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Posted: 1/23/2002 12:10:46 PM EDT
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/23/national/23SCOT.html (this appears about 2/3 down in that artical:) These were among the other developments at the court today: Gun Convictions The court agreed to hear the government's appeal of a ruling that permitted federal judges to restore to convicted felons the right to own guns and ammunition. Under federal law, a felony conviction brings a "firearms disability," making it unlawful to own or carry a gun. But the same law authorizes the Treasury secretary to lift the restriction on the basis of a person's "record and reputation" and the circumstances of the offense. The Treasury Department, in turn, delegated that authority to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. In 1992, concerned that the limits were being lifted too often, Congress provided as part of the bureau's annual appropriation that no money could be spent to act on such applications. The prohibition has been renewed annually and remains in effect. But two years ago, Judge Joe Fisher of Federal District Court in Beaumont, Tex., lifted the restriction on behalf of Thomas Lamar Bean, a licensed firearms dealer who had been arrested and convicted on a firearms charge in Mexico after entering the country with 200 rounds of ammunition visible in the back of his car. He had been attending a gun show in Laredo and neglected to remove the ammunition when he crossed the border to have dinner. The question for the Supreme Court in United States v. Bean, No. 01-704, is whether, given the Congressional prohibition on the bureau's activity in this area, a federal court has authority to lift a firearms disability itself. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, upheld Judge Fisher in an opinion last June, saying that it was Congress that had overstepped its authority and that judicial action was necessary to avoid a miscarriage of justice.
Link Posted: 1/23/2002 12:22:59 PM EDT
About time something like this hit the Supreme Court. Of course, I have little confidence that they will actually uphold the restoration of rights--we gun owners are 2nd class citizens, after all...
Link Posted: 1/23/2002 3:39:10 PM EDT
I'm not sure about that. This court has been pretty fair, for the most part, and does generally adopt a viewpoint that is in favor of protecting Constitutional freedoms, which is of course their only job. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that the court's decision will be in favor of the possibility of a felon's firearms rights being restored to him in certain circumstances, but no felons who were convicted of a violent crime would be eligible for the restoration of their firearms rights. We'll see soon enough. CJ
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