Mark this one up in the Pleasant Surprise category. There’s been a case working its way through the courts in California for the past five years involving Victor Manuel Torres of San Jose. An illegal alien who has been in the country since 2005, Torres was arrested and found to be in possession of a handgun, along with other items related to various crimes. That led to a felony conviction and a sentence of 27 months in prison. Nothing too unusual here so far, right?
Torres’ attorneys came up with a unique twist when appealing the conviction, however. They claimed that his Second Amendment rights had been violated so the charges should be thrown out. This week, in a shocking display of common sense, the court threw out the appeal, saying that a federal law barring illegal aliens from owning firearms was constitutional. There are limits to the right to Keep and Bear Arms and Torres was on the wrong side of that line. (LA Times)
A law barring immigrants who are in the country without authorization from owning guns does not violate the 2nd Amendment, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by Victor Manuel Torres, a San Jose resident who was convicted of violating the federal law.
Torres appealed, arguing that immigrants who are in the country without legal permission have a 2nd Amendment right to own a gun.
The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of people to bear arms. But the 9th Circuit said that constitutional right was not unlimited, and the federal law was a valid exercise of Congress’ authority.
We should offer a tip of the hat to what is perhaps the most shocking part of this story. The federal appeals court handing down this decision came from the 9th Circuit. Miracles never cease, I suppose.
It’s also worth noting that Torres was no angel. He was originally brought to the U.S. illegally by his mother at the age of four, but he’d joined the Sur Santos Pride gang by the time he was 14. The family sent him back to Mexico, but as an adult, he attempted to enter the country illegally twice before finally succeeding on the third try. At the time of his arrest, in addition to the handgun, he had a stolen bicycle, bolt cutters, and homemade silencers for the gun. This doesn’t exactly paint the picture of a law-abiding citizen looking to defend his home.
The law that was being challenged here is the Gun Control Act of 1968. This law makes it a felony carrying a 10-year prison sentence for illegal aliens to own or possess a gun and the law has been upheld through multiple challenges. The fact that it applies to those in the country illegally fits in with other accepted restrictions. We forbid certain convicted felons from gun ownership, along with others who present a verifiable threat to society.
As the court pointed out, illegal aliens “have already shown they are unable or unwilling to conform their conduct to the laws of this country.” Circuit Judge N. Randy Smith went on to say, “The government’s interests in controlling crime and ensuring public safety are promoted by keeping firearms out of the hands of unlawful aliens.”
Let’s start off our Wednesday here with at least one small reason to celebrate. A bit of sanity has prevailed out on the left coast. Torres will be scheduled for deportation after he completes his prison term.