The Volokh Conspiracy

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Third Circuit Reaffirms that Even Nonviolent Felons May Lose Second Amendment Rights


The case is Range v. Attorney General, an opinion jointly authored by Judges Patty Schwartz, Cheryl Ann Krause, and Jane Roth; it's the first circuit case to deal with the issue under the Bruen framework, and it has (following Bruen's instructions) a long and detailed historical analysis. Here's the quick summary of the result:

Based on history and tradition, we conclude that "the people" constitutionally entitled to bear arms are the "law-abiding, responsible citizens" of the polity, a category that properly excludes those who have demonstrated disregard for the rule of law through the commission of felony and felony-equivalent offenses, whether or not those crimes are violent. Additionally, we conclude that even if Range [who had been convicted of a state felony-equivalent charge of welfare fraud] falls within "the people," the Government has met its burden to demonstrate that its prohibition is consistent with historical tradition.

Congratulations to Kevin B. Soter and Mark B. Stern, who represented the government. Note that Firearms Policy Coalition, for whom I have consulted in the past on other matters, was an amicus in support of Range; but I was not involved in this case.