Firearms Policy Coalition: Nonviolent Felons Have Second Amendment Rights

New York Signs 30-Waiting Period and Bans Bump Stocks Into Law
Firearms Policy Coalition: Nonviolent Felons Have Second Amendment Rights

U.S.A.-( 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

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 ( 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 ( 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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The priority is going to be a permanent loss of firearm rights due to conviction of misdemeanor “hate speech.” The definition of “hate speech” will continue to be broadened.

Few Republican politicians have said anything about this trend because they are afraid.


Amen, you are so right and that is proof that they have us where they want us.


And then you say, “Now yous can’t leave.”


It’s a win if people comply (they will have implemented yet another way to stifle free speech).

It’s a win if people don’t comply (more prohibited people).


How about lying to congress. Isn’t that a federal crime? Wouldn’t that make you a felon?


Not if you are a Biden, Clinton, Obama or have ever been a democrat in congress. Oops, left out if you are part of the Lame Stream News Media.


if someone does something once and serves their time and pays the damages a second chance is not unreasonable, yes there will be some who re-offend. remember all the people who were railroaded by crooked district attorneys win at any cost florida has had more than 17 people on death row that when reviewed could NOT have been the culprit. and many police lies or withholding proof of innocence has led to conviction and nothing happens to the people who knowingly put away an innocent person what is wrong with the picture???


While I agree that some were screwed over by crooked DAs, not all were. The problem with crooked DAs is election laws that allow out of state campaign contributions (think Bloomberg) to overwhelm their conservative opponent. That combined some people not voting. It is a duty to our nation to elect the best leaders, not just the best backed leaders.

Elisa Delaurenti

These are all the Federal Felonies for which a Citizen could PERMANENTLY lose their RKBA if convicted. Abusive Sexual Contact Advocating Overthrow of Government Aggravated Assault/Battery Aggravated Identity Theft Aggravated Sexual Abuse Aiming a Laser Pointer at an Aircraft Airplane Hijacking Anti-racketeering Antitrust Armed Robbery Arson Assassination Assault with a Deadly Weapon Assaulting or Killing Federal Officer Assisting or Instigating Escape Attempt to commit Murder/Manslaughter Bank Burglary Bankruptcy Fraud/Embezzlement Bank Larceny Bank Robbery Blackmail Bombing Matters Bond Default Breaking and/or Entering Carrier Facilities Bribery Crimes Certification of Checks (Fraud) Child Abuse Child Exploitation Child Pornography Civil Action to Restrain Harassment… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Elisa Delaurenti

Ok, Elisa Dear. LOL!


How about putting people with covid in rest homes where there was no infection?


It seems to me that a lifetime ban on owning and/or possessing weapons should be a separate sentence. While in prison or jail or on probation, such a privisuon would normally be in effect, but once the offender has completed his/her rehabilitation, ALL rights should be restored unless the lifetime ban has been applied. Similiar to the way that certain sex offendars have to register as such for life.


It’s nice to see real 2A organizations like FPC, SAF, and GOA fighting any and all infringement unlike the NRA who actually advocated for and helped institute it.


I just remember a good friend, that did time for drug use. She cleaned her self up, picked up taking care of her kids, kick the deadbeat old man to the curb, and got herself a decent job. Three years later she was still clean and sober, reapplied for her rights and was awarded them. That was five years ago. But she did her time, her parole, paid any monetary compensation and stayed clean. I am proud of her. Some people do change.


Federal Crime… my goodness. The unwashed such as myself should all turn themselves in and seek penance. But what do I do with all my guns?


Your problem is solved. $20 each sight unseen. And I’ll throw in a bar of soap.


Shouldn’t part of this have to do with: 1. Serving the time required, 2. Getting off parole with no violations, and 3. Having paid back the financial compensation for their crimes? If they do that, I do not see why they could not apply to have their Second Amendment and voting rights back, if it was a non-violent crime. If it was a alcohol or drug usage crime, it should include rehab and five years of random testing to ensure they are clean.


I agree with JayWPB. The lifetime ban should be decided on a case by case basis. And maybe not applied to all non violent offenders. However, I believe it should be applied to some. We need to have actual consequences and punishment for crime.

Heed the Call-up

The crime is not the firearm, the act committed while using it is. To me, dangerous people being released to yet again prey upon innocents is more criminal than those people having firearms. Until the 1938 FFA, felons did not lose their rights. The law passed punishes a person after he/she has finished their sentence – that is unconstitutional. If the person is too dangerous to be “allowed” to have a firearm, that person is too dangerous to “allow” back in society. All the firearm laws we have infringe solely on the rights of the law-abiding. These laws have not… Read more »


The lifetime 2nd Amendment ban of felons makes no sense to me. IMHO, after you serve your time for any felony and return to society you should have your 2nd Amendment rights restored. This firearms ban only seems to affect those one-time offenders that go on to be good citizens for the rest of their lives, while the career criminal doesn’t give a rats ass and gets a firearm anyway. How many news stories do we continually hear about about career criminals getting arrested with an illegal firearm? Almost daily.


The severity of a crime is described by its classification, and felony level is high on the list for a reason — it is extreme. Mistakes are named so because they’re unintentional, as in “I didn’t mean to do that, it was a mistake.” A felony crime, on the other hand is intentional. The criminal knowingly and willingly committed the crime, which should carry a permanent burden within our society. That individual has shown us who they are by committing such a crime. But it is impossible to demonstrate a post-prison crime-free life because we have every reason to believe… Read more »


To buttress your last sentence let me say this:

To become a “felon” one must first be adjudicated and found guilty. What about the many members of our “political class” who have never even been arrested much less incarcerated as felons and yet are guilty as sin? If the law is not applied equally it becomes a joke. And that is where we stand today as I see it.


No different than if your buddy does a crime with a gun and kills someone, you are a murder because you are considered an accomplice even though you didn’t know he was going to commit a crime. Wrong place wrong time, wrong friend or acquaintance. I was coming home from boot camp. Two guys asked me if I wanted to share a fare. I said yes and they had me sit in the middle. When we got to their destination they jumped out of the car and ran. I was stuck with the bill. If I would have ran, I… Read more »


That’s funny, nothing like that has ever happened to me.


JNew, you are just plain wrong. To equate a non-violent felony conviction with something like rape or murder is just dumb. The man served his time and has been a productive member of society. He deserves a full restoration of his civil rights. Leave the Judge Dredd views for the comics.


You are wrong I personally have a felony drug charge from 2005 NO conviction did 11 month program drug tested 2 times a week in order to not get a conviction but because i have a charge of felony possession i am not allowed to own. Yes I probably can get it off my record but that was Ohio and I live in Oregon now. Probably more money than i have to spend since lawyers are so cheap. I have become very changed person nothing new on record since union carpenter now married. Oh and did I say I was… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by shel