Judge Appointed by Obama Rules: Illegal Aliens Can Possess Guns

A recent ruling determined that an illegal immigrant was unjustly prohibited from owning firearms.

A federal law, Section 922 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, prohibits illegal immigrants from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Heriberto Carbajal-Flores, identified as an illegal immigrant, faced charges in 2020 when he was discovered in Chicago with a semi-automatic pistol, despite being aware of his unlawful presence in the United States.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman denied two dismissal motions, but on March 8, she dismissed the case following a third motion referencing a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“The noncitizen possession statute, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5), violates the Second Amendment as applied to Carbajal-Flores,” Judge Coleman, appointed under President Barack Obama, wrote in her 8-page ruling. “Thus, the court grants Carbajal-Flores’ motion to dismiss.”

In the latest motion to dismiss, attorneys representing Mr. Carbajal-Flores contended that the government failed to demonstrate that the law in question was “part of the historical tradition that delimits the outer bounds of the right to keep and bear arms.”

In 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “presumptively protects” activities explicitly outlined in the amendment’s “plain text.”

To justify regulations, governments must show that each regulation “is consistent with this nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” the high court said at the time.

“Only if a firearm regulation is consistent with this nation’s historical tradition may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command,’” it said.

“Lifetime disarmament of an individual based on alienage or nationality alone does not have roots in the history and tradition of the United States,” Mr. Carbajal-Flores’s lawyers argued.

They cited various rulings that interpreted the Supreme Court’s decision, including one from an appeals court that deemed unconstitutional the stripping of gun rights from a man convicted of a nonviolent crime.

The government objected to the motion, highlighting that neither of the referenced decisions applied to illegal immigrants.

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Additionally, they pointed out that the defendant overlooked other rulings, such as one from 2023, which concluded that Second Amendment rights do not extend to illegal immigrants.

The government also presented instances of laws barring specific groups from possessing firearms, including “individuals who threatened the social order through their untrustworthy adherence to the rule of law.”

However, Judge Coleman sided with the defendant, determining that the laws targeting individuals deemed untrustworthy included provisions exempting those who pledged loyalty oaths and were assessed as nonviolent.

“The government argues that Carbajal-Flores is a noncitizen who is unlawfully present in this country. The court notes, however, that Carbajal-Flores has never been convicted of a felony, a violent crime, or a crime involving the use of a weapon. Even in the present case, Carbajal-Flores contends that he received and used the handgun solely for self-protection and protection of property during a time of documented civil unrest in the Spring of 2020,” she wrote.

“Additionally, Pretrial Service has confirmed that Carbajal-Flores has consistently adhered to and fulfilled all the stipulated conditions of his release, is gainfully employed, and has no new arrests or outstanding warrants. The court finds that Carbajal-Flores’ criminal record, containing no improper use of a weapon, as well as the non-violent circumstances of his arrest do not support a finding that he poses a risk to public safety such that he cannot be trusted to use a weapon responsibly and should be deprived of his Second Amendment right to bear arms in self-defense.”

An attorney representing Mr. Carbajal-Flores declined to comment. Federal prosecutors didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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By Hunter Fielding
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