The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, but it described the right as belonging to “law-abiding” citizens and mentioned that some restrictions were “presumptively lawful,” including bans on gun possession by “felons.” Federal law bans gun possession by people who have been convicted of any “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” except for state misdemeanor crimes punishable by a imprisonment for two years or less.
When Daniel Binderup was 41 (some 20 years ago), he had a consensual affair with a 17-year-old girl and was convicted of a misdemeanor. Julio Suarez was convicted in 1990 for carrying a handgun without a license, but was sentenced only to a $500 fine. Binderup and Suarez challenged the federal ban on their possessing guns, and they won yesterday by the barest of margins, 8 to 7 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. UCLA law Prof. Eugene Volokh dissects the 174 pages of judges’ opinions on the issue for the Washington Post.