We all know that felons and criminals who have done time behind bars aren’t allowed to own firearms. But what about if you’ve only committed a non-violent misdemeanor?
Well, Bryan Range just made sure that he and individuals like him, who fall into that category, can still exercise their Second Amendment rights.
In 1995, Range was convicted of making a false food stamps application. Apparently, he reported earning less than the $300 per week his family of five was expected to survive on. He was given three years of probation, court costs, a fine, and restitution amounting to $2,800.
According to Pennsylvania law, his offense was a relatively minor one, a misdemeanor. However, it could have cost him up to five years in prison.
Since it didn’t, he assumed that he still had Second Amendment rights.
But three years later, when he tried to buy a gun, he was denied via the background checks. Initially, he thought it was a simple mistake. But when he tried to buy another firearm sometime later, he again was denied and learned it wasn’t a mistake.
His 1995 fraud case had made him supposedly ineligible –because he could have gone to prison but didn’t.
Range was none too pleased when he learned this and wasted little time filing a lawsuit against the federal government for violating his rights.
The Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania ruled in 2021 that the government had every right to deny this “unvirtuous citizen” those rights because of his “serious” crime. Why? Well, because even though Pennsylvania does not, about 40 other jurisdictions can legally classify Range’s offense as a felony.
Thankfully, Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman disagrees.
He noted that firstly, Range is still a member of “the people” as he’s a citizen of America, and secondly, he’s also still a “law-abiding and responsible” one.
So he committed a petty misdemeanor. Does that mean he shouldn’t have the right to protect himself anymore? If so, shouldn’t anyone with a traffic ticket fall into the same category?
Hardiman ruled that Range and others like him have the right to keep and bear arms still.
It’s a Second Amendment win, for sure.