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Significant Win in Federal District Court

Adam Kraut and Josh Prince have won a pretty significant as-applied 2nd Amendment case in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Yes, you can lose your right to bear arms for traffic offenses. Someone I know at my club was just telling me the other week that he got arrested for drag racing as a teenager, along with a friend of his that he still keeps in touch with. His parents hired a lawyer and got the case against him dropped, but his friend plead, and has since been prohibited from possessing firearms. Apparently drag racing used to me a 1st-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, which has a potential jail sentence of 5 years, even though his friend never spent a day in jail. In the case just won, the guy got busted for faking an exemption form for tinted windows.

This kind of thing happens more often than you think. The Gun Control Act prescribed a one-size-fits all solution, even though individual states have a lot of variation on what the maximum sentence is for misdemeanor offenses. It’s good to see the courts finally taking this seriously and willing to entertain as-applied challenges, and strike down applications of the Gun Control Act’s prohibitions with regards to non-violent offenses.

10 Responses to “Significant Win in Federal District Court”

  1. Alpheus says:

    Several years ago, I remember someone pointing out that we need to make a distinction between “law-abiding” and “peaceable” citizens. There are so many laws now that it’s *very* difficult to go around not breaking laws — and this goes above and beyond being stupid once or twice before you clean up your act! Additionally, we have been making more and more things felonies, making it easier to lose your gun rights.

    Do you really expect me to believe that someone who plead drag-racing, or who was convicted of embezzling years ago, are the types of people who are going to buy guns so they can use them in anger, or kill their competitors in drag racing and embezzling, thereby securing their territory?

    No, not all crimes are equal. We should limit the removal of rights to those who were convicted of violent crimes — and even then, I am *still* partial to the position that if they are dangerous to society, they shouldn’t be free (and conversely, if they *are* free, they should be expected to handle weapons like a free person).

  2. taminator013 says:

    A friend of mine had the same thing happen to him. He was busted for drag racing when he was a teenager back in the early/mid sixties here in Western PA. Went to purchase a new gun a few years back and got turned down for having a felony conviction. It took quite some time after that to get his record expunged………..

    • Miles says:

      Same here.
      Back when I had a FFL a good friend got a NICS denial, and this was just a few months after he had bought a gun with no problems.

      Back when he was a teenager, he had swiped a case of sodapop off the loading dock of a store and gained a misdemeanor theft conviction with a $100 fine.
      Never was a bother and he even “obtained and maintained” a TS clearance when he was serving in the Army during the Vietnam war.

      Turns out the state where it happened upped that level of crime -40 years or so later- to a low grade felony.

      Took close to a year and a couple thousand $$ to get the record expunged too.

      • Richard says:

        IANAL so can someone tell me how this is not an ex post facto law. If they had come after him and tried to re-sentence him on the original conviction but the new law, that would seem pretty clearly unconstitutional. In this case, it is a secondary disability applied retroactively. Why is this different?

        • Sebastian says:

          It should have been. But it also should have been a violation of their 14th Amendment rights to due process.

        • Miles says:

          Might have been an interesting case to take to court. IIRC friend said that one lawyer opined that he might actually have a decent shot at winning on some violation of due process/unconstitutionality – if he had the gazillion $$ needed to get it through the state and federal court systems.

          But all lawyers contacted pretty much agreed that the easiest/cheapest/quickest/most assured of success was to get that expungement as such had been done many times in the past.

          We were of the opinion then -and nothing to date has made me change my mind- that the legal establishment is a walking/talking RICO violation.

      • Dan Eff says:

        I lived outside of Illinois for many years and never had an issue buying guns. After seven months of stalling, I finally got to a grumpy ISP sergeant and asked him why my FOID application had not been processed. The powers that be decided that I wasn’t entitled to lawfully own a firearm because someone with the same name as myself down in Louisiana had skipped bail on a possession charge. The Illinois State Police had considered my case closed and hoped that I would simply go away. After threatening to get a lawyer involved, they opened a case file and I had to submit to an unpleasant fingerprinting experience to get it resolved.

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