PHILADELPHIA, PA (September 25, 2023) – Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of a motion for summary judgment in Williams v. Garland, which challenges the federal Gun Control Act’s lifetime ban on the exercise of Second Amendment rights due to a single misdemeanor conviction for a crime that did not involve violence, physical harm, or a firearm. The motion can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.
Following a 2005 trial, Edward Williams was convicted of driving under the influence, in violation of Pennsylvania law. Because he had a previous DUI non-conviction in 2001, that was later expunged, the 2005 conviction qualified as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment. However, he was never imprisoned, and was instead placed under house arrest for 90 days, ordered to pay costs, a fine of $1,500, and to complete any recommended drug and alcohol treatment under the mandatory minimum sentence.
“Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen and the Third Circuit’s en banc decision in Range v. Attorney Gen. United States of Am., it is clear that Defendants’ enforcement of such a prohibition violates Mr. Williams’s fundamental constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms as provided for in the Second Amendment,” argues the motion. “In fact, there can be no dispute, post-Bruen, that there is nothing in the Constitution’s text nor the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation – as elucidated by the Bruen and Range decisions – that supports the categorical ban that the prior and continuing enforcement of Defendants’ law imposes on Mr. Williams and as such, Defendants’ law and enforcement thereof violates the Second Amendment.”
“Bruen made clear that a firearm regulation can be upheld only if the government demonstrates that it is consistent with the nation’s tradition of firearm regulation,” said FPCAF’s Director of Constitutional Studies, Joseph Greenlee. “And the history is clear that there is no tradition of disarming peaceable persons like Mr. Williams.”
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Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs.
FPC Law (FPCLaw.org) is the nation’s first and largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the leader in the Second Amendment litigation and research space.