BELLEVUE, WA — The Second Amendment Foundation has once again funded and won a small but significant federal court victory in a Pennsylvania case in which a federal judge ruled that a man convicted of a misdemeanor crime several years ago, but who has demonstrated that he “would present no more threat to the community” than an average law-abiding citizen, may not lose his Second Amendment rights under a federal gun control statute known as 922(g)(1).
Julio Suarez was convicted in Maryland 25 years ago of a misdemeanor for carrying a firearm without a license. Since then, he has led an exemplary life, but the conviction was enough to cost Suarez his ability to buy and keep a firearm for defense of his home and family. He’s been married for 20 years, fathered three children and has a government security clearance. He is also an elder of his local church.
Middle District Court Judge William W. Caldwell said in his 26-page opinion that Suarez “is no more dangerous than a typical law-abiding citizen and poses no continuing threat to society.”
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said that “This case provides a building block upon which similar cases in which people are convicted of non-violent crimes might be challenged because they have lost their right to keep and bear arms as a result.”
“A person should not lose his or her constitutional rights for non-violent indiscretions that occur once in a lifetime,” added Attorney Alan Gura, who represented Suarez in this SAF-funded case.
Gottlieb explained that such cases are helping build a volume of court precedents that can be cited in future cases, thus demonstrating how SAF is “winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.”
“Under existing federal law,” Gottlieb said, “many people convicted of non-violent state-level misdemeanors have lost their Second Amendment rights because they’ve been lumped together with convicted felons due to indeterminate sentencing laws. That’s not right, and cases like this help restore some perspective and narrow some broad legislative brush strokes.”