By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- A man convicted in 2010 for securities fraud who wants his right to own a gun recognized by the government filed a complaint Monday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Montana resident Gregory L. Reyes’ lawsuit names as defendants U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Thomas E. Brandon, Acting Director of the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Curiously, per Law360.com, Reyes “has hired Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ personal lawyer.”
“Plaintiff challenges the complete denial under Section 922 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code of Plaintiff’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms solely and exclusively on account of his 2010 convictions for federal securities and accounting offenses,” Reyes v. Sessions declares. “Section 922(g)(1) prohibits firearm possession by ‘any person . . . who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.’”
We can see that for ourselves. The question is “Should it?” And how does such a blanket ban enhance public safety or comply with a government prime directive “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”?
Reyes’ complaint make all the legal arguments his lawyers could amass, including arguing that the crimes for which he was convicted do not qualify under federal law as offenses to which a firearms disability apply. Under Montana law, it argues, he would be free to own guns.
As long as we’re talking the law, where in the Constitution — “the supreme Law of the Land” — is the federal government delegated powers to have any say whatsoever in gun ownership? Aside from Congress having authority “to provide for calling forth the Militia,” the only other clear mandate to all branches is “shall not be infringed.”
Still, as long as “We the People” are by and large content to allow usurpers to usurp and court precedent to trump founding intent, Reyes can either use the “legal” tools at his disposal to petition for restoration of recognition, submit to a mandate wherein the state considers his life not worth defending, or take risks that can ruin his life for good by disobeying “the law.”
If that law is not guided by justice, common sense and morality, what do we need it for? Why would or should the governed give their consent to being unjustly and stupidly ruled?
Oh, but if you don’t want to do the time don’t do the crime, some unsympathetic “law and order” types will argue. When they do, don’t be surprised if they cite recidivism statistics.
What they’re doing is showing they believe in judging individuals based on the collective, and protests about their being gun owners notwithstanding, they not only believe in “gun control,” they’re giving credibility to the notion that it works. That’s what they’re really saying.
In Reyes’ case, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the guy or think he’s all too representative of arrogant elites who skate by on things the rest of us would be in a world of hurt over. We’re not talking about arming Charles Manson here, and if he’s successful in his complaint, who knows how others might one day benefit from the precedent he could set?
“Anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian” is a maxim I’ve been using for years because it’s true. Recalling that the three greatest mass murders in U.S. history were reportedly initiated with utility knives, fuel oil and fertilizer, and gasoline and a match, and how many homicides are committed with blunt or sharp objects or even with hands and feet, why would you want to give a “prohibited person” access to those along with the freedom to move among the rest of us?
After all, if violent criminals are still truly dangerous, Robert J. Kukla made a brilliant observation in his 1973 classic “Gun Control,” equating their release from prison with opening the cage of a man-eating tiger and expecting a different result.
Why not restore full rights to someone who can be trusted without a custodian? Does anybody think “prohibited persons” like Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby pose an existential danger to the lives and safety of anyone? And conversely, what sense does it make to open a tiger’s cage just because some arbitrary expiration date has been reached?
Unfortunately, for now, Reyes’ lawsuit is the only legal option open to him. That’s because, as Gun Owners of America noted in a May alert, Chuck Schumer is in complete agreement with all those unsympathetic gun owners arguing to keep all felons disarmed, regardless.
Let’s hope none of them ever get convicted for inadvertently “violating” a tyrannical “gun law.” Some of us have even done that on purpose.
Tough. Disobeying disarmament orders is an old American tradition. And it sure beats the newer ones:
“For roughly 25 years, the ‘Schumer amendment’ to the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bill has prohibited any federal funds from being used to restore anyone’s constitutional rights,” GOA explained. “So for much of this time, if a person were a veteran with PTSD, they’re out of luck. If they had a conviction for a federal regulatory offense — fifty years ago — they’re out of luck. They will NEVER get their guns back, thanks to Democrat Chuck Schumer.”
It’s not quite fair to just blame Schumer though, is it? After all, gun-owning voters gave Republicans majorities in the House and Senate along with the White House under the assumption that all that fundraising rhetoric and all those high grades for being “staunch supporters of the Second Amendment” were more than just hype to draw the rubes into the Big Tent.
On a tangentially-related note, some of us have been arguing for many years against “Project Exile” and its mandatory sentencing for felons caught with guns. We argued at the time that those pushing it had no control over who would be caught up in the net they were helping cast. We argued that non-dangerous citizens, including those disarmed through un-American “laws” like the Lautenberg gun ban, could be included in the haul and put away for a very long time (along with demonstrable proofs showing it wasn’t really working as hyped).
While researching another project, I came across a 2002 article validating such concerns:
“The majority of the defendants — 154 out of 191 — have no violent felonies on their records; two were illegal aliens with no criminal record at all. Among the 37 who do have a history of violence, seventeen did not use a gun in their previous crime. This means that just slightly more than one in ten of the prohibited persons prosecuted under Project Exile — twenty out of 191 — has a proven history of gun violence. Among those twenty, the most common charge was “felony menacing,” meaning the person had brandished a gun but hadn’t pulled the trigger. Only four of the defendants had been convicted of actually shooting a gun during a crime.”
How about we put violent predators away until they can be safely released, and if they can’t, work out some sort of arrangement where they don‘t have free access to a fresh victim pool? How about if we charge and punish them for the actual crimes they commit?
And how about if a person has paid his debt, and established through his conduct he’s trustworthy enough to be reintegrated back into society, that he gets treated as a full citizen with all attendant responsibilities and rights?
Because again, if you can’t trust him, what the hell are you doing letting him out?
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.