DOJ asks Supreme Court to review cases involving gun rights

 June 26, 2024

The Supreme Court made headlines last week when it ruled that a federal law which bans guns for those subject to a domestic violence restraining order does not violate the Second Amendment.

However, the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked America's highest judicial body to take more gun rights cases, arguing that the area of law has grown chaotic. 

Supreme Court brought landmark gun ruling in 2022

According to USA Today, the issue stems from a 2022 ruling known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, which held that Americans have a constitutional right to carry weapons outside of their home.

In writing his majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas stressed that an individual's right to bear arms is something "the Constitution presumptively protects."

"The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation," Thomas continued.

"Only then may a court conclude that the individual's conduct falls outside the Second Amendment's 'unqualified command,'" he added.

DOJ complains that lower courts remain confused

Yet in a filing this week, the DOJ complained that lower courts are confused over how to apply this standard, something it says has led to "widespread and disruptive effects."

"Uncertainty about the statute's constitutionality thus affects a significant proportion of the federal criminal docket," Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the court.

This includes the question of whether or not someone who has been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison can be barred from owning or receiving firearms.

Federal law currently lists felons along with illegal immigrants, drug addicts, and misdemeanor domestic abusers as being under such a prohibition.

USA Today noted that federal authorities secured over 7,600 convictions in 2022 for unlawful gun possession or acquisition, a figure which represented 12% of all federal criminal cases.

DOJ lays out specific cases it would like the Supreme Court to hear

Among the cases that the DOJ would like the Supreme Court to hear is one involving a Pennsylvania man who was convicted decades ago for falsifying his income on a food stamps application.

Another features a woman in Utah who was found guilty 17 years ago of writing bad checks. A third case centers on a Minnesota man who went to prison for selling cocaine.

Meanwhile, an Iowa man with multiple convictions for theft and violent offenses is also challenging the ban on guns for felons.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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