Federal Appeals Court Affirms Ban on Undocumented Immigrants Possessing Firearms

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has upheld a U.S. law that makes it illegal for Undocumented Immigrants to own or possess firearms. The case stemmed from the arrest of a man who had crossed into the US illegally in 2005, and later in 2014 was arrested for possession of a handgun. He was sentenced to three years for being in possession of a firearm while in the country illegally.

While undocumented immigrants do enjoy some of the rights guaranteed to citizens under the Constitution, rights under the 2nd Amendment are less clear.

From KPIX San Francisco:

“[T]he appeals court said that while it is unclear whether undocumented immigrants have Second Amendment rights, the law banning gun possession by that group is “a valid exercise of Congress’s authority.”

A three-judge panel unanimously said, “The government’s interests in controlling crime and ensuring public safety are promoted by keeping firearms out of the hands of unlawful aliens.”

The Second Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” In a landmark decision in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court said that right applies to individuals.

Circuit Judge N.R. Smith wrote in Tuesday’s ruling that decisions by other federal appeals courts in the nation have had varying reasoning as to “whether aliens unlawfully present in the United States are part of ‘the people’ to whom Second Amendment protections extend.”

But even “assuming that unlawful aliens do hold some degree of Second Amendment rights, those rights are not unlimited,” Smith wrote.”

A full copy of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion can be found HERE.

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