Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the role Justice Barrett may play in a gun ownership case that is currently making its way to the Supreme Court.
The article reports:
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a longstanding precedent on Nov. 24 that convicted felons are not permitted to possess firearms after Lisa M. Folajtar asked the court to decide whether Congress can prohibit individuals like herself who are convicted of tax fraud from legally owning a gun.
The appeals court ruled that they could find “no reason to deviate from this long standing prohibition in the context of tax fraud” and rejected her claim.
Folajtar pled guilty in 2011 to making false statements on her tax returns, according to the court’s ruling. While the crime carries a prison sentence of up to three years, she was instead sentenced to three-years’ probation, among other sentences. However, current law says that people convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year in prison are prohibited from owning a gun.
Folajtar sued in 2018, arguing that the law violated her Second Amendment right to carry a firearm. The court dismissed her claim, sending Folajtar to appeal to the Third Circuit. However, the divided court ruled that since the felony is a serious crime, she is not protected.
The article cites a similar case where Justice Barrett dissented from the majority:
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Kanter v. Barr in which the court upheld that Rickey I. Kanter was prohibited from owning a firearm because he committed mail fraud. However, Justice Barrett dissented, arguing that history does not support revoking Second Amendment rights to felons convicted of a non-violent crime.
“History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns,” Barrett wrote in her 2019 dissent. “But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons.”
Barrett argued that Wisconsin, nor the U.S., has provided any evidence that the ban serves the governments’ “undeniably compelling interest in protecting the public from gun violence.”
“Neither Wisconsin nor the United States has introduced data sufficient to show that disarming all nonviolent felons substantially advances its interest in keeping the public safe. Nor have they otherwise demonstrated that Kanter himself shows a proclivity for violence,” Barrett dissented.
In District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia noted that “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibition on the possession of firearms by felons,” which could present a challenge for Folajtar.
I will admit that the idea of someone being prohibited from owning a gun because he lied on his incomes taxes is something I have never considered. It does make sense that someone who committed a non-violent crime and paid their debt to society should have the right to own a gun.