Even though Hatfield received a small fine and no prison time for his non-violent statutory felony, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) bans him from owning a gun. That statute makes it unlawful for a person to possess a gun if they have
been convicted of a crime that is technically punishable by more than one year (i.e. a felony)—regardless of the sentence that the individual actually received. Since making a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a) is punishable by up to five years, Hatfield falls within the gambit of § 922(g)(1).
He argues that the Government does not have an important interest in banning non-violent felons who received no prison time like him from having a gun. Hatfield also points out that while every state he researched has some sort of process to restore Second Amendment rights to felons on a case-by-case basis, the federal government does not. Curiously, 18 U.S.C. § 925© does provide a similar mechanism for a federal felon to restore their Second Amendment rights through an application to the Attorney General, but Congress has chosen to not fund § 925© since the early 1900s.
So for the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES the motion for summary judgment by Jefferson B. Sessions, III, in his Official Capacity as the Attorney General of the United States (Doc. 41), GRANTS Larry Edward Hatfield’s motion for summary judgment (See Docs. 47, 48); and DECLARES that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) is an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment as-applied to Larry Edward Hatfield: a non-violent felon who received no prison time for his offense.
DATED: APRIL 26, 2018
J. PHIL GILBERT
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