A federal judge in Texas ruled on Monday that it is unconstitutional to prevent those under felony prosecution from purchasing firearms.
Former President Trump’s appointee to the western federal district of Texas, U.S. District Judge David Counts, has ruled that a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case from June renders unconstitutional federal statute prohibiting anyone charged with a felony from getting a gun. If the verdict would be appealed was unclear at first.
In a decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas this summer, the Supreme Court overturned New York’s concealed carry legislation and said that in the future, courts should sustain gun restrictions only if there is a tradition of them in U.S. history. While Counts admitted his study was “not exhaustive,” he found no precedent for restricting gun rights for persons who had been charged with but not convicted of criminal offences.
The same judgement that dismissed the charge of getting a handgun while under indictment also stated that it was unclear “whether a provision prohibiting a person under indictment from possessing a firearm conforms with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” It’s unclear, he added, “the constitutionality of firearm regulations in a post-Bruen society.”
It is not the job of this Court to provide answers; rather, it should do its best to adhere to Bruen’s outline.
Because it does not disarm criminal indictees who already had weapons and does not restrict possession or public carry, the statute that prevents people under felony indictment from obtaining guns does not violate the Second Amendment, as stated in an earlier submission by the U.S. attorney’s office.
The prosecution argued that the Second Amendment has traditionally permitted laws restricting gun rights of groups perceived by legislators as posing a public-safety danger, including those charged but not convicted of wrongdoing.
According to Counts’ opinion, the Texas case stemmed from the conviction of a guy who had acquired a firearm despite being under indictment and lied about it during his background check. Jose Gomez Quiroz attempted to purchase a semi-automatic weapon from an Alpine store last year while indicted on counts of burglary and missing court appearances. He lied on his background check form and picked up his new pistol seven days later, after being given the all-clear.
The purchase was flagged as illegal by the federal system days later. On the same day that the Supreme Court handed down its decision, he was found guilty. He filed an appeal almost immediately, arguing that a recent New York court decision nullifies the law he violated. All the tally boards matched.
He ultimately decided that the Second Amendment is not a “second class right.” It is now impossible for the courts to “balance away” a fundamental freedom.
As Texas Gun Sense’s executive director Nicole Golden put it, “reasonable constraints” on the right to bear guns guaranteed by the Second Amendment have always been in place.
Golden remarked that “support for sensible gun legislation has been extraordinarily high,” especially this summer after Uvalde. This seems to go against the grain of what the public is expecting from us in terms of public safety, at least in my opinion.