Lawyers working for the Trump Administration are encouraging the Supreme Court to reject a 2nd Amendment case aimed at restoring gun rights to two Pennsylvania men who received convictions for nonviolent crimes over 20 years ago, a move that would be in strict opposition to current statutes that restrict gun-ownership rights for convicted criminals.
As reported by the LA Times, Alan Gura, the attorney representing the two Pennsylvania men, believes the federal law restricting the ownership of firearms shouldn’t be directed at individuals whose crimes don’t justify a lifetime ban. He feels such use of the stature has “nothing to do with disarming dangerous felons.”
The case of Sessions vs Binderup is considered potentially problematic for the Trump administration as President Donald Trump campaigned on a stance of protecting gun-ownership rights based on the 2nd Amendment. In fact, Trump’s campaign won an early endorsement from the National Rifle Association, a recognized gun rights advocacy group.
Gura admits to not being “shocked” by the government’s attempts to end the case, stating, “The government never likes to have its authority limited.” He continued, “They could dismiss the appeal at any time. But I have no reason to expect they will.”
Last year, the two men from Pennsylvania won a federal court ruling that required the government to restore their gun-ownership rights. However, the case was appealed to the Supreme Court by lawyers for the Obama administration in January.
While the case would have no impact on those convicted of felonies, Acting Solicitor Gen. Jeffrey Wall requested the appeal be heard stating that, if the lower court’s ruling stood, it would “place an extraordinary administrative burden” on federal courts as more people went to court to seek the exception.
Daniel Binderup was originally convicted in 1996 on charges of corrupting a minor, pleading guilty to the crime, and served three years on probation and no jail time. Julio Suarez was found with a gun in his vehicle without a permit in 1990, plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and also served no jail time.
The convictions made the federal ban on gun ownership since the crimes were “punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.”
Gura believes extending the federal law to cover those convicted of misdemeanors and was not required to serve jail time is absurd, especially for nonviolent offenses and when the persons have had clean records since the convictions.