(GoRealNewsNow.com) – In a decision being applauded by gun rights activists, a federal appeals court has ruled the United States government cannot prohibit non-violent offenders from owning guns.
The 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling comes a year after the US Supreme Court upheld Americans’ right to carry firearms in public for self-defense and the nation’s historical tradition of the right to bear arms.
The Philadelphia-based appeals court decided that individuals with a record of non-violent crimes may not be barred from possessing guns in an 11-4 ruling issued on Tuesday, Newsmax reports.
The case it heard was an appeal of a 2020 lawsuit by Pennsylvania resident Bryan Range who was prohibited by federal law from owning a gun after being sentenced for welfare fraud.
Range argued the ban violated his rights under the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
“We are very pleased that the 3rd Circuit has vindicated the rights of our client by faithfully applying the Supreme Court’s decision,” his lawyer, Peter Patterson, said after the 3rd Circuit’s ruling.
The US government body enforcing federal gun laws, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, refused to comment on the ruling.
In 1995, Range pleaded guilty to committing welfare fraud by obtaining food stamps worth $2,458. The misdemeanor carried a sentence of up to five years in prison, but he was sentenced to a three-year probation.
Under federal criminal law, individuals convicted of crimes that carry over one year in prison are banned from possessing guns. While such crimes are primarily felonies, the law also includes some misdemeanors.
Range lost his lower court lawsuit in 2021. However, Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman wrote in the new pro-gun rights ruling the US government had failed to cite any laws from America’s founding indicating a tradition of banning non-violent criminals from having firearms.
Circuit Judge Cheryl Ann Krause wrote on behalf of the four dissenters that “the legislature has made a reasonable and considered judgment to disarm those who show disrespect for the law, [and] it is not the place of unelected judges to substitute that judgment with their own.”
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