Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Court Upholds Ban on Felon Gun Possession

(CN) - A law barring felons from possessing firearms doesn't violate the Second Amendment, the 9th Circuit ruled, rejecting a felon's bid to have his conviction overturned.

Peter Vongxay was arrested after a pat-down search outside a nightclub revealed a loaded semiautomatic handgun in his waistband. The club is a known hangout for the Asian Crips and the Tiny Rascals gangs, according to the ruling.

Police had to wrestle Vongxay to the ground and Taser him in order to arrest him.

A jury convicted Vongxay of being a felon in possession of a firearm, since he had two prior convictions for car burglary and one for drug possession.

He said the law barring him from having a gun violates his Second Amendment right and his Fifth Amendment due-process right, and he argued that the pat-down search violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

He cited the Supreme Court's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down a handgun ban in Washington, D.C., saying the ruling upheld his right to bear arms.

"He is mistaken," Judge Milan Smith, Jr. wrote. "Nothing in Heller can be read legitimately to cast doubt on the constitutionality" of the law barring felons from possessing firearms.

In fact, the Heller court stated that "nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill."

The San Francisco-based appellate panel rejected Vongxay's other constitutional claims and upheld his conviction.

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