Appeals Court Ruling Could Threaten the Second Amendment Rights of American Citizens

The contours of Second Amendment rights are still being litigated, but the recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in United States v. Mariano A. Meza-Rodriguez continues an unbroken appeals court trend of upholding prohibitions on gun ownership by illegal aliens. By applying a mistaken approach to the Second Amendment, this decision threatens gun rights for American citizens. In order to minimize uncertainty, it is to be hoped that future courts, rather than applying a Fourteenth Amendment “balancing” approach, will hold conclusively either that illegal aliens are not included among “the people” protected by the Second Amendment or that prohibitions on the ownership of firearms by illegal aliens fall within a category of presumptively justifiable restrictions on gun ownership.

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