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FPC Files En Banc Petition in Appeal Challenging Lifetime Gun Ban for Non-Violent Misdemeanor Conviction

Charlie T Waite

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Philadelphia, PA (July 18, 2022) – Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of an en banc petition in Williams v. Garland, which challenges the federal Gun Control Act’s lifetime ban on the exercise of Second Amendment rights due to a single misdemeanor conviction for a crime that did not involve violence, physical harm, or a firearm. The filing can be found at FPCLegal.org.

Following a 2005 trial, Edward Williams was convicted of driving under the influence, in violation of Pennsylvania law. Because he had a previous DUI non-conviction in 2001, that was later expunged, the 2005 conviction qualified as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment. However, he was never imprisoned, and was instead placed under house arrest for 90 days, ordered to pay costs, a fine of $1,500, and to complete any recommended drug and alcohol treatment under the mandatory minimum sentence.

In May, the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling in favor of the Government, saying that the case “must meet the same fate” as a previous one due to circuit precedent. Because the decision came before the Supreme Court’s opinion in NYSRPA v. Bruen, today’s petition argues that “[r]ehearing en banc is appropriate because the panel opinion contradicts Bruen, which mandates a historical test based on dangerousness and thus forbids the disarmament of peaceable persons like Williams.”

“The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that any firearm restriction must be consistent with the original understanding of the Second Amendment,” said FPCAF’s Director of Constitutional Studies, Joseph Greenlee. “At no point throughout American history, until just recently, would a peaceable person like Mr. Williams forfeit his right to keep and bear arms. We hope that the Third Circuit will use this opportunity to bring its test for Second Amendment challenges into line with Supreme Court precedent and American history.”

Individuals who would like to Join the FPC Grassroots Army and support important pro-rights lawsuits and programs can sign up at JoinFPC.org. Individuals and organizations wanting to support charitable efforts in support of the restoration of Second Amendment and other natural rights can also make a tax-deductible donation to the FPC Action Foundation. For more on FPC’s lawsuits and other pro-Second Amendment initiatives, visit FPCLegal.org and follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

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