US cannot disarm people convicted of non-violent crimes – federal appeals court ruled

(Reuters) -The U.S. government cannot ban people convicted of non-violent crimes from possessing guns, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

The 11-4 ruling from the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest defeat for gun control laws in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year expanding gun rights nationwide.

The decision stems from a 2020 lawsuit by a Pennsylvania man, Bryan Range, who was barred under federal law from possessing a gun after pleading guilty to welfare fraud. He claimed the prohibition violated his right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“We are very pleased that the 3rd Circuit has vindicated the rights of our client by faithfully applying the Supreme Court’s decision,” Range’s lawyer, Peter Patterson, said in an email.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which enforces federal gun laws, declined to comment.

Range pleaded guilty in 1995 to committing welfare fraud in Pennsylvania in order to obtain $2,458 of food stamps, a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. He was sentenced to three years of probation.

Federal criminal law generally bars people convicted of crimes punishable by more than a year in prison from possessing guns. Such crimes are usually felonies, but the law also includes some state misdemeanors, like Range’s.

A federal judge ruled against Range in 2021. Last June, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects individuals’ right to carry guns in public for self-defense, and that any restrictions on that right must be consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of gun regulation.

Chief 3rd Circuit Judge Michael Chagares wrote for the majority on Tuesday that the government had failed to point to any laws from the United States’ founding establishing a tradition of disarming non-violent criminals.

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Seems like this would help Pennsylvania Sorna case since they were worried about felon gun right

Wow. Now, that’s way more radical than getting rid of the sex offense registry.

Interesting. I thought the federal ban was a felony thing like CA. But I guess its a maximum potential incarceration for your conviction codes that does it. So any CA conviction which is reduced to a misdemeanor and carries a maximum potential sentence of a year or less, should allow you to own a gun both in CA and under federal guidelines.

Is having pictures ( CP ) a violent act? I have also heard that a Fed judge in Texas ruled that only acts codified as crimes at the time of the writing of the constitution were a justified reason to take away a citizens 2nd amendment rights. I wonder how long until I can get my guns back from the family members that I gave them to.

Those in our community whose offense include “contact or attempted contact” with a victim, would likely be excluded from the reach of this decision.

It may even be argued, although it would be a relatively weak argument in my opinion, that we CP offenders (whose offense did NOT include any contact or attempted contact), would still be considered “violent”, as the “direct harm to a victim by viewing the images of their abuse” was so egregious and psychologically, emotionally and mentally harmful so as to constitute “a crime of violence”.

My ‘s.o. therapist’ tried to get me to accept this p.o.v. and I pretty much shut her down as being patently ridiculous, biased, and disengenuous. I sensed that this approach was passed on to her from those in the (federal) probation dept., who likely would have been indoctrinated by those in the U.S. Atty’s office (AUSA’s) and perhaps others in law enforcement, all who would do anything and everything in their power to keep their collective knees on our necks.

Most certainly, the US DOJ will appeal this ruling to the US Supremes. I have a strong sense that the Supremes will not grant cert. on this one (letting it stand)…unless there are some other federal appellate districts who have already ruled in the opposite. We’ll see.

I would wonder how they would feel about a person on the registry becoming legally able to obtain a firearm. Just thinking about the vigilantism which has a tendency to happen toward our registered citizens and how they are treated as if they are the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.


This should apply to ANYONE who didnt use a gun in a crime. I dont see why one loses the right to a firearm if they never did anything illegal with one in the first place. Registrants literally dont have the right to protect themselves, their homes, or their families…..

California views every Felony sex crime as violent at least that’s what A public defender told me back in 2000. Me personally i don’t have any violent crimes on my record BUT I’m still held under the California three strikes law and prohibited from owning in type of firearm, even with all my charges reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed I still don’t qualify.
Getting busted with CP or in those online stings operation are also considered violent crimes and are very similar in nature because even though their crimes did not involve an actual victim they both used a computer to ether view a child being abused or attempted to abuse a child.
Everyone has a right to protect them selves from violence, by any means necessary and just because I no longer have a right to bare arms don’t mean my arms are bare .

Wondering with being removed from the Registry in CA with an offense of ATTEMPTED MOLEST (664/288(a) will now allow me to purchase and own a fire arm. My offense was the result of a STING so there was no LIVE victim.

Are the Federal socialists attempting to short circuit inalienable rights on a consistent basis? Hell yes, and always in favor of the police state. These are the same with unfettered access to data, to use when they want, or hide when it helps secure political security. If SCOTUS in the only true barrier to an unprecedented amount of administrative powers were all beholden to those who will always hedge in favor of more of the same.

i asked a LA Public Defender about how this applies in CA and he said it had to get to the Supreme Court for it to go beyond to all states. Any hope that can happen?

so next up is deciding what is classified as violent and non violent. i would think that cp or statutory or attempted as thats an age of consent issue. i think if no weapons are used or no bodilie harm could be a win as non violent

Well at least in the federal district regarding this ruling a person with a felony conviction and even a person with a deferred adjudication that has been dismissed can own a firearm for protection.

I have been told that not living in that district the federal government still says I can not own a firearm for protection even though I have no conviction because my felony was dismissed upon successful completion of my deferred adjudication. (My state says I can own a firearm for protection, just not the federal government.)

I have been told the federal government says a felony charge that was dismissed via deferred adjudication is still considered a felony for gun possession purposes and I can not own a gun for protection purposes (except for the above referenced federal district where the court ruled otherwise).

Is what I am being told correct?

From Short Circuit today: “Eighth Circuit: Since we decided a few days ago that permanently denying non-violent felons from owning firearms doesn’t violate the Second Amendment we’re going to say the same for this defendant. Dissent: I disagree but “[m]ore to come.” ? Scroll to the bottom of the opinion for the full dissent.

Last edited 11 months ago by Biol57