CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman recently deemed the federal law prohibiting felons from possessing firearms unconstitutional. This decision, made in a case involving a multiple-time felon, effectively dismissed a federal case where the individual faced a mandatory 15-year sentence for firearm possession.
ABC7’s police affairs consultant, Bill Kushner, criticized the ruling, emphasizing the law’s roots dating back to the 1930s and its expansion in 1961 to a lifetime ban for all convicted felons. He highlighted the potential increase in crime, particularly violent offenses, if felons can access firearms.
The judge based his decision on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. vs. Bruen. He argued that the current law places an excessive burden on Second Amendment rights, more so than historical exclusions. He also suggested that modern gun violence and firearm technology do not justify a different outcome from the Founding era’s perspective.
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), known for staunch Second Amendment defense, expressed opposition to allowing violent criminals access to firearms. Despite ISRA’s firm stance on gun rights, Pearson opposes firearm access for individuals with a history of violent crime.
The implications of this ruling are particularly significant for Chicago, a city with numerous “felon-in-possession” cases. An increase in crime is feared if similar statutes are invalidated.
Following the ruling, the U.S. Attorney’s office appealed, and the case will be heard by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.