In September 2022, we reported about the domino effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruenas federal courts began issuing opinions applying this historic precedent. The Supreme Court in Bruen held that the “Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” Further, the Bruen decision explained that a gun control law is constitutional only if it is “consistent with the Second Amendment’s text and historical understanding.” Applying this framework, the domino effect of Bruen is continuing with recent decisions from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. Both decisions, discussed below, limit the ability of the federal government to prevent certain individuals from owning a firearm, striking down provisions of the Gun Control Act inconsistent with this Nations’ history of firearm regulation. 

In United States of America v. Rahimithe Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a provision of the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), restricting people with domestic violence restraining orders against them from owning a firearm, is unconstitutional. The case involved a defendant who was convicted of possessing a firearm while under a domestic violence restraining order. The defendant moved to vacate the conviction, arguing that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) is unconstitutional under BruenApplying the Bruen decision, the Fifth Circuit held that Section 922(g)(8)’s restriction of Second Amendment rights does not fit “within our Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” Accordingly, the court held that the law is unconstitutional and vacated the defendant’s conviction.

In United States of America v. Harrisonthe U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma dismissed an indictment against a man charged with violating another provision of the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), that prohibits marijuana users from possessing a firearm. The defendant in this case was pulled over by a police officer for failing to stop at a red light. The officer smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle, and searched the vehicle, in which he found a loaded revolver. The defendant was indicted by a federal grand jury, charging him with possession of a firearm as a user of marijuana, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3). Applying the historical analysis set forth in Bruenthe District Court held that Section 922(g)(3) is unconstitutional because it is inconsistent with the Nation’s history of firearm regulation.

These cases demonstrate the sweeping effect Bruen is having on gun control laws. Both the Rahimi and Harrison decisions are being appealed.

Renzulli Law Firm will continue to monitor the line of cases applying the standard set forth in Bruen and how it is changing the landscape of federal and state laws restricting the right to keep and bear arms. If you have any questions about the above decisions, or the effect the Bruen decision has had on the rights protected by the Second Amendment, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.