LINCOLN, Neb. (CN) — In a federal complaint against Nebraska, a halal butcher says the law prohibiting felons from possessing knives and butchering tools violates his religious freedom and the Second Amendment, and subjects him to arrest for practicing his trade.
Wa’il Muhannad sued Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson on July 13, in a constitutional challenge to state laws on firearms and domestic violence (Neb. Rev. St. §28-1206 and §28-1201).
Muhannad is sole proprietor of Mun-Salwa Halal Meats & Packing, in Dodge County, Neb., which slaughters and packs animals according to Islamic dietary law. He needs knives and meat cutting tools that could get him arrested and prosecuted though he uses them for a lawful purpose, he says in the complaint.
He claims the laws are unconstitutionally broad and violate the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
Weapons banned in Nebraska can include “any dagger, dirk, knife, or stiletto with a blade over three and one-half inches in length or any other dangerous instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds.”
Muhannad seeks declaratory judgment to protect him from unconstitutional searches and arrest, and a restraining order and injunction against the attorney general.
Peterson’s office said it does no comment on active litigation.
Muhannad is represented by Travis Penn in Omaha.
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