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Firearms Policy Coalition: Nonviolent Felons Have Second Amendment Rights

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) announced the filing of an important United States Supreme Court brief in the case of Flick v. Wilkinson, a case challenging the federal lifetime firearms prohibition for felons. The brief, authored by FPC’s Director of Constitutional Studies, Joseph Greenlee, is FPC’s fourth U.S. Supreme Court brief filed in less than three weeks, and FPF’s third, and is available at FPCLegal.org.

In 1987, Mr. Flick was convicted of copyright violation and smuggling for importing counterfeit cassette tapes. After serving four-and-a-half months in a halfway house and completing probation and community service, Mr. Flick has been a law-abiding citizen ever since. But he is nonetheless prohibited from possessing a firearm for the rest of his life under federal law. Mr. Flick challenged the lifetime ban for felons as it applies to him—a peaceable citizen who has been law-abiding for over three decades—alleging that it violates his right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against him, and he petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review his case.

FPC and FPF filed a brief in support of Mr. Flick’s petition that provides the Court with a deep historical analysis covering arms prohibitions from medieval England to mid-twentieth century America, proving that only violent people have traditionally been prohibited from possessing arms throughout both American history and the English tradition it builds upon. The federal prohibition on nonviolent criminals, like Mr. Flick, is thus not supported by the original public meaning and understanding of the Second Amendment.

“Mr. Flick committed a nonviolent crime nearly 35 years ago, and has been a law-abiding citizen ever since,” said FPC’s Joseph Greenlee. “The founders never intended for someone like him to be deprived of the right to own a firearm for any period of time, not to mention for life. We’re hopeful that the Court will grant certiorari and clarify that nonviolent persons, like Mr. Flick, cannot be prohibited from owning a firearm.”

In December, FPC filed petitions for certiorari in two similar cases, Holloway v. Robert M. Wilkinson, Acting Attorney General, et al. and Folajtar v. Robert M. Wilkinson, Acting Attorney General, et al. Those petitions are pending briefing.

Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates for the right to keep and bear arms and adjacent issues, having recently filed many major federal Second Amendment lawsuits, including challenges to the State of Maryland’s ban on “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh), the State of Pennsylvania’s and Allegheny County’s carry restrictions (Cowey v. Mullen), Philadelphia’s Gun Permit Unit policies and practices (Fetsurka v. Outlaw), Pennsylvania’s ban on carry by adults under 21 years of age (Lara v. Evanchick), California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra), Maryland’s carry ban (Call v. Jones), New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), and others, with many more cases being prepared today. To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.


About Firearms Policy Coalition

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, and other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.

Firearms Policy Coalition

About Firearms Policy Foundation

Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit public benefit organization. FPF’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges, and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition—especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.

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