Tags: Gun Rights | asylum | gun ownership | Appeals Court

Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Man Sent to Asylum in Gun Case

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 01:38 PM

In a landmark decision, an appeals court has ruled that the federal law preventing a man from owning a gun because he was once committed to a mental institution was unconstitutional, The Wall Street Journal reported.

A three-judge panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati unanimously ruled that the federal ban on gun ownership for anyone who has been "adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution" violated the Second Amendment rights of Clifford Charles Tyler.

"The government’s interest in keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill is not sufficiently related to depriving the mentally healthy, who had a distant episode of commitment, of their constitutional rights," wrote Judge Danny Boggs, a Ronald Regan appointee, for the court.

The 73-year-old Tyler, of Michigan, had attempted to buy a gun, but was deemed ineligible on grounds that a court had sent him to a mental asylum in 1986 after emotional problems caused by his divorce. He was sent home after less than a month.

His lawyer Lucas McCarthy called the ruling "a forceful decision to protect Second Amendment rights," and expressed his hope that it would have "a significant impact on the jurisprudence in the area of gun rights."

The decision was the first by a federal appeals court to say that a federal gun law was unconstitutional since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 known as D.C. vs. Heller, the Times said.

In that ruling, the Supreme Court struck down the Washington, D.C., ban on firearms ownership, and was the first time that the nation’s top court had heard arguments on the Second Amendment in decades.

Federal law bans gun ownership for convicted felons, illegal immigrants, children 17 and younger, drug addicts and people ordered by a court to enter a mental institution.

But the federal law also states that people must have the chance to show their disqualifying "disabilities" are behind them and thus they should be eligible to buy a gun.

Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said he expected the ruling could add firepower to the gun-rights movement.

"I wouldn’t be surprised to see legal challenges to other parts of the [federal gun] law now," he told the Times.

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In a landmark decision, an appeals court has ruled that the federal law preventing a man from owning a gun because he was once committed to a mental institution was unconstitutional, The Wall Street Journal reported.
asylum, gun ownership, Appeals Court
383
2014-38-19
Friday, 19 Dec 2014 01:38 PM
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