(Reuters) – The U.S. government cannot ban people convicted of nonviolent crimes from owning guns, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.
The Philadelphia-based Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ 11-4 ruling was the latest defeat of gun control legislation following last year’s Supreme Court ruling that extended gun rights across the nation.
The decision stems from a 2020 lawsuit by Brian Range, a Pennsylvania man who was barred from owning a gun under federal law after pleading guilty to welfare fraud. He argued that the ban violates the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“We are very pleased that the Third Circuit has faithfully applied the Supreme Court’s ruling to establish its client’s rights,” said Renji’s attorney, Peter Patterson, in an email.
The Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which enforces federal gun control, declined to comment.
In 1995, Range pleaded guilty to welfare fraud to get $2,458 in food stamps in Pennsylvania, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He was sentenced to three years’ probation.
Federal penal code generally prohibits people convicted of crimes punishable by a year or more in prison from owning a gun. Such crimes are usually felonies, but the law also includes state misdemeanors like Range.
A federal judge ruled against Range in 2021. But last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a gun in public for self-defense, and that any restrictions on that right are consistent with national provisions. made the decision that it must be done. The historical tradition of gun control.
Third Circuit Chief Justice Michael Chagares said in a letter Tuesday that, in the majority opinion, the government did not point to any law since the founding of the United States establishing a tradition of disarming nonviolent criminals. .
Four judges dissented.
“When the legislature makes a reasonable and thoughtful decision to disarm those who disrespect the law, like this one, it is not the position of an unelected judge to replace that decision with his own. ‘ wrote Circuit Court Judge Sheryl Ann Krause. of opposition.
Report by Brendan Pearson, who lives in New York.Editing: David Gregorio, Alexia Garanfalvi, Leslie Adler
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