The Third Circuit has held that the federal bar to gun possession by convicted individuals cannot constitutionally be applied to two misdemeanants convicted years ago who were not sentenced to prison. In a fractured opinion, the Third Circuit sitting en banc ruled that the two challengers never lost their Second Amendment rights, and that the government offered no persuasive justification for depriving them of the right to bear arms. Five concurring judges thought the ruling too narrow, and would have limited this collateral consequence to individuals posing a public safety risk. Seven judges would not allow any “as applied” Second Amendment challenges to the federal bar to gun possession by convicted individuals.
We plan to post analyses of the opinion in coming days. In the meantime, here is Gene Volokh’s analysis from the Washington Post: