Being convicted of a felony–even a violent one–is not enough to deprive someone of their Second Amendment rights for life, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, an Obama appointee, dismissed a felon-in-possession of a firearm prosecution against Jesse Bullock of Mississippi on Wednesday. Reeves ruled that the federal government failed to meet its burden of showing that the historical tradition of firearms regulation supported permanently disarming Bullock for his past crimes, as required under the Supreme Court’s latest precedent, reports The Reload. “The government’s arguments for permanently disarming Mr. Bullock ... rest upon the mirage of dicta, buttressed by a cloud of law review articles that do not support disarming him,” Reeves wrote.
In last year's Supreme Court Bruen, case, said Reeves, "the State of New York presented 700 years of history to try and defend its early 1900s‐era gun licensing law. That was not enough. Bruen requires no less skepticism here, where the challenged law is even younger.” The ruling marks the first U.S. District Court to strike down the federal prohibition on convicted felons possessing firearms. Though its opinion applies only to
Bullock, it will add fuel to the growing legal fire over who can be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under the high court opinion. Federal courts have been split over whether the Second Amendment protects non-violent felons, unlawful drug users, persons under felony indictment, and those subject to a domestic violence restraining order. Last year, when he was assigned to hear Bullock’s case, said, “We are not experts in what white, wealthy, and male property owners thought about firearms regulation in 1791. Yet we are now expected to play historian in the name of constitutional adjudication.” Bullock was convicted in 1992 of aggravated assault and manslaughter for a “deadly bar fight.” He served 15 years in prison. He was arrested in 2020 for knowingly possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. ,