NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, on Thursday filed an amicus brief in Kanter v. Sessions urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to uphold the state and federal prohibitions on felons possessing firearms as applied to a convicted felon who spent a year in jail after being convicted of mail fraud. The brief, prepared by Gupta Wessler PLLC and Everytown’s litigation team, makes legal and historical arguments showing that felons may be barred from possessing firearms under the Second Amendment and that there is wide agreement on this point in federal appeals courts across the nation.
STATEMENT FROM ERIC TIRSCHWELL, LITIGATION DIRECTOR FOR EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“State and federal laws prohibiting felons from possessing firearms are some of our country’s most important public safety laws. The Seventh Circuit should follow the lead of nearly every other circuit and reject efforts to call this important public safety law into question.”
Under federal law, people convicted of crimes punishable by more than one year imprisonment are prohibited from possessing firearms.Similarly, in Wisconsin, anyone convicted of a felony in Wisconsin or a crime in another state that would be a felony in Wisconsin is prohibited from possessing firearms.
The plaintiff in Kanter v. Sessions was convicted of felony mail fraud for engaging in a Medicare fraud scheme that resulted in a one-year prison term, a $50,000 fine, and a $27,000,000 civil payment to the United States. As a result of the felony conviction, Kanter lost his firearms rights. Shortly after being released from prison plaintiff challenged his prohibition as a violation of the Second Amendment.
In the Eastern District of Wisconsin, a judge dismissed the case finding that “18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and Wis. Stat. § 941.29 do not violate the Second Amendment as it applies to Kanter, a convicted felon.” The dismissal was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.