A federal court ruled Tuesday that a man cannot be banned from owning a firearm on the basis of his decades-old misdemeanor charge for making a false statement to obtain food stamps.
Bryan Range, who was convicted of welfare fraud in 1995, sued in 2020 to challenge a federal “felon-in-possession” law that bars people convicted of crimes punishable by more than a year from owning firearms. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 11-4 in favor of Range, finding there is nothing in the nation’s “history and tradition of firearm regulation” that supports preventing a man convicted of a non-violent crime from owning firearms.
“We agree with Range that, despite his false statement conviction, he remains among ‘the people’ protected by the Second Amendment,” the court ruled. “And because the Government did not carry its burden of showing that our Nation’s history and tradition of firearm regulation support disarming Range, we will reverse and remand.”
LEGAL ALERT: En Banc Third Circuit rules “that our Nation’s history and tradition of firearm regulation” do not support disarming a plaintiff who was convicted of making a false statement to obtain food stamps in 1995. https://t.co/ND7KFE4Wj2 pic.twitter.com/9JuN2fC52O
— FPC Action Foundation (@FPCAction) June 6, 2023
The case is one of several challenging gun regulations in light of the Supreme Court’s decision last summer in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. The Court held in Bruen that regulations must be “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” to be constitutional, striking down New York’s conceal carry law that forced applicants for a license to prove “proper cause.” (RELATED: Hunter Biden’s Lawyers Use Landmark Gun Ruling — That Joe Biden Criticized — To Try To Stay Out Of The Courtroom)
A district court ruled against Range in 2021, before the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Bruen.
Range was sentenced to three years’ probation for understating his income in a food stamp application in 1995. His criminal history otherwise goes no further than parking infractions and “a summary offense for fishing without a license,” according to court documents.
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