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Range v. Attorney General


Defending the federal prohibition on firearm possession by people with felony convictions.

Court: Third Circuit

Issue at Stake: As-applied challenge to prohibition on firearms possession by those with felony convictions

Summary: Range v. Attorney General challenged applying 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), the federal law that prohibits individuals with felony and felony-equivalent convictions from possessing firearms, to the plaintiff, who has a felony-equivalent conviction for welfare fraud under Pennsylvania law.

Everytown for Gun Safety filed an amicus brief in the Third Circuit en banc, arguing that the restriction is constitutional under the approach to Second Amendment cases set out in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen. First, it explains that the plaintiff has not met his burden to establish that the Second Amendment’s plain text covers his proposed conduct. Second, the brief argues that the court should center its historical analysis on 1868 as opposed to 1791, and should also consider earlier and later laws. Finally, the brief urges the court against dismissing the government’s historical analogues as outliers, because even a small number of laws can be sufficient to establish a tradition of firearm regulation under Bruen.

Decision: A panel of the Third Circuit upheld the statute in November 2022, a decision that was later vacated upon the grant of rehearing en banc. The en banc court ruled on June 6, 2023, that Section 922(g)(1) is unconstitutional as applied to the plaintiff.

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