his fundamental right of armed defense.