FPC Brief Argues Banning Non-Violent Criminals From Firearms is Unconstitutional

Iowa and Tennessee Constitutional Carry Laws Effective on 1 July, 2021, iStock-602335156
FPC Brief Argues Banning Non-Violent Criminals From Firearms is Unconstitutional, iStock-602335156

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of an important brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in the case of Bryan Range v. Att’y General of the U.S., a case challenging the government’s lifetime ban on firearms possession as applied to a person who was convicted of a non-violent misdemeanor. FPC’s brief, joined by FPC Action Foundation (formerly named Firearms Policy Foundation), can be found at FPCLaw.org.

In 1995, Bryan Range was convicted in a Pennsylvania state court for making a false statement to obtain food stamps assistance, a class one misdemeanor. And under that conviction for a non-violent crime, he not only served no time in jail, but he made restitution for the crime. Range has been a peaceable citizen since, has been gainfully employed, and a family man, but because of the conviction twenty-six years ago, he is unconstitutionally banned forever from possessing and protecting himself and his family with firearms, a fundamental right protected by the Second Amendment.

“There is no tradition in American history of banning peaceable citizens from owning firearms,” FPC’s brief argues. “The historical justification Heller relied on to declare felon bans ‘presumptively lawful’ must have been the tradition of disarming dangerous persons.” The brief notes that in English tradition, “dangerous persons” were most often “disaffected persons disloyal to the current government, who might want to overthrow it—or political opponents defined as such.” American history, from the early colonial days through the mid-twentieth century, followed the same tradition. Peaceable persons like Mr. Range, by contrast, were never prohibited from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.

“Lying on a government form to acquire more food stamps for your family is not the type of crime that justifies the permanent elimination of the human right to keep and bear arms for self-defense,” explained FPC attorney Matthew Larosiere, who co-authored the brief. “The right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege reserved to America’s ruling class, and the government cannot support its ban as applied to Mr. Range under a proper constitutional analysis.”

“Mr. Range is completely and forever prohibited from possessing firearms based on a 26-year-old nonviolent misdemeanor conviction,” 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, let alone for life. We believe that the Court should hold the government’s prohibition unconstitutional and restore his Second Amendment rights.”

FPC’s brief cites Greenlee’s authoritative scholarship on the issue, a law review article published by the Wyoming Law Review in 2020 entitled “The Historical Justification for Prohibiting Dangerous Persons from Possessing Arms,” available online here.

Individuals who would like to join the FPC Grassroots Army or donate to support pro-Second Amendment programs to protect and restore the right to keep and bear arms should visit JoinFPC.org. For more on FPC’s lawsuits and other pro-Second Amendment initiatives, visit FPCLegal.org and follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

About FPC

Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs. FPC Law (FPCLaw.org), is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the leader in the Second Amendment litigation and research space.Firearms Policy Coalition

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Banning ANYONE from defending themself is immoral and wrong. If the person isn’t currently in prison, s/he can keep and bear arms. Why release someone from prison if they cannot be trusted as a full member of society?


And as everyone knows, banning felons from owning and using arms has absolutely no effect. Stupid and unconstitutional law made by stupid politicians.


all the gun laws on the books were to stop “undesirables” from having guns, blacks, micks whops,kikes pardon the historic slang but these were the terms used. rosevelt hated blacks , his wife did not she respected as far as I can tell ,everyone for their abilities (redtails were called Elanor’s niggers) . The laws were never legal ,they were about controlling someone else,and as such nu-conscionable and un constitutional


I used to think a felon is a felon and fully supported a felon cannot have a firearm but in this case I digress. The problem is that some of the laws are felony’s that shouldn’t be and some that should be aren’t.


Last edited 1 year ago by musicman44mag

At play here is a key Constitutional logic issue that progressives and leftists love to hate. That Constitutional logic test is this: Compelling Public Interest must outweigh individual interest and that public interest must be demonstrated by the best evidence available. Leftists and progressives love to work from a position of power and impulse. That is not a reasonable standard for a rational society. So, in this case, the question is this: is a nonviolent felon more likely to commit a crime of violence with a firearm than a person devoid of such conviction? My guess is the data says… Read more »


I agree – but… Compelling Public Interest outweighing individual interest is insufficient. Public Interest must overwhelmingly outweigh individual interest of all impacted by potential restriction. For example, I would prefer not to have neighbor in possession of a nuclear bomb in their home, nor would I want them to have an active bioweapon lab. For lesser imbalances between individual rights and public interest, we need to fall on side of individual rights. Otherwise we’ll continue to face those who claim public interest of preventing “gun violence” outweighs our individual rights – and it comes down to arguing statistics to prove… Read more »


ROMEO v. CITY OF MARFA, TX Romeo won the case WITHOUT the help and support of ANYBODY in the 2nd Amendment arena. Thanks people! Your apathy is duly noted!


Last edited 1 year ago by USMC0351Grunt